St. Vincent DeJamz: Best Bonnaroo 2015 acts

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St. Vincent DeJamz: Best Bonnaroo 2015 acts

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What began as a rural Tennessee jam band festival in the early 2000s has grown into the multigenre and multi-faceted festival we now know as Bonnaroo. While much has changed, what’s fascinating about the festival is that it seemed to maintain much of its initial integrity and “radiate positivity” mantra since its inception.

Is Bonnaroo’s lineup the best this year? No. But in my experience, it has the kindest, happiest people. Partially it’s due to camping — living together means, to some extent, you have to cohabitate in peace — but the festival has been able to institute a cultural shift unlike any other.

My yearly trip  marks the beginning of the summer with a road trip with friends, finally hot weather and some great music.

Here are some of the acts I’m looking forward to seeing, illustrating some of the best things about Bonnaroo.

1. Mac DeMarco — “Salad Days”

Thursdays are for setting up camp and settling into the hustle of the festival. Without a headliner, it’s a day set aside for rock acts. Two years ago, Mac Demarco played on a small side stage against Macklemore; this year, he’s slotted for a midnight set that’s sure to draw.

2. Earth Wind & Fire — “September”

I can’t think of a better time and place to see Earth, Wind & Fire than at midnight in some field in the middle of nowhere Tennessee. And when else are you actually going to see Earth, Wind & Fire?

3. Flying Lotus — “Never Catch Me”

Centeroo, where all of the performances take place, never closes, and there are no artist curfews. Flying Lotus, STS9 and Odesza are slotted for that prime late night slot with only a suggested end time. In 2013 I woke up for a 6 a.m. bathroom run and Pretty Lights was still playing. One of these artists is certain to take advantage of this Bonnaroo perk. There’s also a chance Kendrick Lamar could make an appearance at Flying Lotus’ set. 

4. War on Drugs — “Red Eyes”

Though The War on Drugs put out arguably one of the best albums of last year, they’re slotted for a late afternoon Saturday set time, and after a long Friday night, it might be the first of the day for many. But a festival perk is being able to sit in the back, take in the environment and relax a bit. Luckily, their rich sound is ideal for lounging.

5. Billy Joel — “Piano Man”

After a long weekend, Sunday is sometimes physically difficult. The sun’s a little hotter, your body aches, you’re a bit delusional from sleepiness and you’ll probably miss a set or two. Good thing there’s a kumbaya sing-along to cap it all off, and “Piano Man” is too perfect for it.