After a year off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of festival-goers will return to Great Stage Park in Manchester, Tennessee for this year’s edition of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. Going down September 2-5, the 20th anniversary of the festival features headliners Foo Fighters, Lizzo, Tame Impala, and Tyler, the Creator, alongside a strong and diverse undercard that includes Run the Jewels, Phoebe Bridgers, My Morning Jacket, Megan Thee Stallion, and other major highlights that will make up for the disaster of last year. With over 150 artists, it’s easy to get lost in the lineup and only focus on the biggest names — here are our five artists that you don’t need to miss at this year’s Bonnaroo:
Similar Artists: Big Thief, Sharon Van Etten
Listen: “Lilacs”, “Fire”, “Air”
The project of Kansas City by-way-of Birmingham native Katie Crutchfield, Waxahatchee had a massive 2020 despite being unable to tour thanks to her marvelous breakthrough album Saint Cloud. Crutchfield’s style of lush folk proved to be an incredible salve for the tough year, drawing upon influences like Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch to craft a record that stayed at the top of critics’ best-of lists. Coming off of an acclaimed appearance at Newport Folk Festival, her set would be the perfect one to kick back and watch at a tent while the sun goes down.
#2: almost monday
Similar Artists: COIN, Foster the People
Listen: “hailey beebs”, “live forever”, “broken people”
We’ve been following almost monday from the start, and they keep getting bigger and bigger with appearances at nearly every festival this year. With their EP til the end of time in the rearview, the San Diego alt-pop band put on an impressive set at this year’s Lollapalooza that should put them on everyone’s radar this fall. If you really want to groove with your fellow festival-goers on the Farm, this is the set to be at.
#3: Flo Milli
Similar Artists: City Girls, Megan Thee Stallion
Listen: “Beef Flomix”, “Like That Bitch”, “Send the Addy”
Flo Milli has taken the hip-hop world by storm this year, and this one is a sneaky contender for the best rap show you’ll see all weekend. The Mobile, AL native is electric live, and is bar-for-bar one of the best rappers working today. At only twenty-one years old, this is your chance to see her before she ascends to the level of Cardi B or Megan Thee Stallion and is headlining these festivals.
#4: Mdou Moctar
Similar Artists: Tinariwen, Bombino
Listen: “Afrique Victime”, “Layla”
With the sad departure of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, from this lineup, it might seem that there’s a lack of guitar wizardry. However, buried in the lineup on Friday is Mdou Moctar, the prodigious Tuareg guitarist that is sure to blow your mind if you catch his band’s early set. After a supporting run with Tame Impala in 2019, the band’s recent album Afrique Victime is some of the most tightly-constructed rock music you’ll ever hear, with Saharan desert influences and incredible technique akin to the guitar gods of the past.
Similar Artists: Bryce Vine, Peach Tree Rascals
Listen: “Sunday Best”, “Let Me Know”
The Texas-based duo Surfaces is one of the most laid-back artists on the lineup. After going viral this year on TikTok with “Sunday Best”, the duo released their album Pacifico this summer that drew on a wide range of influences spanning from calypso to funk. Show up to this set to vibe out and see a band before they blow up.
Tickets are sold out for Bonnaroo, but you can check their resale ticket site here. We’ll see you on the Farm!