With another star-studded lineup, the 2017 edition of Bonnaroo has brought a ton of inspired music and tough scheduling conflicts to Manchester, Tenn. this weekend. Which artists cannot, under any circumstances, escape your checklist? Here are our 10 most essential acts this year:
10. Major Lazer
Witnessing the type of shenanigans that Diplo and co. get into during their late-night set on Friday is one of the necessary experiences of Bonnaroo. With a new EP (and the potential to bring forward a few surprise guests), as well as an unhinged live show that only ramps up at festivals, Major Lazer will likely be a set that everyone is talking about on Saturday morning.
9. White Reaper
Opening the main stage at Bonnaroo on Sunday presents a unique opportunity for these Kentucky garage rockers. White Reaper‘s new album, The World’s Best American Band, is among the year’s best; its title hyperbolic, but only slightly so.
8. Lucy Dacus
An absolute gem of a songwriter, Lucy Dacus is no stranger to the festival circuit, but her inviting lyrical tone and shimmering guitar work are well-fitted for an afternoon at Roo. Make time for her early on Saturday, especially if you’re unfamiliar and searching for a new indie hero.
Grime at Bonnaroo? Well, not just any grime: Skepta happens to be a cinematic lyricist with the ability to snarl and stir. If you don’t watch “Shutdown” live this weekend, consider your Bonnaroo incomplete.
6. Bluegrass Situation Superjam
Back for the fifth straight year, Ed Helms’ banjo-heavy bluegrass jam session has become an integral part of the Bonnaroo spirit: collaborative, southern-fried, crowd-pleasing and solo-heavy. Bonus points: Martina McBride is on the lineup this year!
As marvelous as the soul-themed Superjam is going to be this year, you can’t pass up the chance to catch Marshmello kicking off his sure-to-be-packed set at 2:00 AM on Saturday night/Sunday morning. The virtuoso producer will more than justify the late night and sleepy next morning.
4. Future Islands
After years of paying dues and delighting festival crowds, Future Islands have graduated to the main stage… and have a terrific new album to bring with them in 2017’s The Far Field. The group is always a must-see thanks to Samuel Herring’s manic delivery, but their Saturday night set feels like a victory lap, and has the chance to be special.
Lorde, playing Bonnaroo for the first time, five days before Melodrama is released? Yep, that’s one to pencil in. The New Zealand alt-pop star is (unfortunately) one of a handful of female artists gracing the main stage this weekend, and will make the case on Sunday that, when next she returns, she’ll do so as a headliner.
2. Chance the Rapper
Fun fact: Chance the Rapper loves Bonnaroo. Last year he wasn’t even scheduled to perform, but spent the entire weekend in Manchester, popped up as a special guest during three separate sets, and held a Coloring Book listening in the Silent Disco. The festival has long championed Chance, and vice versa; his Saturday main stage set has the potential to be unforgettable.
Bonnaroo has a knack for booking musical legends – Elton John, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen have all headlined in recent years – but U2 is a special coup, since Bono and co. have yet to perform at any other major U.S. alternative festival, despite staying active on the road. In celebration of The Joshua Tree‘s 30th anniversary, expect hits, fireworks, and sing-alongs the likes of which the festival has rarely seen.