David Byrne Curates Bonnaroo Stage

David Byrne Curates Bonnaroo Stage
David Byrne is happy to be "the guinea pig" at this year's Bonnaroo Music and Art Festival.

Byrne is helming the first artist-curated stage in Bonnaroo's eight-year history, presenting a Friday night (June 12) lineup that will include his own "Songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno" show along with Santigold, the Dirty Projectors, Ani DiFranco, St. Vincent and the all-female Norwegian alt-folk band Katzenjammer.

"For me it's kind of a wonderful thing to be asked to do," Byrne said during a conference call with reporters. But, he added, "I also feel like, 'Am I really needed here?' Maybe for a couple acts...my name might help draw attention to them or make somebody go, 'Maybe I'll check that out if (Byrne) thinks that's worthwhile.' But a lot of the audience might have already heard of these acts, (or) I might not be the first person they would turn to for advice.

"I don't really know about all that. Ashley (Capps, Bonnaroo co-founder and producer) gave me pretty much of a free hand. I thought, 'OK, then, I'm just gonna reel off some names that I like...and we'll see where it goes."

Byrne said he "self-imposed a little bit of restrictions" upon himself in planning the Bonnaroo stage. "I wanted to pick acts I'd actually seen perform," he noted, "which kind of limits me quite a bit, actually." "He also took the festival's environment into account.

"I think outdoors, on a hot summer night (or) late afternoon in Tennessee, some kinds of music are not going to work," Byrne explained. "I kind of self-edited myself; 'No, I'm gonna try and think what kind of things are going to work in that venue, that time of year, that place' and like that."

The Bonnaroo stop is part of Byrne's continuing tour to promote "Everything That Happens Will Happen Today," his 2008 collaboration with Brian Eno. He's also releasing a digital EP, "Everything That Happens Will Happen On This Tour," featuring four songs recorded live, with proceeds benefiting Amnesty International.

The next leg of Byrne's tour kicks off June 1 in Shelburne, Vermont. A European tour starts July 6 and wraps at the Big Chill Festival on Aug. 9 in Ledbury, U.K.