Amid a wild week of festival announcements, one lineup unsurprisingly reigned supreme for The What Podcast crew - Bonnaroo 2023.
During a special live episode of The What Podcast, Brad, Barry and Lord Taco were joined by Bryan Benson, a lead booker with Live Nation, for a deep dive into this year's Roo lineup. Benson helps break down the curation of such a lineup, offers news about what 2023's SuperJam will look like, and more. Consequence's own Editorial Director Ben Kaye joins the conversation as well, offering expertise as a long-time Roovian and seasoned festival-goer.
Listen to the episode here, or watch the full conversation on YouTube. Make sure to keep up with the podcast is it covers the entire festival season by liking, reviewing, and following wherever you get your podcasts.
Also, you can follow the Consequence Podcast Network for updates on all our shows, and check out the new Consequence Live portal for the latest music festival news and tour announcements. Plus, you can subscribe to our newsletter to get live music news delivered straight to your inbox.
Guests: Bryan Benson, Ben Kaye
Each and every year with the lineup calls, we answer.
And then we call people who know more than us, like Brian Benson, one of the guys that
actually booked the festival.
Right from the source this week from our live show on lineup day, we talked to one of the
bookers from AC, our old friend Brian, and along the way, some guests like Ben from Consequence,
the What Podcast, Barry Courter, Lord, Taco, Brad Steiner starts right now.
You're always trying to do your best.
Have you found dad yet?
Is he okay?
We don't know.
Barry just just up and disappeared.
He's just he's just wandering his basement trying to find this thing called YouTube.
He can't find YouTube.
Do we seriously know where Barry is?
He knows we're doing this, right?
I hope so.
Has Barry been celebrating all day because of the lineup?
You know, speaking of celebrating.
Oh, God, here we go.
How many of the 99 pack?
Thank you, Lord Taco.
Welcome to the live show, the What Podcast on the greatest day of the year.
Now that we've had some time to reflect and call all of our friends and make all of our
plans, I love to hear what you have to say on the comments in the comments.
Let us know what you think.
Happy Bonnaroo to you.
Happy Roos to you, buddy.
Are you now that you've given it some time?
Have you changed any thoughts, any feelings from this morning?
And for those who have not watched or listened, what were your thoughts initially of the lineup?
I loved it.
Of course, the thing was what we got was a press release.
So we got a Word document that just had names in a list.
What a tough life.
Well, but now, you know.
How dare you have to read?
I need colors, damn it.
But now it's on a poster.
And I think it's even better in poster form.
You know, it was great.
Well, yeah, I mean, I won't lie to you.
It's much easier when I have bright shining lights and colors and, you know, clever little
designs to help me navigate my Bonnaroo lineup today as special because not only are you
involved in it, a fan and friend of the what podcast, but also we have a couple of very
special guests, one including Brian Benson.
I don't know if you recognize the name, but Brian Benson has been on the show before with
These are the two guys that you can thank for the Bonnaroo lineup.
And we haven't talked to Brian since the moment he got to show off the twenty twenty lineup.
You got to say I was the guy that did that twenty twenty lineup.
And luckily for us, we have him back.
Now the problem is taco.
The last time we had him on the show, we never really got the twenty twenty lineup.
Do we really want to risk it again?
I don't know.
Do you think he's the black cloud that hangs over everybody?
I hope not.
So so Brian's going to share his perspective and his thoughts on how this lineup came to
I'm really, really excited to talk about them.
What I've always noticed about these guys is taco is that they really love talking about
the lineup when they really are proud of the lineup.
They really think he's proud of this one.
It's like when you buy a new car, it's like when Don Draper buys that new Buick and he's
just ready to drive around the neighborhood.
And then after that will have been from Consequence of Sound, Consequence Podcast Network, Consequence
Consequence Dot Net.
So Ben is is the editor.
I can't remember what Ben's actual I think he's the editor.
He's actually I think we're going to have him first, right?
Because you told him six or five.
Oh, Ben's waiting now.
As long as we don't need Barry, what do we need to be buried for?
We'll try to bury for a Ben.
Ben from Consequence, a longtime Bonnaroovian.
I feel like this is not this is not his first go around in the Bonnaroo world either.
You want to bring him in?
Yeah, let's bring him in.
It's like the Merv Griffin show.
Hit the music.
Come on down.
Hit it, Paul.
Look at this.
Welcome into our YouTube channel.
Ben, how are you, my friend?
How's it going?
Doing super nice to see you, man.
How are you?
It's good to see you guys.
Great to be a part of this thing after running point on it for Consequence for for so long.
Before we get too far down the road here, tell us what you do and all of the things
you operate in Consequence.
Except for having a really good.
By the way, we got young Barry Courters hair with us.
Good hair, Fred.
Very time travel.
Yeah, I'm I'm editorial director of Consequence.
I've been with the publication for going on 11 years now.
I started way at the bottom as a news writer.
Just worked my way up.
And at this point, yeah, I pretty much I manage the podcast network.
I manage our video team.
I work with editorial, obviously.
But as working in Consequence, you have to have absolute love and fire for music or else
is not really the gig for you.
I mean, straight up, Von Aru is the reason I work for Consequence.
Why is that?
My my first Bonnaroo was oh eight and I was.
Straight up, I dropped a tab of acid at during during Chris Rock kicked in at Metallica,
Wander the Field ended up at at my morning jacket, which was the reason I kind of went
in the rain in the rain for our set, saw the entire thing and, you know, had my mind blown,
had my life changed.
And at that point, I was just like, I have to be around this stuff all the time.
And I had to figure out a way to do that.
And you know, my buddy in college had turned me on to Consequence, turned me on to Bonnaroo
and my morning jacket kind of all simultaneously.
So it kind of planned out from panned out from there that I was just like, I got to
I got to get away into this.
And this is how it happened.
So do you remember the way that you felt before you got to Bonnaroo?
Did you do it because you were so enamored with, you know, the lore of Bonnaroo?
Or is it because you just happened to find yourself available and you could go?
It was it was a lot of stuff.
I mean, like I I was a really late bloomer when it came to music.
I didn't really get into it until college.
