Not content to let the flood of festival news from this week take their focus away, the organizers of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival dropped not one but three major announcements today. The first was the addition of three acts, D'Angelo & the Vanguard, Kacey Musgraves, and Songhoy Blues to a Bonnaroo lineup that already includes the likes of Billy Joel, Mumford & Sons, and Robert Plant. The second was the announcement of which Bonnaroo 2015 artists will be participating in the coveted Late Night sets. The third, related to the Late Night announcement, was that headliner Deadmau5's set will actually be a rare What Stage Late Night performance.
The biggest news was the additions. While only three new artists were announced, Bonnaroo certainly got the most out of those additions with some artists that immediately shot to the upper half of the lineup. The biggest announcement was the booking of R&B superstar D'Angelo. The booking was high on many Bonnaroo fans' wish lists and is not a huge surprise as D'Angelo has significant history with Bonnaroo, breaking an over 11 year stateside live appearance drought at Bonnaroo 2012 when he appeared as part of the Questlove curated Superjam. With a new album, entitled Black Messiah, and a world tour in the works for 2015, it just seems right for D'Angelo to finally make a proper appearance at Bonnaroo.
The second major artist addition is rising young country superstar Kacey Musgraves. Also a Bonnaroo veteran, Musgraves' star has risen significantly since her Bonnaroo 2013 performance. She snagged Album of the Year at the 2014 ACM Awards and Song of the Year at the CMA Awards for Follow Your Arrow. A surprisingly inclusive song in a very conservative mainstream country market, Musgraves' work has been compared to the waves country legend Loretta Lynn made when she released songs like "The Pill", and Musgraves was actually one of the artists who presented Lynn her Americana Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.
While not as high profile as the other two artists, Bonnaroo's third addition, Songhoy Blues, could be a sleeper performance of the festival. Mali-based pop group Songhoy Blue is part of Bonnaroo's long standing partnership with Globalfest, which also includes previously announced artists such as Atomic Bomb, The Very Best, and Tonya Tagaq.
The second major announcement for Bonnaroo 2015 is the list of artists who will be performing Late Night sets. Always a coveted slots, Bonnaroo Late Night performanes are some of the most anticipated of the festival weekend.
On both days, the late night performances provide something for almost any taste. On Friday, jamtronica act STS9 joins acclaimed DJ Flying Lotus, funk legends Earth, Wind, & Fire, jazz quartet Medeski, Scofield, Martin, and Wood, electropop act Odesza, and hip-hop supergroup Run the Jewels. The anchor for Saturday's Late Night set is the as yet unspecified Superjam, along with DJ Bassnectar, Flume, the already mentioned D'Angelo & the Vanguard, thrash metal legends Slayer, and Tycho.
The biggest news among the Late Night acts was the announcement that headliner DeadMaus, who is not only Bonnaroo's first EDM headliner but their first What Stage act from the genre. With today's announcement, it was revealed that DeadMau5 will not be a traditional headlining set but a rare What Stage Late Night set. In the festival's history, only Kanye West, Jay-Z, and Phish have ever performed Late Night shows in Bonnaroo's biggest stage. The revelation of Deadmau5's Late Night set poses more questions than answers. Does it mean that fellow Friday night performer Kendrick Lamar, hot off the release of his new album To Pimp a Butterfly, will get the unopposed headliner slot? Or will both artists get partially unopposed sets like Stevie Wonder and Jay-Z in 2010? Fans are not likely to know the answer until Bonnaroo releases its set time schedule.
The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival will be held June 11-14 at Great Stage Park in Manchester, Tn. Marquee acts include Billy Joel, Florence & the Machine, Tears for Fears, and Sturgill Simpson. You can see the full Bonnaroo 2015 lineup here.