Bonnaroo rumor season is just around the corner (or possibly already here if the first Bonnaroo clue located by a member of the Inforoo message board is any indicator) and we here at the Nashville Festivals Examiner can’t wait. But until we get some solid rumors to chew on, we can make educated guesses about some acts that may possibly come to Bonnaroo 2013 based on recent trends and current touring information.
One of the more consistent trends in Bonnaroos past has been the addition of a classic rock act to fill one of the headliners slots. Last year it was new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Red Hot Chili Peppers. In 2011, it was Eminem. In 2010, it was Stevie Wonder. So who could the classic rocker set to headline Bonnaroo 2013 be this year? Here are some guesses based on tours and likely fits for Bonnaroo.
While McCartney just wrapped up a tour and doesn’t currently have any dates into the summer, he certainly looks like a man who far from finished. From his newsworthy appearance at the 12-12-12 concert with the surviving members of Nirvana to swirling tour rumors, it seems like a safe bet that Macca will be on the road in 2013. McCartney has been a long time fan wish list artist and would certainly bring the kind of top of the lineup pop that Bonnaroo needs to one up festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza. If McCartney is touring and is willing to do festival dates, Bonnaroo is almost certain to at least make a run at him.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
A repeat headliner from 2006, there’s nothing concrete to connect Petty to Bonnaroo aside from one not well sourced blog post and a ton of rumors on fan sites. That said, Petty is currently available during Bonnaroo’s time frame and, while he wouldn’t bring the kind of press McCartney would, he’d be a good safe bet to put on a great show and a solid anchor for the lineup if Bonnaroo wanted to go a little more experimental and offer the second headlining slot to a less proven headline star like Jack White or The Black Keys.
Fleetwood Mac’s current reunion tour ends June 12 in Detroit, a perfect setup for a possible Bonnaroo send-off or a kickoff for a run of festival dates. There is some debate whether a Christine McVie-less Fleetwood Mac would warrant a headlining slot. We feel like they could headline under similar circumstances to Arcade Fire in 2011 or Stevie Wonder in 2010, where either a high profile pre-headliner (My Morning Jacket in 2011, who actually played longer than the headliner) or What Stage Late Night show (Jay-Z in 2010) kind of set up a co-headline on all but paper situation.
The Who is another of those “big publicity” acts that looks great on a lineup poster. The band’s current “Quadrophenia and More” reunion tour ends in February, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t either add more dates or head in to rehearse a Bonnaroo 2013 set. Reports from their current tour say that Daltrey and Townshend are in great form and appear to be having a lot of fun on the tour.
Out on tour again, these Bonnaroo 2008 headliners wind up their currently announced dates on 4/6. The band appeared to really enjoy their headlining set in 2008 and were impressive enough to most long time fans that they don’t mind the idea of a repeat. For new fans, Pearl Jam is what many of them grew up on and would likely be a significant draw.
With a new album, “King Animal,” out and a current tour running through February, it seems very plausible that Bonnaroo could look at these grunge rock pioneers for their classic headlining act. They bring an always solid live show and a new album buzz to Bonnaroo and offer them a first-time headliner, something that’s becoming increasingly difficult to find for the 12 year old festival.
Who would you like to see headline Bonnaroo 2013? Let us know in the comments section.