And like I said, my buddy was introducing me, buddy Mike, who might be listening,
got me to a lot of a lot of music and a lot of, you know, the scene.
And he told me about Bonnaroo and about what the experience was like
and about what music would be there.
And then the lineup dropped and I started digging into it.
And it was just.
Yeah, I was just excited to see what
being surrounded by music fans like that was like.
And that was you live at the time.
I was in New York. I was in college.
I went to Hofstra University, so I was on Long Island.
And, you know, it was me and I think four buddies hopped in a car
and caravered down with three cars.
Did the whole overnight day and a half drive
camped up next to each other, set up that big camp.
And yeah, man, it was was there.
Was there an artist in 2008?
You said you had to be a part of you had to see.
I mean, even even then, my morning jacket was like,
like my jam.
Hey, Barry. Welcome, Barry.
So glad you could join us.
Hey, look at that.
I don't even want to talk about it.
Well, we weren't going to.
So I don't know what just happened.
All right, y'all. Thanks for coming, everybody.
Good to see you. Oh, my God.
Oh, my God. Hey, Ben.
Thank you so much.
Then right before right before this started, Barry, God love him.
He looked at us while we're in the program that we're using.
Barry looked at us and he goes, so we need to be in YouTube.
Do I need to be in YouTube?
I said, yes, Barry, just go to YouTube.
Start screaming at your screen.
Then I went and put my black socks on and started mowing the grass.
So we were talking about how it felt like.
So we were talking about how Ben was getting into Bondura.
This is 2008 at the My Morning Jacket Show.
How many bonders you've been since then?
If my count's right, eight.
Oh, you're a lifer at this point.
Yeah, I think my last time was 16.
In the only year from eight to 16 that I skipped was 12.
Well, what happened between 16 and now?
What what kept you what kept you away?
You know, my mom was a little bit of a
little bit of a family in the middle of the night.
But I think there was a whole variety of factors.
Camping, porta parties, porta parties.
No, by the end of the run, I was back in the, you know,
in that in that forested areas that you guys love and miss so well.
Everybody say hi to Ted.
Ted Honig is in the chat.
about that camping area that we had.
We'd like our camping area back.
Talk to you later.
I might have to have to figure out how to get back this year,
because, yeah, the lineup is is the most intriguing I've seen in some time.
So lineup lineup had really been part of the reason I stopped going.
It was a lot. It's a lot of work.
I work the festival. I'm a photographer.
I shoot it. It's a lot of running around.
You know, I'm older now.
I've got body issues.
My back is a pain being able to carry that stuff around
that size of a festival.
Plus, as as I work for concert, I cover a lot of live music
and a lot of festivals.
So to like get me back down to Tennessee, like really had to be a lineup.
Yeah. Like, are you in New York still?
Yeah, I'm in New York. I'm in Brooklyn.
OK, me too. I'm in Crown Heights.
Who are you? I'm in Crown Heights.
Stop it. Yes, sir. Yeah.
Go knock on the go knock on the walls if you hear.
Yeah. Oh, my God. My dog's barking.
All right. So so Ben, does this lineup intrigue you?
It is. It's enough to go, you know, with the back pain in the port of body
and the camping on the.
I don't know about the camping.
We'll have to see what the situation is.
But yeah, there's something about this one that maybe it's seeing my
morning jacket back in the bell because that'll always bring me back.
But yeah, there's something about this one that that feels real
classic to me in a way that I haven't seen
in years in in a way that makes me go, boy, maybe I maybe I need to
start working that back out so I can make it down.
And I got people make fun of me because about 90 days out of Bono.
Start like I got to start getting in shape.
90 days is too late.
Well, who in particular other than my morning jacket, who who in particular
sort of caught your eye?
Um, gosh, I'm looking at it right now.
Let's see a pair more.
I love I I so tell us that you have a physical poster already.
Yeah, that's incredible.
Paramore's dope. I'm seeing them on the farm.
We'd really cool.
Bands like or acts like three, six mafia that are so
like three, six mafia and corner these like crazy, like
what are they really doing there?
Bands that make perfect sense that they're there.
And I love seeing those sets.
You know, you know, I think I hate to interrupt you,
but like those are the ones that I love the most.
And it goes from from Lionel Richie and Kenny Rogers
all the way to Alice Cooper and Gore.
Yeah, you know, it's like those bizarre bookings.
They're like, what in the world has happened here?
But what I remember talking to Brian about and Stephen about years ago, Barry,
is that sometimes they'll see a show and they'll say to themselves,
I'm going with my gut on this one because this was just so fun.
I want this experience on the farm.
Thank you, John.
And I think I think I think for me and Ross, it's Pixies.
Right. I mean, corn, obviously, but Pixies to Pixies is a
that's a once in a lifetime.
I mean, I don't even know if they're on your radar, Brad, but
yeah, I know the Pixies.
I don't mean to insult you, but, you know, there's those bands
that you look at me and Barry, have you ever heard of the Foo Fighters?
Come on. Yeah.
Pixies, pre date.
But anyway, yeah, those are the bands that I'm like, oh my God,
I get to see these guys in addition to all these other bands.
That Lionel Richie set down there,
I think that might have been during the last year, but it was so good.
Yeah, that was such a cool set.
And I'm like, you know, I'm never going to go seek out a Lionel Richie show.
I know. Right. I know. That's right.
You put them on a lineup with everybody else I want to see.
Hell, yeah. Let me go check that out.
So go backwards for a second.
If if 2008, the 2016, what was your favorite year?
Do you have a specific year that?
Yeah, I'm bad with
kind of dates and what was what?
I think it was nine.
Was the year that Yayas and TV on the radio and.
Oh, God, you're talking like 2004, 2005 was yeah.
Has what was the last time?
Yeah, I don't remember Yayas being there since 2004 or five.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
They were. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah, yeah, this is it. Nine. Nine.
I remember because she came backstage and she was painfully so thin.
I was like, oh, yeah, the thinnest woman I've ever seen in my life.
I totally forgot they were there.
And oh, no, that was Bruce Nine Inch Nails.
Two fish shows, Beastie Boys last show ever, which we didn't know at the time.
Oh, my God. Yeah. David Byrne.
