The Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tenn., which will tee up its ninth edition June 10-13, has become the top grossing festival in North America and one of the biggest musical events in the world. On Tuesday, the Bonnaroo lineup was announced featuring such headliners as Kings Of Leon, Jay-Z, Dave Matthews Band, and Stevie Wonder. Jonathan Mayers, president of Superfly Presents, co-producer of Bonnaroo with A.C. Entertainment, spoke with Billboard about Bonnaroo 2010.

Tuesday was the big reveal, but I’m sure most of the heavy lifting was done some time ago in assembling this lineup.
Jonathan Mayers: We started programming in the summer, and by August we started making offers. That’s why you see me hanging out in the festival, my work’s hopefully done by then. I want to have as little responsibility as possible.

With the lineup, people may be looking for the “wow” bookings, but to me Bonnaroo is more the sum of its parts. But five years ago this might have been considered the riskiest Bonnaroo ever.
First off, you’re never gong to please everyone. The great thing is that people care. When people are debating music, that’s a good thing. To me the festival is all about not only presenting artists people know about, but turning people on to new artists. As a brand, we’ve got to continue to evolve and take chances and not be complacent, and I think everyone in our lineup makes sense and works within what our vision of Bonnaroo is. We’re really proud of the lineup and Bonnaroo feels just as strong as ever.

It has to be gratifying to watch Kings Of Leon move from a tent a few years ago to the main stage this year.
I get real excited when we start thinking of Bonnaroo as a great marketing platform that can really help artists get in front of a lot of different fans, even beyond the physical event, what happens those four days. How can we continue that conversation throughout the rest of the year? When we look at bands like Kings Of Leon, the fact they played the tent stage to maybe 1,000 people and now they’re headlining, that’s a really exciting thing. Hopefully that can happen more. I do think Bonnaroo has the power to help artists and artist development, and that’s the bigger vision.

Bonnaroo has also come to the point where when you book acts like Jay-Z or Stevie Wonder or Jamey Johnson, compared to Tool or Metallica in the past, you’re not shocking anybody now.
We are going to grow our event and brand by continuing to take risks. We can’t be the same place we were five years ago, where people can say “I’ve been there, I’ve seen that.” For the long term, taking risks will give us the ability to bring a lot more programming into the fold and expand what Bonnaroo means. But, hey, with risks you’re not going to make everyone happy, especially some of the people who were there from the beginning, but if you look at the artists, whether it’s Stevie Wonder or Jay-Z or Kings Of Leon, these are great artists with great music. And if you don’t like one particular act, there’s 10 other things going on.

The big rolls of the dice Bonnaroo did a few years back seem to have led to wider appeal.
You want it to keep evolving and growing, you want to work with different artists. We have to remember what is the core to what Bonnaroo means? I don’t think it was ever about “we’re just going to focus on one specific genre.” If we had done that I’m not sure Bonnaroo would still be relevant today.

In terms of talent, did you get most of what you wanted and are you satisfied with what you had to pay for it?
Well, I always like to pay less. But yeah. We got about 90% of what we wanted. There were a few acts that wanted to play the show. but because of all the different factors, whether it’s scheduling or the record was delayed, there were reasons they couldn’t. But I’m a believer that it works out the way it’s supposed to. If you put it out there and you’re talking to people and it doesn’t happen, well, it will happen when it’s meant to. There continues to be many artists that we want to check off the list to be part of the Bonnaroo experience, but there’s always next year and hopefully many years to come.