After a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of festival-goers will return to Great Stage Park in Manchester, Tennessee for this year’s edition of the Bonnaroo Music and Art Festival. From September 2 to 5, the festival’s 20th anniversary features headliners Foo Fighters, Lizzo, Tame Impala, and Tyler the creator, alongside a strong and diverse undercard that includes Run the Jewels, Phoebe Bridgers, My Morning Jacket, Megan Thee Stallion, and other highlights that will make up for last year’s disaster. With over 150 artists, it’s easy to get lost in the lineup and focus only on the biggest names – here are our five must-see artists this year. Bonnaroo:
Similar artists: Big Thief, Sharon Van Etten
Listen: “Lilac”, “Fire”, “Air”
The Kansas City project byway from Birmingham native Katie Crutchfield, Waxahatchee had a huge year 2020 despite his inability to tour thanks to his wonderful revolutionary album Saint Cloud. Crutchfield’s lush folk style has proven to be an incredible balm for the tough year, drawing on influences like Lucinda williams and Gillian welch to create a record that has remained at the top of the best reviewers’ lists. After an acclaimed appearance at the Newport Folk Festival, his set would be perfect for relaxing and watching in a tent as the sun goes down.
Similar artists: COIN, favor the people
Listen: “hailey beebs”, “live forever”, “broken people”
We followed almost monday from the start, and they just keep growing with appearances at almost every festival this year. With their EP until the end of time in the rearview mirror, the San Diego alt-pop group put on an impressive ensemble at this year’s Lollapalooza that should put them on everyone’s radar this fall. If you want to really groove with your fellow festival goers at the Farm, this is the place to be.
Similar artists: City Girls, Megan Thee Stallion
Listen: “Beef Flomix”, “Like this bitch”, “Send the Addy”
Flo milli has taken the hip-hop world by storm this year, and this one is a sneaky contender for the best rap show you’ll see all weekend. The native of Mobile, AL is live electric and is one of the best rappers working today, bar for bar. At only twenty-one, this is the opportunity to see her before she rises to the level of Cardi B or Megan Thee Stallion and is headlining at these festivals.
Similar artists: Tinariwen, Bombino
Listen: “Africa Victim”, “Layla”
With the sad departure of King Gizzard and the Lizard Magician, from this scale it may seem that there is a lack of guitar magic. However, buried in the Friday lineup is Mdou Moctar, the prodigious Tuareg guitarist who is sure to amaze you if you see the first set of his group. After a support race with Taming Impala in 2019, the group’s recent album Africa Victim is some of the most tightly constructed rock music you’ve ever heard, with influences from the Saharan desert and incredible technique akin to the guitar gods of the past.
Similar artists: Bryce Vine, rascals of fishing
Listen: “Best Sunday”, “Let me know”
The Texas-based duo Surfaces is one of the more laid back artists on the lineup. After going viral this year on TikTok with “Sunday Best,” the duo released their album Peaceful this summer that drew on a wide range of influences ranging from calypso to funk. Show up to this set to thrill and see a band before it explodes.
Tickets are sold out for Bonnaroo, but you can check out their ticket resale site here. See you at the Farm!
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