On Black Friday, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival released a block of discounted pre-sale tickets to the festival, marking the unofficial kickoff to Bonnaroo lineup rumors season, which will last until the initial lineup drop, which will be in January or February if past trends hold. In 2016, Bonnaroo is celebrating its 15th year, as well as its first under the Live Nation umbrella. And while Bonnaroo has always been a forward looking festival, there is some hope among long time fans that the anniversary will cause Bonnaroo’s bookers to save a few slots for some favorite acts of Bonnaroo’s past. Here are ten we’re hoping for in 2016.
It’s only been three years since Sir Paul McCartney graced the What Stage as a headliner, so he’s unlikely as a repeat headliner. But McCartney’s performance was so well-received among Bonnaroo fans that it’s likely he’d be almost universally welcomed back any year he wanted to come. 90,000 people all singing the chorus to “Hey Jude” is one of those moments that Bonnaroo will be able to pull out highlights of for years to come.
Bonnaroo has always been much more metal friendly than most mainstream festivals and Metallica’s 2008 headlining performance, while initially panned by much of the fanbase, was well-liked when it happened. Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo was at Bonnaroo 2015 to premiere his movie “Jaco” and participate in the Superjam, so here’s hoping that was part of a larger negotiation for a Metallica return to the Farm.
There was a time when you could almost count on a Galactic appearance at Bonnaroo nearly every year. But the New Orleans jam/funk collective have been on a Bonnaroo dry spell, not performing since 2011. It’s time to bring back the funk and turn Galactic loose for a Bonnaroo 2016 Late Night performance.
Neil Young’s last appearance at Bonnaroo was a Which Stage performance with a reunited Buffalo Springfield in 2011. But you have to go all the way back to 2003 to get the last time Young headlined Bonnaroo. While Bonnaroo has moved away from its jam roots, Neil Young’s appeal spans so far beyond that niche market that he’d be one of the few almost universally loved headliners. With Young headlining AC Entertainment’s new Wayhome Festival in 2014, there’s hope that negotiations included a 2016 Bonnaroo slot as well.
Pearl Jam’s only appearance at Bonnaroo was in 2008 and the show was so well loved that they have popped up on fan mock lineups nearly every year since. With a rumored tour happening in 2016, it could be the time is right for Eddie Vedder and company to make their Bonnaroo return.
According to news reports, Radiohead may or may not be releasing a new album in 2016 and may or may not be touring in support of it. Being the band who started the “surprise album release” trend, they are nearly impossible to predict. One thing that is known is that Radiohead’s 2006 headlining performance is widely considered the greatest Bonnaroo headlining show ever and their 2012 headlining performance was also very well reviewed. A rare act that appeals both to younger and older fans, it’s a safe bet that any year Radiohead wants to headline Bonnaroo, the organizers would likely be on board.
Dr. John and the Meters
For Bonnaroo’s 10th anniversary in 2011, they brought together New Orleans legends Dr. John and The Meters to do a full performance of “Desitively Bonnaroo”, the album that gave the festival its name. It was such a magical Bonnaroo moment that a repeat performance, this time doing a greatest hits set, would be a great nod to Bonnaroo’s history, as well as some of the finest New Orleans music in the world.
Los Lobos last performed at Bonnaroo in 2004, but a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nomination this year, the release of their new album “Gates of Gold”, and a barn burner performance at the 2015 Americana Music Festival makes their return more likely than ever. Guitarist David Hidalgo popped up at Bonnaroo as part of the 2014 Superjam with Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, so the band was on Bonnaroo’s radar recently.
Warren Haynes has appeared at numerous Bonnaroos with multiple bands, including as a solo act and with Gov’t Mule, but he’s always a welcome addition. The biggest draw to any Haynes show at Bonnaroo is that there is almost a guarantee that there will be a guest or two as Haynes is one of the most collaborative artists going.
Like Warren Haynes, Les Claypool is an artist who is ingrained into the history of Bonnaroo. He has performed at past Bonnaroos as a solo artist, as well as with Oysterhead, Primus, and Colonel Claypool’s Bucket of Bernie Blood. Personally, we don’t care how the bass legend shows up at Bonnaroo, we just want him there.
Bonnaroo 2016 will be held June 9th-12th at Great Stage Park in Manchester, Tn.