The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Festival lineup proves controversial

Every June, over 80,000 people congregate in the fields of Manchester, Tenn., to love one another and listen to good music. The festival is called Bonnaroo and it’s most known for its hippie-esque atmosphere and jamming lineup. However, the Feb. 6 release of the 2008 roster has sparked some controversy among avid fans.

As opposed to previous years, there will be more popular headliners such as Pearl Jam, Metallica, Jack Johnson and Pat Green, and less of the jam bands that usually dominate Bonnaroo. Bonnaroonies (people who consistently attend Bonnaroo) are disappointed that the lineup has become so commercial, and many say the festival has lost a lot of its feel.

“What they’ve done is reduced the number of jam bands, eliminated electronic music all together, infused more hip-hop and overrode it with country,” said three-time festivarian Joe McNamara. “It’s really upsetting.”

A rumor surfaced in 2006 that Bonnaroo had been bought out by MTV after they helped sponsor the festival, and many people named it as the culprit for such a commercial lineup. However, Tom Russell from Superfly Productions, one of the companies that founded Bonnaroo, said that MTV is in no way part of Bonnaroo; not an owner, not a sponsor, nothing.

“We tell all persons who write us the truth: The rumor is completely untrue,” Russell said.

But then why does the lineup look like yesterday’s episode of TRL? Russell said Superfly Productions has an in-house team of talent buyers who select artists for each year, and that he doesn’t see this year’s bill as very different from previous years.

“We continue to bring fresh, new elements to the festival environment/ scene,” he said. “Previous acts such as Neil Young, Tom Petty, Dave Matthews Band, Radiohead, White Stripes, etc. are all just as big acts as Pearl Jam, Metallica and Jack Johnson.”

A specific headliner Bonnaroonies have an issue with is Kanye West. They think he is rude and arrogant, to say the least. They also believe that his lifestyle doesn’t coincide with what Bonnaroo is about (the flaunting of money as opposed to living simplistically). When asked about Kanye’s place on the bill, Russell replied that he was very excited about it.

“He is one of the most relevant and innovative figures in modern hip-hop, and his shows are known for being extremely fun and full of energy,” he said.

Many people agree with him. Mac Ruderer, 2007 Bonnaroo attendee, said that even though he’s not a fan of Kanye West, it will be a good opportunity to see a musical act he “wouldn’t pay to see otherwise.”

Bonnaroonies are definitely paying to see these big names. Ticket prices have gone up since last year and now we can all guess why there are so many big bands playing.

“When Tool played last year, a lot more people were there for just that day,” said Ruderer. “Bonnaroo wants more people to buy four-day passes.”

As for the Bonnaroo feel among the metal heads, country folk and urban homies, it will probably be the same. Bonnaroo is known for having a diverse crowd every year, but this year’s lineup seems to be pushing out traditional Bonnaroonies and spawning a new breed.

“I’m thinking about going to Coachella instead this year,” said McNamara, referring to another popular music festival. “If you see me at Bonnaroo, it will only be because it is less of a hassle.”

More to Discover