With another week, comes another major U.S. festival announcement. Truth be told, about four festivals have been announced this week, but today we’re focusing on two specific ones; the Bonnaroo Music Festival, held every year in Manchester Tennessee, and the relatively new but super awesome Shaky Knees festival in Atlanta
First, let’s get to Roo’.
So I have to be honest, the headliners are a bit underwhelming. Billy Joel, Mumford and Sons, Deadmau5, and Kendrick Lamar make up the top four. Yea, you read that right, Kendrick Lamar is a headliner. not that he’s bad, but it’s kinda sad that out of the four headliners, only two of them has more than two albums. It’s a bit lame to consider that headliners usually get 2.5 hours, and only Joel and Deadmau5 actually have 2.5 hours or more worth of material. Just my opinion, but it’s a bit of a missed opportunity in the booking department.
But, the good news is, the undercard is really solid, and wide ranging. Want some metal? You get Slayer, Pall Bearer and Between the Buried and Me. Want some hip hop? Run the Jewels will blow you away. Want some free form jazz? Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood it is.
Some of the other more interesting pics include Florence & the Machine, Earth, Wind & Fire(Who will tear it down I’m sure), Gary Clark Jr.(who brings it on the guitar unlike most do), My Morning Jacket, Tears for Fears, and Hurray for the Riff Raff.
One section that this lineup excels at is without the doubt the dance, hip hop and electronic section. It’s really fucking impressive. Aside from Run the Jewels, they give us, Sbtrkt, Flume!!, Tycho, the vastly underrated STS9, Jamie XX, and Rustie.
I mean honestly though, it’s not the strongest lineup in the history of music. Truth to be told, I was very much on the fence about going. On one hand i wanted to experience the festival again, but while I found plenty of bands that were enjoyable, there was just something missing. But, thankfully my hopes and wishes for Roo lineup came to me the next day, in the form of the third annual Shaky Knees Festival, in Atlanta.
To put it bluntly, most of the bands I was wishing were at Roo are here. Generally I have a rule that I won’t attend a festival if I can’t find 30 bands that interest me. While there’s not that number, at least ten bands are among my favorites of all time, so obviously exceptions can be made. I don’t know how they managed it, but this is an early contender for lineup of the year.
When you start off a lineup and have the return of the Strokes, as well as Wilco, the legendary Pixies, and Tame Impala all in the first three lines, you know you’re doing something correct. The undercard however, is where it gets insane awesome times. Mastodon will devour the crowds, Neutral Milk Hotel will blow one more festival away, TV on the Radio, Death From Above 1979 and Flogging Molly will all have us loving the moment, and Panda Bear will show everyone just how accomplished he is as a solo artists. Also I’m really looking forward to finally seeing the underrated Spiritualized. That’s gonna be a good show.
But, it only keeps delivering even as you make your way down the bill. The Black Lips, Trombone Shorty, Real Estate, Wavves, and Built to Spill all bring their unique indie sensibilities to ATL, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band will spice things up with some New Orleans flavor.
One big area where they win this lineup battle is pricing. At $200 a ticket, it’s almost half of Roo’s, and it’s closer for me, which played a huge part in my selection. Also trying a new festival in a city is always memorable, so it’s sure to be a good time.
Either way, whichever route you decide to go down, it’s a good pick, and I’m sure both festivals will have memorable performances. See you Tomorrow.
Landon Murray is a published writer and an avid lover of music, books and films. He's also a lover of the New Orleans Saints. He was born in 1982 and has a chainsaw tattoo on his arm.
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