Chattanooga Now City Beat: A very Phishy Bonnaroo lineup announced

Chattanooga Now City Beat: A very Phishy Bonnaroo lineup announced

January 9th, 2019 by Barry Courter in Chattnow Music

Phish performs during the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., Sunday, June 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

I think if I had to come up with a topic for doing a case study on a seemingly random topic like those the government provides grants for, I'd do one on the various ways people react to lineup announcements for music festivals.

I'm pretty sure someone could book The Beatles, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, Mozart and Patsy Cline, and someone would complain.

Barry Courter

Barry Courter

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

In any case, the Bonnaroo lineup was announced on Tuesday morning, and as it is every year, it's worth taking a look at. That's because it's one of the country's biggest music festivals, and it takes place an hour from here in Manchester, Tennessee.

It's also worth noting because it's been around for 18 years and it's fun to attend and it's fun to talk about.

My first impression of the list is that while last year's was somewhat top-loaded and very light in the middle and bottom with acts that I was interested to see, this is just the opposite. As always, opinions on lineups are extremely subjective.

Phish is this year's headliner, along with Childish Gambino and Post Malone. Phish will actually do three sets with the first being a late-night show following Gambino's headlining performance. That means they will likely start after midnight and, Phish being Phish, could actually play until they close out the festival with two scheduled shows on Sunday.

I think getting them is a nod to Bonnaroo of old and a good move, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they do. The rest of the lineup features plenty of hip-hop and EDM, which have both become big parts of the festival, but also plenty of Americana and country/folk/rock crossover acts like The Avett Brothers, John Prine, Brandi Carlile, Kacey Musgraves and The Lumineers.

Missing are probably the legacy acts like Paul Mc- Cartney, Lionel Richie or even Kenny Rogers, and sadly, still no Dolly Parton, my personal wish-list topper, but we can't have it all, right?

Some things that often get overlooked, especially by people who have never been, are the added experiences organizers have built into the festival, especially in the general camping areas, in recent years. From cooking demonstrations to special concerts not on the big schedule, there is more to do and see there than ever before, and they go around the clock.

This lineup, like all of the ones in the past, will be picked apart, studied and analyzed, but at first blush, it feels different, but familiar.

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.

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