Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Phish, the Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, David Byrne, Wilco, Al Green, Snoop Dogg and Elvis Costello lead the lineup for the 2009 Bonnaroo festival, to be held June 11-14 in Manchester, Tenn.
Bonnaroo will be Springsteen’s only North American festival of the year, as well as the only festival on the reunited Phish’s 2009 itinerary. According to Jonathan Mayers, president of festival co-producer Superfly, Phish will play two distinct shows on the Bonnaroo main stage on two separate nights: a two-set performance and an additional late-evening set.
“With Phish, it feels like we’ve come full circle,” Mayers tells Billboard. “The Phish festivals and Phish as a band were key inspirations for what we do. We still work with the team that did a lot of their events.”
Costello is billed as playing solo, but may collaborate with artists like Allen Toussaint and Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis, with whom he’s recorded in the past. Other acts confirmed for the festival include Erykah Badu, Paul Oakenfold, Ben Harper and his new band Relentless7, the Mars Volta, TV On The Radio, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Gov’t Mule, Andrew Bird, Merle Haggard and MGMT.
Tickets go on sale Saturday (Feb. 7) via Bonnaroo.com. This year, fans can utilize a payment plan with five $50 installments. Fuse will provide live TV coverage from the scene, while AT&T Music will once again offer live Webcasts.
“It seems more relevant than ever to offer it,” Mayers says of the layaway ticket plan. “We want to make Bonnaroo as accessible as possible. We really believe in super-serving our audience. If you say, ‘I want to do a music festival,’ there’s nothing really proprietary about that. The details are what make it interesting. These are like never-ending art projects for us.”
Having purchased the majority of the festival grounds about two-and-a-half-years ago, organizers are continuing to add permanent infrastructure to the site, including electricity. “All of this will help us contain our budget,” Mayers says. “It will take us a while, but it will enable us to provide a better experience for not only Bonnaroo but also to do other events on the property. That’s a key goal of ours.”
Mayers says he’s particularly excited for bands such as Animal Collective, Bon Iver, TV On The Radio and Andrew Bird, as well as a crop of African artists including the legendary King Sunny Ade and Toumani Diabate, the latter of whom is performing with Bela Fleck.
“It’s about going out there and checking out different things and hopefully discovering some new stuff,” Mayers says of the Bonnaroo experience. “So much of it I’m very personally excited about. It feels like we keep evolving, and hopefully that brings more people into the Bonnaroo community.”
The Beastie Boys will be playing their only confirmed date of the year so far at Bonnaroo. “We are looking forward to bringing heat and fire inside of your festival grounds,” the pioneering rap trio says in a statement released to Billboard. “We (the band known as Beastie Boys) are like a three-headed dragon with hot molten metal spewing forth from every head. Ready yourselves. Stand fast. Saturn’s second moon is on the rise. We approach you now from the Northeast at the speed of lightning. There will be no respite from our wrath.”
Headlined by Pearl Jam, Metallica and Jack Johnson, the 2008 edition of Bonnaroo grossed about $17 million, according to Billboard Boxscore, and won its fourth Top Festival honor at last year’s Billboard Touring Awards.
Here is the lineup for the 2009 Bonnaroo festival:
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Phish (2 Shows)
Nine Inch Nails
Ben Harper and Relentless7
The Mars Volta
TV on the Radio
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Bela Fleck & Toumani Diabate
Rodrigo y Gabriela
The Del McCoury Band
Coheed and Cambria
Booker T & the DBTs
David Grisman Quintet
Robert Earl Keen
Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
The Ting Tings
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
King Sunny Ade
Zac Brown Band
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Revue
People Under the Stairs
Vieux Farka Touré
Elvis Perkins In Dearland
Portugal. The Man.
The Low Anthem
The Lovell Sisters