The term "overwhelming" gets tossed around a lot on the musical festival circuit.
The lineup? Overwhelming. The people? Overwhelming. The heat? Overwhelming. More dining and drinking options than Epcot? Overwhelming.
But Bonnaroo doesn't have to be. Because while some folks would rather endure several sedentary hours near the front of the main stage in a committed effort to ensure primo positioning for the evening's headlining act, the bulk of Bonnaroo attendees bounce around the festival grounds discovering new music.
And here are some performances you won't want to miss.
Thursday, June 16, at 5:30 p.m.
New Music On Tap Lounge
Charmingly Southern and effortlessly soulful, Houndmouth is one of the latest acts to sprout from the folksy roots revival. The group's debut record, From the Hills Below the City, is one of the most-talked-about albums this summer, garnering praise from music fans and critics alike.
In a phone interview with New Times, Houndmouth organist Katie Toupin reflects on the group's recent late-night television debut on Conan.
"It was so strange," she says. "The whole experience, the whole day, is kind of a blur. I was no nervous. I think I blacked out. I don't really remember doing it, but there's video with proof that it actually happened."
She killed it, in fact. Don't expect anything less at Bonnaroo.
Thursday, June 16, at 11 p.m.
Originally, symphonic pop rockers Polyphonic Spree's interpretation of Rocky Horror Picture Show was meant for British eyes only. However, a Halloween show in London garnered so much attention that festival organizers invited the Tim DeLaughter-lead group to perform its take on the cult classic at this year's Bonnaroo.
"There wasn't a dire need to do a musical," DeLaughter says. "It's just something that kind of popped up."
With an August 6 release date of the group's first studio record in seven years quickly approaching, the future of Polyphonic's Horror Picture Show seems uncertain.
"I think this is just another chapter in our book. [Rocky Horror] is fun; we're having a blast with it. But it's not something that we'll probably continue. We've only got a few runs, and that'll probably be the end."
Bonnaroo may be one of the last opportunities to do the "Time Warp" with DeLaughter.
Friday, June 14, at noon
New Music on Tap Lounge
Nashville's soul/rock/pop outfit Alanna Royale has been together for only about nine months, quickly building a reputation as one of the best live acts in all of Music City.
"It's mind-blowing," says frontwoman Alanna Quinn-Broadus, who has lived in Nashville only since January 2012. The boisterous soul singer literally competed against other bands to land a spot in this year's festival lineup in BMI's fifth-annual "Road to Bonnaroo."
"The competition is so stiff," she says. "These are like the best fucking bands in Nashville. These are the people that I pay my own money to go see when I'm not playing a show."
Now she's one of "like the best fucking" voices at Bonnaroo.
Friday, June 17, at 6:40 p.m.
New Music on Tap Lounge
Things are going to get weird -- or weirder, depending -- on Friday when Los Angeles rap duo Cloney takes over the New Music On Tap Lounge.
"We cannot comment on that at this time," rapper George Cloney tells New Times. Cloney's partner, also George Cloney, however, is a touch less secretive.
"You can expect to see one of the greatest guitar players of all time come out and do a song with us. You can also expect to see one of the biggest movie stars -- besides George Clooney -- come out and do songs with us."
For more on Cloney, check out this Bonnaroo profile.
Saturday, June 15, at 12:45 p.m.
Arguably the greatest we've seen in 2013, Futurebirds bring Georgia blues rock tinged with outlaw county and '60s psych back to Bonnaroo for a second time.
Their sophomore record, Baba Yaga, was released this past April. But it almost didn't happen.
"This record took so long to get out," Futurebirds' Carter King said in a recent interview with CMT. "And for a while there, it seemed like someone was playing a sick joke on us or something, like it was never gonna happen."
But it did, and it's earning praise from Pitchfork to County Music Television. In fact, it may be the last time Futurebirds play a side stage; they should be headlining festivals soon enough.
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