Chris Rock was that year, right?
No, that was eight.
No, that's when he dropped acid because that's what I. Yeah.
The Mars Volta TV on the radio.
Yayas, MGMT at like the height of their heightness.
band of horses, girl talk when he was still rocking.
Oh, public enemy there.
That Bon Iver said, oh, yeah, this this was like.
Yeah, that's a great year. This was my year.
Yeah, I've always told that.
I've always told the public enemy story about triumph.
The insult dog was there.
You remember? Yeah, I know.
I got my picture with him and that was the Conan O'Brien was there, too.
Yeah, yeah. And there's a lot of comedians.
Janine Girl Afro was there and she did the same again.
Do you get that one with your raffle?
I know I did stumble through that.
But I mean, she did the media thing in the tent.
And she was like, did you all see that triumph set last night?
And we're like, no, what are you talking about?
And she said he came out and said, you all know why
Flava Flav wears that clock around his chest, right?
And we're like, no. And she said,
he said so he can see how far he set back the civil rights movement.
Wow. Very good.
Jesus, Janine Garofalo.
She was telling it all over.
Jesus. I don't know if that's a good segue, but we've got Brian Benson.
Well, you want to bring in.
Yeah. Brian Benson, who helped who helped book this lineup.
Yet again, another victory lap to take around the
around the old campsite that his YouTube
drop a comment or a question in for Brian anytime in the YouTube chatbox.
So we'll talk. Yeah. We'll sort of manage.
Do we do we have him in?
Yeah. You ready to bring him in? Yeah. Bring him in.
Hit the news. Here we go.
Yeah. Dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun.
My man. How are you? There he is.
What's up, gentlemen? How's everybody?
Good to see you. Happy Lineup Day. Happy Lineup Day.
You are getting email.
Yeah. Yeah. We got some echo.
It's pretty much been my day right there. That little ding sound.
Yeah. Can you have headphones?
I can get some. Do I need to have headphones?
Yeah, because I think we're picking up your speaker.
You know, they don't have these problems on the RooHamm podcast.
Also, very jealous of that jacket.
That was a nice jacket.
So Ted pointed that out right away.
Oh, really? Oh, yeah.
Track jacket. Yeah.
So speaking of, since we're talking to somebody from consequence,
what did you what were your initial thoughts of Coachella
since since we got you here?
Yeah. I mean, first of all, like Festival of Publicist need to like coordinate
because dropping dropping four major lineups in one day was was a heavy lift.
Yeah. Coachella, I think, is actually pretty great.
It's I went once I went in 2012.
I don't think that festival is my speed.
That's another one that like the lineup would have to be pristine for me,
for me to go back.
And I just I don't think my taste align perfectly.
But there's a lot on there that makes that a really strong lineup for Coachella.
Yeah. Like, give me a you're a black pink guy. Black.
Yeah, I kind of am a K-pop dude.
Like there's a lot I say like, oh, Coachella is not my speed.
I love K-pop.
You know, you're plucked right out of the factory of people
I thought would like K-pop.
You know, right?
I got into BTS and we have this one person on our side
who's just like a mega fan and just being able to talk to her about stuff
and learn about the that world.
I'm in in so many ways.
And I think Black Pink's great.
And I think that's, you know, fantastic for them and fantastic for Coachella
and fantastic for the music festival scene at large that they and Bad Bunny
are topping a bill is is is pretty incredible.
I mean, the complete other side of that spectrum.
I'm a huge fan of Boy Genius and everybody in Boy Genius.
I love the OG and we all knew that was happening.
But now it's like it's there and we're seeing it.
And if this is this is the start of something that Boy Genius is going to do,
that's the part that makes me so excited.
Yeah, I definitely want, you know, something
new EP, new album, new tour or something.
You know, we know they did.
I don't know if you saw there's some somebody drove by what was clearly
like a press photo shoot of them outside and just like posted video of him
driving by them, which just sets up like, oh, they're doing press photos.
Like, yeah. So that's really exciting.
Well, you know, how are you talking about sort of those out of left field bookings?
There was one in particular for Coachella that kind of got me.
I'm sorry. What is Blondie doing on that line up?
You know, where are they putting them in between Glowrilla and Waffle Dad
or Uncle Waffle?
Like, who is that for?
Who is that for?
Yeah, it makes sense in like a lot of places.
It kind of makes sense for Coachella because they do have like certain songs
that like transcend.
But yeah, it's an odd one.
I've seen them live. They're great.
I'd probably depending on who they were against, I'd probably check them out
if I were down there.
Well, I think this is a subjective question.
It's a terrible question.
I don't know why I even ask it.
But if you were to look at them objectively,
you like the bond or before before Brian gets back,
I like the line up actually just in the text thread.
Me and my buddies, Mike, one of them, the guy who introduced me
to music in general, did our own little rankings.
I think I think it's Bonnaroo Coachella, Boston Calling, which is weird.
I love the Boston Calling lineup. I go over a year.
That's one I've only missed, I think twice.
I'm a Boston boy.
That's where I was born and raised.
But it's got kind of a shakier undercard.
It gets real shaky, real fast.
Like I said, Coachella is really strong, but it's not
entirely my vibe. Sure.
And like I said before, and Brian, welcome back.
Bonnaroo feels like an old school Bonnaroo lineup to me.
The stuff that got me going there and kept me going there in the first place.
Yeah. So yeah, that's that's under it takes it for me.
You know, what a great place to start, because Brian,
I think the first question I'd have for you was, was there sort of like an underground,
maybe even unspoken question between you and Stephen and the group there?
Let's get back to Bonnaroo Basics.
But yeah, look, I appreciate I appreciate you all saying that.
Yeah, I mean, that was definitely a focus.
I think we we have an identity.
We want to be true to that identity while also continuing to,
you know, move into, you know, the future of the new Bonnaroo.
And and I think that balance
is really there this year.
And that's always something we're shooting for.
And I think this this particular lineup really nailed it from our perspective.
I remember when we talked to you and Stephen, I don't know which one of you
the wife said that she saw the lineup earlier in the week.
And she said, this is really good.
And one of you responded to her like, is it though?
I don't know yet until actual line up day.
