After a big attendance drop in 2016, last weekend’s (June 8-11) Bonnaroo has made up for lost ground with more than 65,000 fans each day in attendance, according to a source at Live Nation.
Headliners included Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Weeknd, as well as a high-profile opening slot Friday by U2 who performed their pivotal Joshua Tree album in its entirety. U2 is currently touring in support of the album’s 30th anniversary and Bonnaroo was the Irish band’s first-ever U.S. festival appearance. This year’s other headliners included Chance the Rapper, Lorde, Major Lazer, The xx and Travis Scott.
The attendance rise represented a nearly 43% increase over last year when Nashville newspaper The Tennessean reported that Bonnaroo’s daily attendance hit an all-time low of 45,537, a drop of 28,156 over 2015. That decline cost Live Nation Entertainment, which acquired a majority stake in the festival in 2015, and its partners, festival co-founders A.C. Entertainment and Superfly, an estimated $9 million in ticket sales.
While this year’s Bonnaroo did not reach the levels it had in 2015 when attendance reached almost 73,000 (with headliners including Billy Joel, Mumford & Sons, Deadmau5, Kendrick Lamar, Florence & the Machine, Robert Plant and My Morning Jacket), its resurgence was applauded by the festival organizers who were seeing increased competition in Tennessee during the event’s four-day run.
CMA Fest was held about an hour north in Nashville this weekend, with performances by Luke Bryan, Dierks Bently, Kenny Rogers and Miranda Lambert. Nashville was also host to Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, with the Pittsburgh Penguins defeating the hometown favorite Nashville Predators to capture the cup at Bridgestone Arena, just up the street from CMA Fest at Nissan Stadium.