Calling Bonnaroo 2014

Editor’s Note: My buddy Aaron Litvack decided to share with us his formula for predicting this year’s round of acts at Bonnaroo. Honestly, it pretty much eviscerates all the other predictions that I’ve seen so far; probably because the dude applies a little something called LOGIC to his scheme. He’s pretty funny too. Take a gander.

Every year, one of the biggest events in news during the dull post-holiday season is festival announcements. Even though maybe half of the people who excitedly check out the lineup actually would consider going, it’s talked about as if it were actual news. The thing is, Bonnaroo really isn’t that hard to predict. There was once a point in time where the lineup announcements actually surprised people as the festival continued to grow. Now it’s seemed to have hit a formulated plateau, making it easier each year to figure out who’s playing before the rumors even circulate. Here, I’ve put together the recipe, and used my profound insight to tell you who will probably be playing in a farm 40 minutes from here this summer.

Critically acclaimed/commercially successful veteran rap act:

At this point, it’s pretty much a given that this will be Outkast. With the announcement of over 40 festival appearances, as well as the fact they’ve been set for Coachella, Hangout, and Governor’s Ball. The good news: it’s fucking Outkast. It was exciting seeing them on the Coachella lineup. Now it seems like more of curveball for a festival not to feature them, regardless of the size.

Classic giant:

Neil Young and Crazy Horse. I know this seems random, but hear me out. They announced a 2014 reunion, yet they’re not on one festival spot to be announced at this time. This is Bonnaroo’s ringer. Like Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty, and more, this will guarantee a number of parents trying to be in college again, as well as kids that feel like they have to see them “to say that they did.” Heads up: you don’t. In this case, however, you should. Just make sure to get a beer when they play any new songs. The good part is, with his lengthy live versions, you’ll have plenty of time to wade through the mud and get to the port-a-potty and back without missing “Cowgirl in the Sand.”

Sunday Night Jam Band Closer:

Widespread Panic or the String Cheese Incident. They both played last in 2011. I’d say we’re more likely to get the down home Georgia boys than the goofy Colorado weirdo’s. String Cheese typically does only a handful of shows here and there while Panic is still the road warriors. Both are always guaranteed to bring out fans. The only doubt is from the fact that WSP doing 2 nights at the Ryman this March. Maybe it’ll be both, but hopefully not.

EDM Heavy Hitter:

Bassnectar. In 2010 this dude pulled off a late night set that, to be honest, convinced me for a hot minute that this shit was actually cool. I don’t feel bad about it, because I’m not the only one. He came back in 2011 and played to about triple the amount of people, then signed on for a couple years of NYE at Bridgestone Arena and hasn’t been back since. Unless the contract with Bridgestone states that he cannot return to a completely separate endeavor that’s on the opposite side of the calendar, you can expect him to return. He’s doing Wakarusa shortly beforehand. If they can still get him, it’s a piece of cake for Superfly productions.

Other headliner:

Queens of the Stone Age. This might seem random, but QOTSA haven’t played the festival yet, though they’ve headlined just about every other one in the last couple years. They brought out a new album last year that’s continued to satisfy listeners. The best part? This would fucking rule. It’s perfect for Bonnaroo too, when you think about it. They’re modern enough to be relevant, yet they have enough history to be considered veterans of the rock scene now, while still gaining critical acclaim.

Acts to pre-headline:

Pop singer with credibility- Lana Del Ray

Neo-mainstream rapper that appeals to white people- Childish Gambino

Ironic now-old-school rapper- this is tough, but I have my fingers crossed for DMX

Mainstream indie rock- Imagine Dragons, The Avett Brothers

Other returning festival staples: My Morning Jacket, The Black Keys

Others that will probably appear:

Chvrches- middle of the day. This is where you go to meet your girlfriend for the weekend. You’ll both give fake names and when you get home, you’ll still search for each other on Facebook

STS9- late night set. They’ll play until the sunrise. This is where you go when you can’t sleep. Be careful, it gets less magical and more sketchy each song in.

Umphrey’s Mcgee- afternoon slot. Even though they made a huge commotion with their late night spot in 2012, there just isn’t going to be room for them this year. The only exception is if STS9 doesn’t play the festival, but they seem to be going at the circuit pretty hard this summer.

Big Gigantic- Friday night late night set. They’re no longer the openers for other acts or the super late night sets for all the zombies. Chances are, Dom will come out with STS9. The only unusual part is that people will actually be surprised.

Disclosure- Thursday OR Saturday late night slot. This will be fucking awesome. That’s all.

A$AP Ferg- Thursday night. Up and coming rapper that people are starting to acknowledge with that familiar first name.


Really though, it’s simple: You take bits and pieces from Coachella, subtracting the “holy shit how did they pull that” acts. You take a couple Pitchfork headliners. Then pull some other frequent festival appearances. Boom. You have Bonnaroo. If this were to be the lineup, I’d actually say they did well this year. Maybe not worth $300, but then again the most fun I had was the year I didn’t care about more than 5 bands playing (The Melvins, Baroness, Weezer, Stevie Wonder) and I missed most of those too. Unfortunately, I did make it to Weezer.

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