The day Stephen I think it was Stephen was his wife was like questioning.
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah.
So so it sounds like it sounds like both of us, to be honest.
It is, you know, you're so,
you know, into this thing.
I mean, look, we we work on it for the entire year.
We were never really not booking the event.
And so when when the finished products there,
there's always a little bit, you know, in the back of your brain.
It's like, I mean, is this any good?
I think it is. But yes, we'll say when's the moment?
When's the moment when, you know, I mean, is it total ticket sales
or is there a person is it your wife?
Is it, you know, Brad Steiner that says this is pretty good lineup?
If it's not, it should be.
Yeah, I think it's I think it's the four of you guys letting us know.
Yeah, no, I think that's what I was fishing for.
No, I think, you know, we get a vibe, right?
And the the the
look, our community is incredible.
I think that the sleuthing that our fans love to do,
I think, you know, a lot of people had a sense of what we had working this year.
And what I was excited to see was,
you know, a lot of people were saying, hey, if this rumored lineup is true,
we're going to be pretty happy.
And, you know, I'm just kind of sitting back going with
I can't wait to get this out there.
Is that something you like, by the way, you like the sleuthing?
I mean, look, I do, because it shows it shows that it shows the passion
of the audience, you know, and our fans,
you know, they're the best festival fans in the world.
And I think, you know, the passion that people have for this show,
it means a lot to me and Steve and Becca and Bobby and Sophie
and everybody else that works on this show.
It really matters. And and we take it very seriously.
And that's why that's why Bonnaroo is Bonnaroo.
It's all about the community.
By the way, shout out to Becca Castle, who my old intern,
she's watching right now. She just texted me.
Hello, Becca. Nice.
That's because I just have to keep part of this whole thing.
I just have to say, Brad, you pointed this out years ago,
but Brian, you do it better than anyone else.
You know, you're the best.
I know you've been doing this for years ago, but Brian,
you do it better than anyone else. Bonnaroo.
The way you say it is different than everyone else.
You and Ted. No, Ashley, Ashley, Ashley,
she's very good at it, too.
I just want to point that out.
I can't get it right, but whatever.
Hey, so I want to I actually want to start from last year,
to be honest with you, with the difficulties booking
last year versus this year.
Were there inherent difficulties when it came to the pandemic,
et cetera? We lost him.
Oh, no. Oh, no.
We got the... Oh, he's back. He's back.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, look, last year had its challenges.
I don't know that they were really pandemic related,
necessarily. I think at the end of the day,
sometimes you really want or that you go after first.
And, you know, so that that brings you to,
you know, sometimes second, third choices.
That's that's great.
But, you know, again, the overall breadth of the lineup
being strong top to bottom is what we're always trying to achieve.
We're really proud of last year's lineup.
But I think I think starting fresh, not coming out of a covid year.
And then frankly, you know, every band toured last year,
you know, I think that was a challenge.
So many artists wanted to get back on the road and do proper headline runs.
And you could see that, you know, just in Nashville here, as an example,
we set records in the arena and the theaters and the amphitheaters
with with the amount of touring that we had running through the market.
And I know that was true in a lot of markets across the country
and it made a little challenging for the festivals.
And I don't see that as an excuse.
It's just the reality of what it was in the first full touring year post pandemic
and twenty twenty three.
The touring industry sort of getting back to what we would feel like as a normal year.
So, yeah, I say that because I'm assuming that this was a lot easier to book than last year.
What are you most proud of?
What is the the the band, the day, the deal that you made?
What are you most proud of that you got to you got a hold of?
Well, I think our three headliners were really strong.
I think as a trifecta, it's probably one of the strongest we've had in a while.
You know, we've been wanting Kendrick to come back since he stepped off the stage in 2015.
I think it was 2015 or 16.
But that's been one we've been working on for a long time.
And I'm really glad that you know, twenty three is the year that we're going to be.
And I'm really glad that actually leads twenty three is the year that we kind of all all came together.
That leads into our first question.
We've got a rainer for us.
Oh, we have we have a question.
We have a first question.
We got a question from the chat for you, Brian.
Speaking of that, how long ago did the conversation start to get the big headliners like Foos or Kendrick?
How long has that been in the works?
We wait on a question.
That was the question.
That was a question.
Oh, I think you might be lagging.
Yeah, waiting in the line to catch up.
OK, I this is how I work with Barry Courter every day.
This is exactly how it works.
Anyway, I mean, I may not have heard you, but for the headliners, how long did that process take?
When did you guys start booking Foos, Kendrick, etc.?
Yeah, I mean, look, we can start on the headliners early, you know, sometimes a year out or more.
So, you know, these conversations go on for a while.
We're doing the dance with the artists for the better part of, you know, six, eight, nine months.
Just depends on the situation.
And sometimes it comes together quickly.
You know, some artists confirm quicker than others.
So there's some patience that needs to be there.
And, you know, sometimes we're willing to wait it out and sometimes we're not.
So can I tag on to that place?
Was there anything like kind of the post pandemic and the cancellation year that like you were able to look at an artist and be like, hey, you couldn't do 2020 or 2021.
When's the next time you can do it?
Let's start that process.
Like, were you able to, you know, Brad asked, was there was it easier or harder given the pandemic year booking 2022?
Were there, I don't want to say advantages, but did anything play out advantageously to booking this year?
Yeah, I think in some respects it did.
I mean, we've got we've got some acts that were on either the COVID show or the 21 reschedule that are on the 23 lineup.
And again, it's all about getting the artists in the right time for them and for us.
The stars have to align there.
And for some artists that were on those shows, it still made sense for us.
So in a lot of cases, a lot of those artists have grown since then.
You know, and then and then naturally there's going to be some that have that have emerged that weren't really viable options for us in 20 or 21 that are now great options.
It wasn't a hey, let's just rebook everybody we had.
That's not going to make sense.
Every year is going to take it, you know, take on its own form.
But in a lot of cases, there were a lot of artists that that made sense for us to go after that were on those canceled shows.
And we're excited to get some of them on the bill, one of which being the Foo Fighters.
And how much how close is that not to happening?
Well, it was I wasn't sure, honestly.
