With five big stages and a handful of smaller ones, choosing who to see at Bonnaroo is a summer conundrum for many every year. The 2017 lineup is especially chock-full of world class acts such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lorde and The Weeknd, so we've narrowed down the cream of the crop to give you five of the best choices (outside of the obvious headliners). Instead of being tempted to sleep all day and wander out only for the headliners and late night sets, brave the summer sun and catch some of the hottest young acts from around the globe.
The Lemon Twigs
Set time: Thursday, June 8 - That Tent - 9:45-10:45 PM
One of the newest bands you definitely need to know about The Lemon Twigs are two brothers with a serious passion for their craft. Despite the lack of main stage shows on Thursday, these guys alone are definitely worth coming down to The Farm a day early for. Throwback hairdos aside and young ages aside (they are 19 and 17), the two D'Addario brothers are immensely skilled songwriters and musicians, having already played music for over a decade. Be sure to see them before they break out, so you can say you were there first!
Set time: Friday, June 9 - Which Stage - 3:45-4:45 PM
A Canadian six-piece with eccentricities that rival Grouplove, The Strumbellas are pretty much the perfect festival band to get you up and at 'em. They have yet to play a show where the crowd wasn't on their feet dancing and singing along by the end; heck, if you've heard them on the radio, you were probably grooving along in your car. Their set will be the perfect mid-day warmup to an awesome weekend of music at Bonnaroo 2017.
If you can't catch The Strumbellas at Bonnaroo, check them out May 22 at LA's Fonda Theatre, alongside City and Colour on July 2 at The Commons in Niagara-On-The-Lake, or in Detroit at The Majestic Theatre on Oct. 24.
Set time: Friday, June 9 - What Stage - 8:45-10 PM
Essentially warming up for U2 on the main stage, The xx are the tiny band that have really made it big this year. While many fans will be tempted to wander over late to catch U2, those who make it over to the What Stage early are in for a treat. The entire Friday lineup on the main What Stage is phenomenal, flowing across genres in a way that truly showcases the skill of Bonnaroo's planners, but we predict that The xx will be one of the sets people are talking about for years to come.
If you can't catch The xx at Bonnaroo, they are on tour throughout the summer and fall, including two nights at Queens' Forest Hills Stadium May 19 and 20, the Santa Barbara Bowl Sep. 27 and Red Rocks Amphitheatre on Oct. 9.
Cage the Elephant
Set time: Saturday, June 10 - Which Stage - 10-11 PM
An evergreen staple of summer festivals, particularly Bonnaroo (which Matt and Brad Schultz have attended since they were kids), it comes as no surprise to see Cage the Elephant back on the billing of their backyard festival. This time, they are fresh off of a GRAMMY Award win for Best Rock Album, and have recently finished up the Live & Unpeeled acoustic tour. Plugging back in and having the hot, sweaty 'Roo audience before them should put Schultz and company in perfect form, especially as they have crawled their way up from playing tents and day shows into headlining the second stage.
If you can't catch Cage the Elephant at Bonnaroo, try making it out to the KROQ Weenie Roast y Fiesta 2017 on May 20, where they will be performing alongside heaps of other great artists.
Set time: Sunday, June 11 - What Stage - 4:15-5:15 PM
Two years ago, there wasn't a festival around that didn't feature Royal Blood in its billing. This year, as they return from hiatus and are about to launch a new record, their shows have been more limited, but they are finally out of the dark of the tents and onto the main stage where they rightly belong. The English group have an amazing sound for only a two-piece, rivaling that of the bigger band Muse. Prepare to have your face melted.
If you can't catch Royal Blood at Bonnaroo, check them out at The Showbox Seattle on August 9.
If you haven't rocked your socks off enough at the five shows above, plenty of other great artists will be rocking the tents and deserve an honorable mention:
The Orwells - Thursday, June 8, That Tent, 8-9 PM
Portugal. The Man - Friday, June 9, This Tent, 12:45-2:15 AM
Bad Suns - Saturday, June 10, That Tent, 7:45-8:45 PM
Noname - Sunday, June 11, This Tent, 2:15-3:15 PM