It's a tough time of year to be a Bonnaroo fan. You're almost exactly halfway between your last visit to The Farm and your next one. 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. We already explored classic rockers who could headline Bonnaroo 2014 here. Now we'll look at the current crop of hitmakers who could be heading to a Farm near you.
Bonnaroo usually likes to mix things up with a current radio act to draw a college crowd who might not want to travel to see classic rockers like Paul McCartney or Metallica. Last year Jack Johnson filled the slot, after red hot chartbusters Mumford & Sons had to cancel. Past years have included Radiohead, Eminem, and Jay-Z. Here are some acts who make logical sense and have tour dates that line up with Bonnaroo's June 12-15 run dates.
Mumford & Sons
Mumford & Sons is on hiatus "for the forseeable future" according to Ben Lovett's interview with Rolling Stone in September. While that makes them less likely than they might normally be, there are two mitigating factors. The first is that Bonnaroo is one of the few shows Mumford & Sons were unable to make up after cancelling dates due to bassist Ted Dwane's surgery. Even if the band is planning to take all of 2014 off, they could assemble a one-off show at Bonnaroo to make up for the missed date. Second, "for the forseeable future" is not a measure of time. By the time June rolls around, Mumford & Sons will have been on hiatus for almost 9 months. For a band trying to strike while their commercial iron is hot, that could be enough. An "out of nowhere" make up show at Bonnaroo could generate the kind of headlines that help hot bands stay that way, especially if it's followed by another Gentlemen of the Road tour announcement.
It's hard to believe that Foo Fighters have never played Bonnaroo. They've played or headlined most of the other major festivals but Bonnaroo has never been one. This could be the year that changes. Aside from being an obvious "get" for Bonnaroo, the band is also sure to be grabbing some headlines during the first quarter of the year when Bonnaroo tickets are on sale. First, they recently announced that they would be part of the Super Bowl weekend concerts in New York on Feb. 1. Second, Dave Grohl's old band, Nirvana, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April.
Could it actually happen? After the disaster that was Kanye West's 2008 "Glow in the Dawn" Bonnaroo show, it seemed like a repeat performance could never happen. For a while, "Kanye Sucks!" was a popular cry for Bonnaroo fans. But 2008 was 5 years ago and many fans who will attend Bonnaroo 2014 weren't at Bonnaroo 2008 and know nothing about the incident. Bonnaroo, along with a slew of critics, had West's "Yeezus" album as one of their best of the year. West definitely comes with some risks; his stage show is big enough and he's meticulous enough about it to cancel several dates this year due to equipment damaged in a wreck. A late show was annoying as a Late Night artist, but would be near unrecoverable as a headliner, as Bonnaroo's other stages go silent during the headliner's set. A late cancellation could put them scrambling for a last minute replacement two years in a row. But Kanye also carries a lot of buzz and a headlining set could draw a young audience and finally put the ghost of 2008 to bed.
While Lady Gaga might seem "too pop" for some fans' tastes, she's definitely a superstar with a college aged fan base. Gaga's got a history of playing big festivals like Coachella so Bonnaroo isn't out of the question. Her big stage show would be a spectacle view even for those fans who aren't fans of her music. Even more conspicuously, Gaga has a nice doughnut hole in her schedule from June 3-25, too late for Hangout and Coachella and too early for Lollapalooza, but perfect to fit in a certain mid-June festival show in Tennessee.
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 for all of the Bonnaroo 2014 lineup.
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