It was a bit of, you know, me thinking, I'm sure those guys are going to want to get back out at some point.
And there was no way to know if it's going to be 23 or or or beyond.
I think that we all kind of thought, you know, you know, maybe 23 would have been too soon, but we might as well try.
And so I hate to interrupt. I hate to interrupt.
But did where the Foo Fighters book before after the awful passing of Taylor?
I'll probably hold on that one, Brad.
But I think that, you know, it was a conversation that, you know, we weren't sure was going to happen this year or not.
And ultimately, it was something that they were ready to go.
And that's all we needed to hear. And we had a spot and it made sense.
So if if no if no Foo Fighters is the is the band that would have filled that slot on the festival poster today?
Or is that is that band not a book this year?
Not book this year. Got it. Interesting.
Yeah, one of the things you and you and Stephen introduced to us when we visited you guys in Knoxville was this idea of lanes.
I think I think I don't remember exactly if Brad had already introduced it or you confirmed it or both.
But that whole idea is fascinating to me. And it's one of the things we've really sort of focused on.
And this lineup to me and we talked about it this morning when the lineup came out, felt like, man, you guys got it.
You got that's my man. There it is. I got it.
What a professional entity we are. Hang on a second. Don't put a beer.
Have a moment. Count for it. Wait for it. And their scene.
But this lineup really, really feels like a Bonnaroo Lane.
Right. I mean, it really feels like what you guys were talking about, especially Sunday.
We talked about that this morning, but all every day, even Thursday,
feels like there's that you really sort of focused on the lanes.
And for people who don't know and they're new to the show, that's where you book the headliner.
And then you figure out, all right, if Barry likes Kendrick, what's he going to want to do at three thirty in the afternoon and six o'clock and eight o'clock and, you know, on and on and on.
Talk about that a little bit, because it really feels like you nailed it this year.
And I'll be honest, you know, I don't mean to keep picking on last year, but last year to me was a little bit disjointed.
You may disagree. It didn't it didn't hit it for me.
But this year is so spot on.
Where was that conversation with you guys?
Yeah, I appreciate you saying that, Barry. Yeah. And that's very much how we operate.
Right. I think that we're always mindful as we go through the process of making sure that from the from the headliner down,
we've got a common thread or theme there that works.
Right. So if we are going to go for Kendrick Lamar to headline, you know,
we want to make sure that the Kendrick fan has a lot to be excited about.
And that goes on down the line.
The beautiful thing about Bonnaroo is we're showcasing, you know, a lot of different genres and a lot of it kind of plays together.
But we're always thinking about, you know, the journey that that fan might take that day.
And it also comes into counterprogramming as well.
You know, how we how we program the stages when there's overlapping sets.
I mean, there's always going to be schedule conflicts, as we all know.
Some of the most, you know, conflicting schedules that are complaints that people have or some you just sort of like, wow,
I can't believe that that's a conflict.
But we really try hard and we're thinking about that.
And that's why I always tell people, like, when you think about a festival like this,
it really is like a puzzle that every piece has to kind of fit in perfectly in the end.
And it takes a long time to get there.
It's a real balancing act.
We're moving artists all, you know, not all over the place, but there's a lot of moves.
This might work here. So this might need to move to a different day or a different slot.
I don't know if that answers your question, but to me, that kind of speaks to that, you know,
keeping that thread going from the headliner on down.
We very much book that way.
It doesn't. It doesn't.
Because what I'm I guess the point of mind is you seem to hit it this year, especially was it just good luck?
I mean, you know, what happened this year that made it seem so I mean, that's what we talked about this morning.
I think Ben and at Consequence, y'all have been talking about it, right?
Seemed to hit it, right? Hit the lick, right?
What happened this year?
I wrote a whole essay about it.
That was my morning for 1200 words about how this feels like it just hit the lick, right?
Yeah. Well, because, you know, the look we're very targeted in our selections.
I think for the most part, you know, those targets came through and were available and we were able to get it done
and in the way that we needed to.
So it's very calculated. It's very targeted.
But at the end of the day, you know, the artists have to be available or in a lot of times on cycle or in the right moment,
not on tour or whatever.
And, you know, just everything kind of came together this year in a good way for us.
And again, that's the goal every year, right?
And we we try to get that balance and book those lanes and get, you know, get that mix that you're talking about, Barry.
Like we try to nail it every year and feels feels like we did a pretty good job this year.
You did do a good job.
One piece of the puzzle that's still missing, though, is the super jam,
affectionately just on the poster as super jam.
So, you know, the the really dumb guy in me is going to ask a really smart question.
Is the host of the super jam on the poster right now?
Probably not. How about that?
I think that's a breaking news, guys.
Scoot. Yeah, yeah.
Super jam super jam is very much a work in progress as it sometimes is come a lineup announce.
You know, again, always try to have that host or or or lead artist and theme ready.
But sometimes it's not to the point where we're ready to announce it.
And to be honest, that it's exciting to have something else to look forward to in terms of an announcement.
And and yeah, that'll be a fun one once we've got the details ready.
Is it a good way to expand the calendar? That's true.
Is there ever any thought to going?
Corey Smith, Corey Smith's appreciative of my continued marketing.
Is there I mean, I understand the marketing.
Is there ever any thought of going back?
Because I remember when I first was going there, there was no super jam and super jam.
Go see what it is. Is there ever any thought of going back to just putting it on the schedule?
Maybe. I mean, I think that I think if we've got, you know,
we've got an artist curator or a lead lead act, it's really pulling it all together.
And look, it takes a lot of work.
Like we, you know, for an artist to sign up for the super jam at Bonnaroo, it is, you know,
they're very involved in the process.
You know, it's always been the case year over year.
And and these artists really put a lot of time and energy into that.
And I think they deserve the recognition of being announced as the ringleader of whatever that moment is going to be at Bonnaroo.
And what could be fun to save then is more of the special guests,
the those that you might not know are going to jump on stage with, you know, that artist or that band.
And that's the fun stuff that we can sometimes save or maybe leak near, leak near the time.
You know, speaking of speaking of special guests, look, I think that the Foo Fighters show is going to be so interesting.
