Written by Grant Duncan
Bonnaroo is often overlooked by EDM’s most passionate fans. For a festival that built massive popularity before EDM was a headlining act, this makes sense. The lineup varies greatly offering headlining acts in Hip-Hop, Pop, Rock, Country and of course EDM. This variety is essential to the True Roo experience. This level of variety comes with a fantastic upside. Bonnaroo may be doing more for EDM than festivals that are only having EDM artists like Michigan’s Electric Forest, Ohio’s Lost Land’s and Georgia’s Imagine Music Festival. Bonnaroo may very well be converting fans from other genres, into full on EDM fans. Thus helping EDM grow with new fans on a yearly basis.
Housing 6 stages in the main venue, and 7 smaller stages scattered throughout the campground. There is much more than just EDM going on at all hours of the day and night at Bonnaroo. This can cause many Roo-goers who don’t seek EDM out at home to possibly stumble upon acts they have never heard of.
As a 3 year Roo goer, I am here to tell you. Bonnaroo’s EDM has only grown, and should now be in the conversation with these other festivals. Even with headlining acts outside of EDM. The quality of the EDM acts that Roo has pulled over the course of weekends of the past 3 festivals is surprising, and I am hoping this year is no different. That is why this guide is for all Roovians. EDM vets and people who have never seen an EDM act.
The Daily Bonnaroo 2023 Experience
Let’s start with Wednesday. If you are early enough to make it to the farm on Wednesday you may be in for a special treat if you are there early enough. Apparently Cherub has teamed up with RooBus to do a surprise set on Wednesday Afternoon. Follow them for more info about this @TheRealRooBus. There will also be a late night set at Where in the Woods from Eprom. This is certain to be a good opening night for campground acts.
Thursday is when the Main Venue will open. This night is fairly dubstep focused with some genuinely unique artists mixed in. On the Other, things will get started early with Elephant Heart, a unique act with worldwide and multi-genre electronic influence. Followed by Daily Bread. This act I am really excited about. Daily Bread is a Hip-Hop, Funk, and Dubstep influenced project that is fairly new, but has a good amount of music out. After Daily Bread there are some notable artists Mersiv, and Liquid Stranger. At this same time there are sets from Sippy, Blanke, and Imanu at the campground EDM stage, Where in the Woods.
To close down the Other for Thursday night, Zeds Dead will play 12:45 a.m – 2:00 a.m. After this Zeds Dead will take a one hour break to head over to Where in the Woods. Starting at 3:00 a.m. Zeds Dead will play an Altered States set in the Woods that will end at 5:00 a.m., likely putting you at sunrise. Should be a fantastic opening night for the Other and late night acts in the Woods.
Then on Friday things pick up even more. Notable acts on the Other early in the day are Maddy O’Neal, Apashe, and Peekaboo. Followed by Griz on the Which stage. Next there will be the main stage performance by Kendrick Lamar, on this birthday! After the Kendrick Lamar set at the What, there will be a special triple B2B on the Other starting at midnight Friday into Saturday that includes Boogie T, Dirt Monkey, and Subdocta. After the B3B Subtronics will take the stage for an hour before DJ Diesel is scheduled to finish the night in Centerroo off with a bang. In the campground at Where in the Woods there are some interesting things on the schedule. At 8:00 pm, Harleigh Colt, of Rainbow Kitten Surprise, will be playing a DJ set. After Kendrick Lamar the woods will pick back up with Classix and the Funk Hunters playing until sunrise.
Unforgettable Performance at Bonnaroo 2023
EDM wise, Saturday is personally the day I am most excited by. Things get started early with Night Tales at the Other. They are followed by Gioli & Assia, an act I am very excited about. They are a couple that does vocals and mixing during their set and the content they have been putting out is very good. Their live performance is rumored to be incredible, we shall see! Next on the Other is Elderbrook, another must see if you are a fan of great vocal performances on top of well produced deep tech house. A tough conflict this night is during the Elderbrook performance on the Other, as Griz will play a “Chasing the Golden Hour” set on the main stage, and Sofi Tukker, a latin influenced house act is going on at the second biggest stage, Which stage. Next up on the Other will be a more deep tech house with Bob Moses, and then Walker & Royce. After this great 5:00pm- 11:00pm run on the Other is “the big one”. The entire festival crowd will then be headed to the main stage for “the Last Goodbye” performance by Odesza. This is a highly anticipated return of Odesza to the farm and is guaranteed to be a packed house.
After the Odesza mainstage performance the night will cap off in two different directions for most people. There is either Louis the Child into an STS9 sunrise performance back at the Other. Alternatively in the Woods, directly after Odesza is a Bob Moses club set followed by Shiba San, a serious tech house act, until sunrise. Capping off this Saturday with either one is not a bad option. You really can’t lose and it’s going to be a great Saturday night on the farm in 2023.
Sunday is not a slow down from the previous 4 days, in fact the party will likely be stronger than ever on Sunday. Things start early again with Rome in Silver at 3 pm. The Other will get properly housey for the remainder of the festival with a nice run with Wax Motif into MK, into Jauz, and finished off by Alesso. After Alesso, Centerroo will have its final act of the weekend as the Foo Fighters close down the mainstage with what will certainly be a surreal set.
Thankfully, the campground does not shut down at this time, and in the woods will still have 2 final acts after the Foo Fighters. Alesso will play his Eclipse act, a deeper tech house style set. Finally to completely close out performances for the weekend. Sparkle City Disco will play the final act of this year’s Bonnaroo.
Image Credit: Credit: Drew Ressler/rukes.com”