The long season of waiting, clue solving, and guessing is over for fans of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival as the 2016 lineup was announced on Jan. 19th by Bonnaroo veteran and late night comic Conan O’Brien. Many expected big things from Bonnaroo for their 15th year and their first as a Live Nation festival and Bonnaroo delivered a set of three headliners who all have significant connection to Bonnaroos past; Pearl Jam, Dead & Company, and LCD Soundsystem.
Pearl Jam jumped the gun just a bit today, self-confirming hours before the official lineup announcement with a set of tour dates on their website that included a Bonnaroo appearance, as well as a New Orleans Jazz Fest appearance that was also revealed today. Best known for their ’90s grunge rock era hits like “Alive” and “Jeremy”, the band last headlined Bonnaroo in 2008, with a marathon session that ran over its allotted time and set up the infamous Kanye West “Glow in the Dawn” set. Pearl Jam has long been a fan request and should be a strong anchor for 2016.
The second headlining act on the Bonnaroo 2016 lineup is Dead & Company. While the band, whose primary members are three of the four surviving members of jam legends The Grateful Dead (minus Phil Lesh) and John Mayer, has never played The Farm, virtually all of the band has made appearances in other forms. Some member of The Grateful Dead appeared at Bonnaroo every year between 2002 and 2008. Bassist Oteil Burbidge has made multiple Bonnaroo appearances, most recently at 2015’s Throwback Superjam. Keyboardist Jeff Chimenti has also made multiple Bonnaroo appearances in a variety of bands. Bonnaroo’s last jam headliner was Phish in 2012.
The third headliner is reunited dance rockers LCD Soundsystem. Just two weeks after first announcing their reunion as a co-headliner for April’s Coachella, they have now confirmed Bonnaroo as their second festival date. The band’s popularity and following has risen dramatically since their 2011 “farewell” shows at Madison Square Garden, which were chronicled in the documentary film “Shut Up and Play the Hits.” LCD Soundsystem’s last Bonnaroo appearance was a Late Night tent show in 2010.
The remainder of the Bonnaroo 2016 lineup displays the eclectic blend of genres the festival has become known for. Of particular note to locals is the stacked lineup of Nashville artists. Leading the Music City charge is the two men who are the hottest names on the country and Americana scenes, Jason Isbell and Chris Stapleton. Music City residents joining them on the Bonnaroo lineup include mandolin legend Sam Bush, The Wood Brothers, and Judah & the Lion. While Isbell and Stapleton are likely big enough to rate a stage set, the strong Americana tinge to the remainder of the Nashville acts makes it likely that some or all of them will be making an appearance at comedian Ed Helms’ annual Bluegrass Situation stage and Superjam.
For fans of electronic music, Bonnaroo has more than just LCD Soundsystem. For EDM lovers, the lineup includes The Chainsmokers, Zeds Dead, and Flosstradamus. For fans of synthpop and electronic rock, the lineup includes M83, Chvrches, rap/synth collaboration Big Grams, Purity Ring, and Blood Orange.
Rappers are well represented on the Bonnaroo 2016 lineup as well. Near the top of the undercard are J. Cole, fresh off the momentum of his HBO documentary, and Bonnaroo veteran Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Other rap acts include Tyler the Creator and Vince Staples.
Of course, there are always a few surprises on each Bonnaroo lineup and this year is no exception. The biggest surprise act on the lineup this year is known as the Claypool Lennon Delirium. The collaboration between Bonnaroo favorite Les Claypool and Sean Lennon has been rumored but not confirmed until now. Other surprises include ’90s nostalgia rockers Third Eye Blind, modern metal bestsellers Lamb of God, jazz performer Kamasi Washington, and soul legend Mavis Staples.
The full Bonnaroo 2016 lineup can be found here. Bonnaroo 2016 will be held June 9-12th at Great Stage Park in Manchester, Tn. Tickets go on sale Friday, Jan. 22nd.