Mainly, we talked about it today or earlier this morning when lineup came out was
it's going to be the last show of the weekend and knowing their history of wanting to break their own,
you know, supersonic speed records of show lengths.
It could be a four and a half, five hour show with however many special guests showing up.
Do you guys know or have a pretty good impression of how many or what kind of guests are going to be joining on stage during insert show here that you booked?
Most of the time, it'll come together closer to the performance date.
You know, some there will be mention in the booking process of wouldn't this be fun or this could be possible or oh, this other artist is on the build.
Maybe that could be something. But a lot of times it's a little more,
you know, of the moment where it's like all of a sudden the week of the show, this is happening.
Because let me just making sure I'm just making sure because in twenty twenty four when Miley Cyrus is booked,
there might be a Dolly Parton guest spot.
Let me let me let me jump on that was that was that was your quote, not mine.
Yes, but I did notice you nod gently.
Let me jump on that because I think we asked this sort of at one point, Brad, in our show,
we mentioned how the Bonnaroo schedule was so much it was open.
You never knew, you know, you might have a four hour my morning jacket set.
Right. And then the last couple of years, we noticed there were eighty seven minutes and we asked Brian,
I think we asked you specifically, you know, was that you guys or was that the band?
And I think you said that was the band's coming out of this pandemic and everything.
Is that changed? Like, for example, we noticed Foo Fighters and Umphreys are on the same day.
I mean, Umphreys is known for their long sets.
You know, Brad pointed out Foo Fighters could go.
They could go till Tuesday, till Tuesday.
You know, seriously, is that still be there?
And then, yeah, and Russell still be there with PBR a plenty.
Is that something that is with you guys or is that on the band or is it even talked about?
Or is that just a fan thing we're wishing and hoping and dreaming?
Or, you know, how does that work?
Yeah. So, you know, first of all, at Bonnaroo, we always say we want to do we want the artists to do their full show,
you know, so, you know, schedule permitting sometimes, you know,
the earlier sets in the day obviously can't be two hours long.
We won't get the show in.
But for bands like Umphreys and Foo Fighters and others on the schedule,
we are very much leaving it up to the artists to tell us their desired set length or performance length.
And we as a festival, with very few exceptions, will do everything we can to honor that.
Well, that leads that's a very good lead into a question.
How long then do you expect as a fan of both bands, a My Morning Jacket and or Foo Fighters set to be?
Well, I'll take the Foo's first because they're notorious for playing, you know, two and a half hour, three hour shows.
You know, I would be surprised if that weren't the case, you know, for Bonnaroo.
Nice. And then the jacket, I will plead the fifth on that because if I comment on their set length,
it might reveal where they are.
And I think we'll leave that for another day.
Well, you don't have to say it, but I think here's what I'm going to say as a guy that doesn't know much.
My bet is that you find My Morning Jacket doing a what stage show late at night for hours upon hours.
But that's me speaking again, idiot, on a podcast.
So I should bring a blanket and a pillow.
We've got other questions, too, to get to.
I'm going to have to play quarterback because I don't think that Brian can hear tacos.
So let's give it a go.
Yeah, I can't hear anybody.
Okay. Oh, sorry. Next question. What would it take for Rue to have a Latin headliner or artist in general?
All right. So this is based on what happened with Coachella today, I'm sure.
But what's the likelihood of a Latin headliner in the future?
What would it take?
That's a great question.
I think it's it's something that we definitely would look at in the future.
No question. Yeah, I can't say for certain when that would be.
But that obviously, you know, if the right artist is somebody that's a good fit for Monterey, we wouldn't hesitate.
How much? Let me jump on that.
Hang on. How much is this?
Speaking of the My Morning Jacket thing, how much of the schedule is actually done?
Done all of it? Yeah, look, I mean, you know, when we when we have a when we have a confirmed line up ready to go, the schedule is ostensibly done.
Got it. There will be a lot of tweaks to that and there could be some, you know, inevitable.
I've got to move to this day or wait, what day did you have me on?
I can't do that anymore. There's a little bit of that happening.
But I think for the most part, the I mean, the schedule is pretty much where it's going to be.
And we're we'll get that out in due time.
How much of that? Yeah. How much of that going back, Brian?
And it gets to the lanes a little bit.
And I mean, it is a good question.
But how much of that is we don't have a female head, we don't have a Latin head, we don't have a headliner.
You know, you guys have to book the best available that works in the lanes.
Right. And I think that's a that's a little bit of part that gets lost sometimes when people like me want to talk to you about it.
You know, how come this or how come that, you know, talk about that just for just a minute.
How does that work? Yeah, I mean, I think it's a fair question.
You know, I think a lot of times maybe what gets lost was a little misunderstood is if you see something that's not represented,
it doesn't mean that it isn't something that we were going for at one point or another. Right.
You know, again, our our job is to put together the best lineup possible based on the artists that are available to us in any given year on our specific weekend.
So we're always mindful of we want to be as diverse as possible.
We want to showcase as many different genres as we can.
And, you know, again, this is the mix of artists that we felt was right for Bonnaroo in twenty three.
And and so that that's that's the product that's manifested there.
Well, look, you've been so gracious with your time. You knocked out of the park today.
I'm sure you're getting a lot of congratulatory texts.
Just wrap up with a couple of things and we'll let you go. How much of twenty twenty four is booked?
Zero. Really? Wow. Zero.
How does that mean we're not working on it?
I know I got that. But how much how close are you on, say, you know, an outline of a structure of headliners?
We've definitely got a lot of ideas. There's there's definitely a structure there.
But, you know, I think today is today is all about celebrating celebrating twenty three.
Well, the reason I ask is because when we were last together, which, by the way,
the last time we were together, we were celebrating the twenty twenty lineup that never actually happened.
But you had said at the time you were talking at that moment, you're like,
we're pretty sad on next year already, you know, and we've we're down the road with a lot of these things.
And who would have thought we never actually would ever get there?
Because because Coachella and Boston Collin came out today,
if you could steal one act from each, which one would you steal?
What artists do you? That's a good question.
Remind me of remind me of Boston's top six.
Well, the very Boston's.
Beyonce, Beyonce, Beyonce, Beyonce, Beyonce, Beyonce,
who fighters Paramore who you have.
