We are doing it. We are taking the pilgrimage south for this legendary fest. A little nervous to cover it? Yes. A little anxious about camping? Sure. Excited for the experience? Hell yes.
From the advice we’ve gotten (besides making sure to bring extra beer and a canopy for shade), one big take away is to take advantage of the smaller stages (New Music On Tap Lounge) to catch some new artists. Or to just take risks and see bands I haven’t heard of. Even though the internet may say this lineup is not Bonnaroo’s best, the more I comb through it, the more I realize I’m going to be busy catching some of our favorites as well as some artists that I literally have only heard of recently.
The Bonnaroo culture is a legendary one, and although the camping and sweating with tens of thousands of people isn’t usually what I consider a good time, I’m excited to see what it is all about. Enough people that I trust rave about their Roo experiences, so hell, I have to do it once, right?
There are three Louisville acts that are on the bill (Twin Limb, White Reaper, and Jack Harlow) and those are given can’t miss sets. They each stand out on this line up for various reasons and hopefully a lot of people show up to see what we love about them.
This list represents a range of acts ranging from some of my favorites that I’ve seen, that I’ve never seen, and random peeps that I found on various playlists. If you don’t feel like going through this entire list of our can’t miss acts but have a couple of hours on your time, check out our playlist instead (at the end of this post). I think its really nice.
Hippo Campus (5:45 pm @ This Tent) – This indie band from MN hasn’t been to Louisville in a minute, but also just released their first full-length. They are one of those bands that warrant a Shazam regularly, and then get a gentle nod when I realize it is once again them. Like literally right now while listening to my Roo playlist and writing.
Mondo Cozmo (9:00 pm @ This Tent) – Mondo Cozmo is catching everyone’s attention. We were honored to see their first festival performance, and lucky us, we get to catch them a few more times. They were a favorite set from Gov Ball this past weekend, so expect them to continue riding that wave.
Charlotte Cardin (9:30 pm @ Who Stage) – Her voice is so soulful. There may not be any other voice like it the whole weekend, to be honest.
Turkuaz (11:30 pm @ That Tent) – This big damn band of Brooklyn weirdos (I saw that in the most endearing way possible, swear) is funky. They claim to be starting a revolution. I’m in.
Allan Rayman (12:30 am @ Who Stage) – We saw this fascinating man on the old Zbar stage for a Communion show. He was honestly kind of strange – his voice is peculiar, his movements were odd – but that is what made it such a great show.
Magic City Hippies (1:15 pm @ New Music On Tap Lounge Brewed by Miller Lite) – Every song we listen to is different. It is astounding. This sounds like an ideal way to kick off my really intense Friday endeavor.
Klangstof (2:00 pm @ Which Stage) – This Amsterdam band is opening up for Miike Snow in Louisville in a couple of weeks. Gonna try and connect while we are both at The Farm!
Car Seat Headrest (4:45 pm @ This Tent) – I’m missing their highly anticipated Thursday show at Headliners, so I need to hear what all the fuss is about. I’d put a side bet down that I’ll be impressed.
Francis and the Lights (4:45 pm @ What Stage) – I. CAN’T. EVEN. CONTAIN. MYSELF. Probably going to take a minute to learn the dance to “Can I Have This Dance” and also say a prayer for a Chance appearance. Or he appears for Chance’s set.
James Vincent McMorrow (6:45 pm @ This Tent) – Hearing “Rising Water” on WFPK sent me on a deep dive into this Irishman…it lasted for a while.
Gallant (8:45 pm @ This Tent) – So much soul. 2016’s Ology was hugely successful and I’m crossing my fingers for potential new music? Pretty please?
Russ (1:00 am @ That Tent) – For some reason we weren’t at Russ’ show in town and the more I hear his stuff on Spotify, the more I am sucked in. He’s called a rapper, but its got something more than that fosho.
Creature Comfort (2:45 pm @ New Music On Tap Lounge Brewed by Miller Lite) – Another Nashville band (that makes sense, duh), Creature Comfort is indie rock that pleases the sense.
Deap Vally (3:45 pm @ That Tent) – This pair has that rock grime…kind of like Courtney Barnett. I need some lady rock all of the time.
Waker (5:45 pm @ Who Stage) – Self described as “Nashville’s most woke band,” Waker has a lot to live up to. I’m interested to see if they can live up to it. With 7 cute Nashville boys, some sax and danceable tunes, I’m feeling pretty positive.
Michael Kiwanuka (6:45 pm @ This Tent) – I loved Big Little Lies and am not ashamed to say that I got wind of Michael Kiwanuka from the show. A slowed down set at this time of day may be what I need.
Chance The Rapper (8:45 pm @ What Stage) – This may be an out of body, truly spiritual experience.
Cage the Elephant (10:00 pm @ Which Stage) – This late day set will get the crowd going again, bringing us into the home stretch. In general, this list is full of new finds or never-seens, but I have to include this KY band because of the incredible set the put on time and time again.
The Soul Shakedown – A Bonnaroo SuperJam! (1:00 am @ This Tent) – With Preservation Jazz Hall Band at the head, this will keep me up late for sure.
Tank and the Bangas (12:45 pm @ This Tent) – Their Zbar show is already sold out. And their NPR stint is over, so gotta see them.
Flint Eastwood (1:30 pm @ Who Stage) – A Detroit pop maiden with a dope stage name.
White Reaper (2:15 pm @ What Stage) – I’m really excited for the local guys on a personal level even though I don’t know them at all. Bonnaroo is a big ass deal and will probably brag on em all weekend.
Skepta (6:45 pm @ The Other) – This English rapper takes me back to my study abroad music phase in college. I was into London rap big time and would like to revisit that love now.
Lorde (8:15 pm @ What Stage) – Dreams do really come true.
Travis Scott (9:15 pm @ Which Stage) – I’ve built up my expectations for this set. I hope to end my weekend on a high note. Ya feel me?