It's interesting, ever since the lineup for the 2010 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival were released yesterday, there have been as many "awesome" comments as "fail" ones.
I figured I'd offer up some thoughts of my own on the lineup. Let's start with the biggest one, right at the top — Dave Matthews Band. There are cries of pain from some that heard DMB would be headlining... some want him to play Sunday night so they can go home early. Other people are worried he's going to bring the wrong crowd, i.e. frat boys, to the 'Roo. But, guess what? Dave's been there before. He was there in 2004 and he was there in 2005. So, sit down and relax...
The next complaint is usually about Kings of Leon. Guess what? They've been there before, too, and on the main stage. They played an afternoon set back in 2007 (they were also there in 2004). Since then, they released a couple more albums and won something called the Grammy. Yeah, settle down on this one, too.
There are cries that the festival is not like it used to be. You know who was there in 2002 and 2003 when the festival started? The Disco Biscuits, Les Claypool, John Butler Trio, The Flaming Lips, Medeski Martin & Wood, Michael Franti... Guess who's there this year — all of those bands. (It should be noted that JBT has the date on his tour schedule, but Bonnaroo has not listed him on the official artist list, yet.)
Moving on... Stevie Wonder. You're going to complain about Stevie Wonder? The guy's a freakin' legend. And then add in Jay-Z. Some people say Phish should be there - um, they were there last year, for two nights. People complained that Tool and Metallica were too metal — so, here's the solution and yet people still complain.
Speaking of legends, they're going to welcome Jimmy Cliff, John Fogerty and Kris Kristofferson.
Known for comedy, Bonnaroo is getting Tenacious D there. Jack White was there last year with Raconteurs, the year before with White Stripes... so now he's back with The Dead Weather. The Flaming Lips are coming back to do a full set and cap it off with a performance of "Dark Side of the Moon."
People want to see MGMT, Wilco, Of Montreal, Girl Talk — they were just there last year. You should have been there. No one wants to go see the same bands year after year at a big festival like this. The beauty of it is that the bands are changing and the lineup remains diverse. Yes, it started out as a big hippy festival, but it's grown into an amazing four days of music that can attract fans of all kinds.
Who am I looking forward to? DMB, Kings of Leon, Stevie Wonder, Jay-Z, Tenacious D, Weezer, The Flaming Lips, Norah Jones, Damian Marley & Nas, Michael Franti and Spearhead, John Fogerty, Regina Spektor, Jimmy Cliff, The Avett Brothers, Thievery Corporation, Rise Against, Against Me!, Tori Amos, Zac Brown Band, Les Claypool, Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers, The Black Keys, Jeff Beck, Dropkick Murphys, She & Him, Clutch, Kid Cudi, Medeski Martin & Wood, Gwar, The Melvins, Dr. Dog, They Might Be Giants, Blues Traveler, Calexico, Trombone Shorty, Mayer Hawthorne, Ingrid Michaelson, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Needtobreathe, Brandi Carlile, Diane Birch...
And you know what else — there are more bands to be announced. So, quit your complaining. If you don't like the lineup, don't go. Those of us who think it's another year of fantastic music, will be there on Thursday and love it until the last notes ring out on Sunday.
Bonnaroo is alive and well and ready to takeover the plains of Tennessee in June. See you there!