Yeah, we share Stone Age.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah.
Alanis Morissette. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah. Of that one, I would steal Queens.
Well, look at you guys.
The Foo Fighters connection. Yeah, sure.
Anything from Coachella? Yeah.
Yeah. I'm trying to look at the poster.
I don't know the the young techno fan in the would love the would love the Kims or Underworld.
How about that underworld? Very nice.
They did acid in 2020. That'd be great.
So the what artists that you book that you're most excited about?
Well, let me take a look.
There's so many all I mean, I don't know.
Noah Khan, I think, is one that you know what?
Stop right there. Why?
Why is no why is Noah Khan so high?
Because this was in a music meeting today in my company.
We talked about Noah Khan and we talked about our love of him as a format, et cetera.
But I was surprised even as a guy that plays him for a living, how high he was on the poster.
He put out he put out a massive record and blew out a tour and is exploding as we speak.
So the sales are out of control.
The sales are out of control.
OK, so Noah Khan, who else?
Yeah. Do you have a question?
Yeah. Oh, yeah.
Good. I was going to tag on somebody that I'm excited for to in wondering why they are where there is dire planet.
Them coming back, national zone, national fire, we like the consequence was so excited about that.
Love those guys. Love that.
I love Diary of Planet.
Yeah. I feel like they could have been on any like main weekend day, just scheduling that they're on a Thursday.
You know, we just felt like, you know, national band getting back together, the energy their show brings.
What better night to put them on than to kick off the festival on Thursday night?
There is a lot of your lineup.
Your question, Brad, but that Thursday.
That's OK. Pretty, pretty stellar.
Brian, there's a lot of Nashville love on the festival this year, on the poster this year.
Yeah. And anybody else doesn't know what you're excited about?
Yeah, I mean, I mean, I mean, you know, I mean, obviously the artist, the artist, come on, just the artist.
Wow. The one the show that you have to go to.
You can't miss Brian Benson, pick of the year.
So I mean, whether you I hate to I hate to necessarily choose a headliner, but Kendrick was the best show I saw last year.
And I think that him him him being out there on the Friday is going to be pretty amazing.
Well, that that's all I have.
But I do have one request.
I have two requests before we go.
First, I just now learned from Becca that this what you're wearing, this jacket that I've been obsessed of with is a Bonnaroo's merchandise.
It's twenty twenty three merchandise.
Bonnaroo bomber right here that in the chat, I'll send you my address so one can be slipped.
I need that.
Yeah, I'll take one.
But our final request, a little more difficult for you to make happen.
There's an artist on the lineup named Baby Keen.
Yes, Keen is obviously a may or may not be a baby.
But upon with us tonight, I'll be the judge of that.
Is a baby expert.
Lord Taco knows how to identify babies.
Now, you present him a baby.
He'll be able to tell you whether or not it is a baby or not a baby.
So what we're hoping is that when Baby Keen before Baby Keen steps out onto the stage,
we're hoping to have Lord Taco's head on the screen saying, yes, it is or is not a baby.
Can we make it happen?
That look on your face says I can tell you're impressed.
Send me some images, we'll see what we can do.
Okay, here's the thumbs up.
Brian was like, this is for real?
I just spent an hour with this schmuck.
I booked the festival lineup.
I booked the festival lineup and now they're asking me about babies.
Now he's doing what?
That's all I got.
Thank you, Brian.
Appreciate your support, guys.
We really appreciate it and thanks for everything you guys do for Bonnaroo.
Yeah, it's a great day and we're really excited to get this thing out there.
I hope everybody's happy.
We love it.
We love it so much.
We love this festival.
We love this lifestyle.
We love everything that the festival stands for and we're glad that you guys still to
this day put so much time and care and consideration into it no matter what your musical tastes
are, no matter what lineup does it for you or doesn't do it for you.
As Ken Weinstein said, and we will forever be indebted to him for it, it's never not
And your musical tastes, it's never not great and you're a big part of it.
So thank you for spending some time with us today, Brian.
Appreciate it, guys.
Thanks for having me on.
Thanks for your time, man.
Thanks for your time.
Yeah, I got to get in on that merchandise, my man.
That is good looking.
What do you think, Ben?
That's good looking.
I mean, what do you think?
That's crazy, right?
What, the merch or the...
No, just everything.
How it works.
I mean, this is...
Yeah, I mean, you know, it's crazy how cool under pressure somebody like that has to
be and just how kind of constantly confident in what they're doing.
He seems and he...
Especially when you have criticism from literally every corner of a musical planet.
Let me put it this way.
I mean, I've been doing this job 35 years.
Everybody thinks they know how to put together a festival.
Everybody thinks, here's my list.
Just book these bands.
Yeah, look at my Spotify.
Yeah, here's my five.
Here's my three.
And this is it.
And they don't understand the complications and everything else.
And so I think they do a great job.
And for him to come on and talk to us about it is amazing.
So that's really cool.
This is an aside, Russ, do we have anybody in the waiting room?
Because we had some guests that might or may not have been going to stop by.
Actually, we do.
Surprise me on this one because...
You're not going to be surprised.
There he is.
There he is.
May I introduce YouTube, the fine world of YouTube and the worldwide interwebs to the
Mr. Positivity, the shining light on the hill, Mr. Brian Stone, a member of Camp Nutbutter,
how are you, sir?
Been to every festival.
Hopefully you can hear me at least somewhat.
You sound great.
What do you think?
So, Brian, what did you think of the festival?
What did you think of the lineup this year?
What was your initial impressions?
I think it's really, really good.
I mean, the first, I think it's layered really, really well.
All I can do is talk into this thing.
No, what are you excited about, man?
I can't figure out what's going on in this room right now is what I can't figure out.
Yeah, it's not like you're going to be able to talk to me.
I'm going to be able to talk to you.
I can't figure out what's going on in this room right now is what I can't figure out.
That's sort of what we like.
That's how we want it.
So who did you like on the line of us?
So your first impression.
The Foo Fighters absolutely want to see you on the farm.
I've always wanted to.
My morning jackets, for all the reasons we already know, is going to be fun.
There's nothing that jumps way off the page.
