Sixteen Must See Bands at Bonnaroo 2015

With less than a month away, final preparations have begun before we are all waiting in line on Interstate 24 and back on the Farm!  I do not know about you but I really get excited this time of the year when I start getting all my supplies together.  Also what a lineup to have to sift through and figure out who you want to see at this year’s Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (Manchester, Tennessee- June 11th-14th, 2015).  This year’s schedule is as tricky as it has been in past years with numerous schedule conflicts and the usual amount of lesser known artists on the schedule.  So I think I may be able to help or maybe make the situation more convoluted by adding more artists/bands to your personal must see list.

Let me be clear that by compiling the following list, I am not omitting the obvious choices during Friday-Sunday like Alabama Shakes, Kendrick Lamar, Bassnectar, My Morning Jacket, Billy Joel, Florence + the Machine, and etc.  What my goal is to bring to light some of the lesser known acts or artists that you cannot miss regardless.  The following list will combine some artists/bands that I consider to be some of my personal favorites and some that I am just genuinely excited to see on the Farm.  I will start off each day with a “Top Pick” that I wish to stress as a must see for that day regardless of conflicts, etc.  And I had already compiled this list prior to the release of the schedule, so some of them will conflict with each other at times.  Yes the struggle is real, I feel you.  Hope this helps you out in some fashion and I will see you all on the Farm in June!

  • Note that scheduled times are subject to change, (as they have a few times already before the time of publishing) so be prepared beforehand by downloading the handy and always informative Bonnaroo app from the iTunes or the Android app store today.


  1. Glass Animals (TOP PICK)

About: Four piece Indie rock/psychedelic pop/trip hop band from Oxford. “Zaba” was released in June 2014.  Most popular singles: Black Mambo/Gooey.  Not many southeast regional dates scheduled save for their Bonnaroo performance. Really excited to see these guys after listening to “Zaba”.

Time slot- 9:45-10:30 PM The Other Tent.

Conflicts- Last 15 minutes of Houndmouth and last 30 minutes of The Growlers.

  1. Courtney Barnett

About: singer-songwriter and guitarist from Melbourne. Indie rock. Touring band: Bones Sloane (bass), Dave Mudie (drums) and Dan Luscombe (guitarist). “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit” was released March 2015 (first full length release).  A rising artist who is only going to get better with time.  Her debut album is a must have and has been welcomed by critical acclaim by many critics in the music industry.

Time slot- 10:45-11:30 PM This Tent.

Conflicts- The last 15 minutes of Houndmouth and most of The Growlers set.

  1. Raury

About- singer-songwriter from Atlanta, Georgia. Mix of funk, soul, hip-hop and folk.  First mixtape released “Indigo Child”- August 2014.  I saw Raury open up for Outkast on day #2 of their ATLast! Weekend back in September 2014.  He was phenomenal! I really dig his style and I think he will fit in nicely with the Roo crew.

Time slot- 7:45-830 PM The Who Stage.

Conflicts- Most of the Ice Age and Dopapod set and the last 15 minutes of Ryn Weaver.

  1. Broncho

About- Indie rock from Norman, Oklahoma. Ryan Lyndsey (guitar and vocals), Ben King (guitar) and Nathan Price (drums).  2nd album release “Just Enough Hip to Be Woman”- September 2014.  They have gained some good praise from the release of this album. “Broncho are unequivocally strong in their near mastery of sunny melodies and deft pop sensibilities.”[1]  After I first heard the single “Class Historian” on XM radio, it stuck with me.  I mean who can’t be interested in a band who opened for Tame Impala last minute?

Time slot- 11:15 PM-12:15 AM New Music On Tap Lounge stage.

Conflicts- Majority of Benjamin Booker, first 15 minutes of Jungle, last 15 minutes of Tove Lo and Courtney Barnett.


  1. Run the Jewels (TOP PICK)

About- Hip hop duo El-P and Killer Mike formed in 2013.  Two albums; “Run the Jewels” and “Run the Jewels 2”.  These guys are on fire! The hottest duo out presently and I personally think Killer Mike is one of, if not the best MC out today.  This is probably one of my picks that needs no words.

Time slot- 11:15-12:15 AM This Tent.

Conflicts– The majority of Earth, Wind & Fire, and the first 15 minutes of Deadmau5 performance on the What Stage and Medeski, Scofiled, Martin & Wood.

  1. Unknown Mortal Orchestra

About- American/New Zealand rock band formed in 2010; Ruban Nielson (guitar/vocals), Jake Portrait (bass) and Riley Geare (drummer).  Three studio albums- “Multi-Love” latest release due May 26th, 2015.  Named by FUSE TV as one of the 30 must-see artists at SXSW in 2013, they are still a must see anytime they are playing a festival.

Time slot- 4:45-5:45 PM The Other Tent.

Conflicts- Most of Against Me! and the first 15 minutes of Moon Taxi, Rustie and Dawes.

  1. Pallbearer

About- American Doom metal band from Little Rock, AR formed in 2008.  Brett Campbell (guitar/vocals), Devin Holt (guitar), Joseph D. Rowland (bass/vocals), and Mark Lierly (drums). Two studio albums- “Foundations of Burden” latest release (2014). First release, “Sorrow and Extinction” (2012) was noted as one of the best albums of the year by both Spin and NPR.

Time slot-2:00-3:00 PM That Tent.

Conflicts- Last 15 minutes of The Districts and the entire set of Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath.

