In 2018, it seems that three things are inevitable, death, taxes and Eminem headlining a summer festival. Oh what, you haven't heard? Besides Coachella, Governors Ball and Boston Calling, it has been confirmed that Eminem is headlining Bonnaroo this year. At this point I'm getting tired for Eminem, because headlining one festival is cool, but headlining four just sounds exhausting.
Besides Eminem, you can peep the whole Bonnaroo lineup above, though it may be subject to change as the festival notes. It's an interesting lineup and probably the most different from the lineup announcements that we've seen lately. It's no surprise for Bonnaroo though, which has always been a bastion of electronic music outside of the popular EDM scene, and relatively light on rap and hip-hop, at least in comparison to most modern festivals.
So if rap isn't really your thing, or if you can't imagine seeing Eminem for the fourth time this summer, you're in luck, because there's plenty of other options at Bonnaroo, and we've got some suggestions for 5 artists you shouldn't miss out on at the farm this year.
1. Sturgill Simpson
So I know it seems strange with me saying you shouldn't overlook Sturgill Simpson this year, given that he's on the second line of the list, but you really shouldn't let him being a country artist throw you off. "Country" is also a bit of an inaccurate term when describing Simpson, because although he fits into what you might imagine as a country artist, Simpson has always been a bit of an outsider and a black sheep in the country music scene. He's notably rebelled against the CMA Awards in the past, but he backs up his rebellious attitude with serious country singer-songwriter chops, and is one of the premier musicians you'll see on the lineup this year.
If I could use just one word to describe Thundercat, it would be cool. But one word doesn't really suffice, because Thundercat is really f---ing cool. Very few can emulate and evolve a jazz-funk fusion sound quite the way they can, which is sunglasses on sunglasses cool. After glancing over the lineup, I guarantee that this will be the grooviest and straight up funkiest set you could see.
I find CYN an interesting choice for Bonnaroo, maybe because I'm still stuck on imagining Bonnaroo being a bunch of jam bands out in a field somewhere, but CYN being on this bill shows just how much the festival is evolving. She's tres chic cool, and in a time when pop singers are a dime a dozen, she actually stands out with her original productions and engaging and catchy vocal style. Also, we got the chance to sit down with her at the Baeble HQ, and she's so sweet and amazing!
4. Moses Sumney
Some artists refuse to be pigeonholed into one genre or descriptor, and Moses Sumney is one of them. He's more than a singer-songwriter, and he uses more than just R&B and contemporary soundscapes. Instead, his music weaves its way between heart-aching and evocative and engagingly cleansing. I'll put money on his set being one of the most emotionally charged of the whole festival.
Like I mentioned, Bonnaroo has shown that it's moving past the massive EDM phase that gripped festivals across the country in the past few years, but that doesn't mean they don't book solid electronic acts. Gryffin is a crazy talented producer, and if you're looking to dance yourself clean at the ‘roo, definitely check his set out, and when you're done, check out the time he stopped by the Baeble studio for a Q+A.