December's a tough time to be a Bonnaroo fan. You're almost exactly halfway between your last visit to The Farm and your next one. Worse, the usual February lineup drop date is in sight, but just far enough out to seem impossibly out of reach. This year, even the rumor mill seems to be churning slower than usual. But until the Bonnaroo Clues start back up or some credible rumors come along, we can make some educated guesses about who might be on the Bonnaroo lineup from past lineup trends.
One rock solid roster trend since the festival began is the inclusion of one or more classic rock headliner on the lineup. Recent classic rockers to headline Bonnaroo include Tom Petty, Paul McCartney, and Stevie Wonder. So who might be heading up the hit-filled setlist this year? Here are some possibilities.
The Purple One has been one of the great white whales of Bonnaroo fandom for years, always wished for but never appearing. This year looks to be the most credible possibility for Prince to finally make his Bonnaroo debut. Not only does he have a relatively new single to promote, but he is already booked to headline the Essence Festival in New Orleans over 4th of July weekend. That means Prince will already be assembling a band and already rehearsing a setlist. He'd only have to push his timetables back a few weeks to hit Bonnaroo's June 12-15 dates and double his payday.
The bespectacled and bedazzled hitmaker has never played Bonnaroo, but he's got a new album out that's getting good reviews and he's got a large gap in his touring schedule between his last U.S. date in April and the start of his European tour in late June. John certainly wouldn't be the first artist to springboard into a European tour with a stop at Bonnaroo before-hand. John's endless string of hits would make him an instantly recognizable name at the top of the lineup to sell tickets.
Paul Simon and Sting
Bonnaroo could pull a co-headliner situation in Bonnaroo 2014 like they did with Beastie Boys and Phish in 2009 and Stevie Wonder and Jay-Z in 2010. Paul Simon and Sting are co-headlining a tour in February and March and they are pretty much skipping all of the Southeast except Florida, leading to speculations that Bonnaroo or Hangout Festival (or both) could be in the cards. Paul Simon and Sting are both high profile classic rock names (and Sting has already headlined with The Police in 2007) and together they'd definitely be headliner material. With Simon in the traditional headliner spot and Sting as a What Stage Late Night performer, they'd make a strong duo.
The Boss last headlined Bonnaroo in 2009 and, aside from a highly unlikely repeat from Paul McCartney or an unusual one-off from U2, Bonnaroo won't find a bigger name headliner. Springsteen has a new album coming in January and is going to get some buzz from the long overdue inclusion of The E Street Band in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 2014 class. Right now, Springsteen doesn't have any U.S. dates pending, but his current tour of South Africa and Australia ends in March, plenty of time to plot out some American dates and hit up a festival or two.
The Who recently completed a massive tour with a full run-through of their landmark "Quadrophenia" album and currently have no tour dates on the books. But they do have a deluxe box set edition of another of their classic albums, "Tommy", recently released and it wouldn't be a complete surprise to see them take a full run of "Tommy" on the road sometime in 2014. If so, Bonnaroo could be a good debut for that show.
Want to join in with your own ideas for Bonnaroo headliners? There are several ways to do it. First, you can share your ideas here in the comments section. Second, Bonnaroo themselves has gotten in on the rumor game this year by inviting fans to post on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or Tumblr pages with the hashtag #roo14wishlist to let everyone know who you'd like to see. Third, if you can't get enough talk about Bonnaroo, you can head over to the Inforoo fan message board where some of Bonnaroo's most hardcore fans debate the merits and possibilities of the Bonnaroo lineup daily.
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