  1. Mini Mansions

About- American band formed in Los Angeles, Ca in 2009 by Michael Shuman (guitar/drums/vocals), Zach Dawes (bass/drums), and Tyler Parkford (vocals/keyboard).  When Shuman’s main band, Queens of the Stone Age, took a hiatus after extensively touring for their album “Era Vulgaris” and gave him a chance to connect with Dawes and Parkford.   Two EP’s and two albums- “The Great Pretenders” being the latest release (2015).

Time slot- 5:30-6:15 PM on The Who Stage.

Conflicts- Dawes, Moon Taxi and Rustie’s set, the last 15 minutes of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and the last half of Against Me!’s set.


  1. D’Angelo and the Vanguards (TOP PICK)

About- born Michael Eugene Archer in Richmond, Virginia this Grammy award winning Neo soul singer-songwriter is also an accomplished musician is making his second appearance on the farm.  His latest album, “Black Messiah”, credited under D’Angelo and the Vanguard, is meeting critical acclaim since its release.  Another artist I really do not need to add ‘Why?’ you should go see… I mean its D’Angelo.  Duh!

Time slot- 2:00 AM-330 AM This Tent.

Conflicts- most of Flume and the last 30 minutes of both Bassnectar and the Superjam!.

  1. Gary Clark, Jr.

About- American guitarist born in Austin, Texas. Brilliant blend of blues, jazz, soul and country.  He has released five EPs, including “Gary Clark, Jr.” (2010) and “The Bright Lights” (2011), one live album, “Gary Clark, Jr. Live” (2014), and three studio albums including his latest, “Blak and Blu” (2012).  One of the artists on this year’s bill that I have been wanting to see live for YEARS!  Thank you Bonnaroo! Say hey if you see me by the stage.

Time slot- 7:30-8:30 PM Which Stage.

Conflicts- Most of Belle & Sebastian’s set and the first 30 minutes of both My Morning Jacket and SBTRKT.

  1. Bleachers

About- American Indie pop band from New York City, New York formed in 2014 by Jack Antonoff (guitar/vocals).  Their debut album is entitled “Strange Desire” (2014) featuring the single, “I Wanna Get Better”.  Really exciting and new band that has skyrocketed into instant popularity within the music scene.

Time slot- 5:15-6:30 PM This Tent.

Conflicts- A majority of The War on Drugs and Hozier, the last 15 minutes of Bleachers, the first 30 minutes of Jamie xx and the first 15 minutes of Sturgill Simpson.

  1. Sturgill Simpson

About- an American alternative country music singer-songwriter from Jackson, Kentucky.  He has independently released two studio albums, most notably his latest, “Metamodern Sounds in Country Music” (2014). This guy is one of my favorites at this year’s Bonnaroo!  I predict this to be one of the best performances for Saturday. Prepare to be mind-blown.

Time slot- 6:15-7:30 PM That Tent.

Conflicts- All of the Jaime xx set, last 15 minutes of Bleachers, last 30 minutes of The War on Drugs, the last 45 minutes of Hozier, and the first 30 minutes of Belle & Sebastian.


  1. Twenty-One Pilots (TOP PICK)

About- an American Indie pop duo from Columbus, Ohio formed in 2009.  Tyler Joseph (piano, keyboard, keytar, ukulele, synthesizer, vocals) and Josh Dun (drums).  They have released four studio albums including the latest, “Blurryface” set to drop spring 2015.  Always a great live performance each time I have seen them… and I expect nothing less this time at Bonnaroo.  Trust me.

Time slot- 2:30-3:45 PM What Stage.

Conflicts- last 30 minutes of Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear, the entire set of Hiss Golden Messenger, and a majority of both Shabazz Palaces and Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn.  

  1. Shaky Graves

About- Alejandro Rose-Garcia is an Americana musician from Austin, Texas who is best known for his mix of blues, country and rock and roll.  He has released four studio albums, with “And the War Came” (2014) being the latest release.  Graves has an amazing voice and he is a truly, talented song-writer.  I have been wanting to catch him perform for some time now and will definitely make it to That Tent at some point.

Time slot- 12:30-1:15 PM That Tent.

Conflicts- Majority of Pokey LaFarge and the first 30 minutes of Christopher Denny.

  1. Caribou

About- Daniel Victor “Dan” Snaith is a Canadian composer, accomplished musician and recording artist who has also used the monikers; Manitoba and Daphni.  His mix of electronica, shoegaze, and folktronica has helped him release (under all three names) over seventeen EPs and seven studio albums with Caribou’s, “Our Love” (2014) being the latest release.  No matter which name he performs under, it is going to be well worth watching.  Check out his live performance of “Can’t do without you” from the Brixton Academy.

Time slot- 7:30-8:45 PM The Other Tent.

Conflicts- last 30 minutes of Florence + The Machine, all of Jerry Douglas Presents Earls of Leicester, a majority of G-Eazy, Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters and The Bluegrass Situation Superjam Featuring Ed Helms and Special Guests.

  1. Pokey LaFarge

About- Andrew Heissler is an American musician and songwriter, from Bloomington, Illinois, deep in the folk and American roots musical genres.  He tours with a five-piece band consisting of some talented and accomplished musicians.  They have two EPs seven studio albums with “Something in the Water” (2015) being the latest release.  I believe that Pokey fits the chill vibe 1000% with the rest of the artists playing on Sunday at Bonnaroo. Only thing: it is Shakey or Pokey.  The choice is yours: the blue pill or the red pill?

Time slot- 12:15-1:15 PM Which Stage.

Conflicts- first 30 minutes of Christopher Denny and the entire set of Shakey Graves.

[1] Terry, Josh. (15/09/2014). Consequence of Sound.  Retrieved 05/05/2015.

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