It's just layered really well.
And for me, I'm usually to get there early and and leave early.
Set up this is back to Saturday and Sunday for me.
So this is get there whenever the hell I feel like it and then leave on Monday.
It's probably how that's going to work.
Sunday, Saturday, Sunday are fantastic.
Are you a Foo Fighters fan, though?
I don't think I never don't think I knew that about you.
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
I mean, OK, yes, too.
There I mean, I love them, but they're great.
It's I never want to hear again.
It's that kind of band.
So I don't see them a lot because it's kind of the same thing a lot of times.
But I think they do something pretty exciting for far.
Yeah. And I think that we're going to like we mentioned it this morning, Barry.
But I think that of all the bands that we were talking about for Bonner this year,
the Foo Fighters seem to be the one that we're all skipping over.
And I don't really want to lose this perspective.
This show is going to be endless.
It is going to be four or five hours and you don't know who is going to show up.
And I just have this sneaking suspicion it's going to be a it's going to be one of those that,
you know, Ben's writing about the next day is like this is the show you have to be at.
I want to ask the minute after I want to ask Ben and Brian, because I you said that this is the band
we're skipping over.
And I understand what you're saying, because I've been doing it, too.
But to me, this is the band that's the glue.
This is the band that that holds this line up.
It moves it above.
I think it's a really solid lineup.
But the Foo Fighters are the ones that sort of put it even though they're on everybody else's lineup,
But this was the one that seems to sort of that's the not miss.
Right. Well, hang on a second.
Before you say that, remind me when the Foo Fighters were in twenty twenty one, were they on Friday or Sunday?
Because there's something specific.
OK, there's two things specifically about the Foo Fighters show that I can't seem to shake.
And this is just not even as a huge Foo Fighters fan, but one they are playing the final set of the weekend.
The final set.
Yeah, and it's a Bonnaroo, which we all know shows are just different.
My thing is, if it was a Friday night show, it would just be another Foo Fighters, a great Foo Fighters show.
The fact that it's a Sunday show means that the possibilities of this could be absolutely endless.
Yeah, I'm with you on that.
The idea that for me, Barry, the thing that I think helps them be that glue is in talking about how this is like a really classically constructed Bonnaroo lineup.
They do in a unique way occupy the legacy and the rock headliner kind of statue all in one band.
I'm glad you said that, because that was actually one of the questions was, where is the legacy classic rock band?
And I think that's Foo Fighters.
Yeah, Foo Fighters. We're all older now, folks.
Foo Fighters is the legacy band.
You know, it's not it's not Bruce Springsteen.
It's not Billy Joel. It's not Stevie Nicks.
It's a different tier of legacy, but especially at this point in their career and considering everything that's happened, I don't think there anything else beyond like it.
I mean, they also are one of the greatest rock bands.
Yeah, we've made the point that Dave Grohl is probably the coolest guy representing rock and roll these days.
Right. I mean, since Tom Petty died and you know, I mean, who else is doing it?
Right. Had a chance to interview him around the that the horror movie that did CDS six six six.
And he's he's exactly who you want him to be.
And that just makes him the perfect kind of representative for rock music right now.
And yeah, that's what I know. I know he gets a it's a bum rap, but like Jack White and Dave Grohl, those are our ambassadors of the genre right now.
You know, those are the guys that are carrying the torch of rock music like them or dislike them.
There are most accessible. Well, not Jack White, but but Dave Grohl is our most accessible guy.
Right. He's the one that we put out there every time we need rock guy to show up.
You know, he gets the Beatles. Yeah, he gets the Beatles. He gets Jack White.
I mean, he's the link. That's the that's the thing, you know, and to what Brad's saying about him being about Foo Fighters being that Sunday night closer.
Given everything that's going on at the band and giving who Dave is, yeah, that really sets that show up to be something truly unique.
Even in a season where they seem to be headlining everywhere.
There's there's potential here for this to be something like it's going to be an emotional set anyway, just because they're performing without Taylor.
But whoever they get to sit in there and whatever that ends up being, it's going to be an emotional set.
And then you cap this festival off with that. Yeah, it's going to be a knock. I agree.
So the other thing I wanted to mention, and I know that Brian is not going to and I understand why, but I am putting all the money I have.
And this is not something that I know because of a source or whatever.
But I'm it's just informed speculation. I am putting all the money I have on my morning jacket being on the wet stage at about 12 o'clock and lasting till two thirty three o'clock.
That is I think that's as sure of a bet as possible. I don't think they're on the witch stage anymore.
I don't think they're doing that. I think they're on the main stage late at night and it's going to be up against all of those late night bands that you're going to have to say no to because the conflicts.
It's going to be my morning jacket or everyone else. Yeah, I mean, I'm going to jacket or those guys.
They're going to be occupying. I was going to say, we're going to discuss corn here when we're going to talk about it.
I didn't know you were a big corn guy. So take the floor is yours, Captain. Oh, I'm not. But I mean, I grew up with them and a bunch of friends that loved them.
I've seen them once before. Twenty five years ago. I just think it's going to be a fascinating set.
I mean, they've got five or six songs that are pretty good and pretty recognizable and they're pretty rock.
At least they used to be a pretty rock band. So I'd love to see how that works out.
And then also the Pixies. I mean, just for their purposes, you know, I've never seen Pixies.
I don't know if it's a full band. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it's not. But either way, that's just a chaos mess for me.
Well, let me ask you, because I heard you comment earlier a couple of days ago, Brian, that this, you know, line up, you were going to go because you've been every year.
And so if for no other reason, you were going to keep the streak going and you weren't sure what the line up might look like, that would draw you back.
Is this a line that will draw you back? The answer is yes.
And I think what you were referring to is what I think I would say my excitement level is just down.
And I think that's just because I'm middle aged. Your excitement level is down about everything.
When has it ever been up? Today changed that a little bit.
I've got my board highlighted and, you know, going through it and doing all the stuff I used to do.
It wasn't like Christmas Eve last night like it used to be. This kind of brought it back out of me.
So I'm most of the day thinking about it. That's my question. Good.
Guys, thank you so much. It's been a fantastic day, a fun day. This is great. This is really great.