After much angst and hand-wringing from Bonnaroo fans like Brad, Barry, and Taco of The What podcast, the festival released an announcement regarding their COVID-19 safety protocols. They also let us know when they will release the schedule, and the guys all agree the announcement is worth the wait.
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We've been waiting and waiting and waiting and today it happened. COVID restrictions, a schedule release date. It's all happening so fast and it could change any minute. The Bonnaroo COVID restrictions are out. The lineup is coming in days. Barry Courter, Brad Steiner, Lord Taco, gonna dissect it all on an emergency edition of the What Podcast. It starts right now. Don't worry about what happens next. An emergency edition of the What Podcast, which bands this year that matter. Barry Courter, Lord Taco, Brad Steiner on a very, very action packed afternoon. Guys, your initial thoughts, feelings about the news that came out today that Brad Steiner's hair looks amazing. I was waiting. It finally came in my email. About my hair? Yeah, I've been locked in on Reddit and InfoRoo and everything. How does Brad's hair look today? And finally, finally it came. So what do you give it? One out of 10 berries. It's pretty strong today. I'm going to go with an eight and a half. Thanks guys. I like to leave a little room for more. I think it's got to be 10 berries. Ten big berries. That's all the berries I got. Ten big ones. I love it. A lot of berries. A lot of berries. So let's start with the news that we've been waiting on. And the reason why we are doing an emergency edition of the show is because the show that we did on Sunday makes no sense anymore. The other two emergency episodes no longer hold true. I just want everybody to know this is the third show we've done this week. The third show we've done this week because so many things have been, I guess, shape shifting in the wind. Let's start with the thing that we've been waiting for for feels like weeks and weeks and weeks. The protocols that Bonaroo put in, which to me, my first pass on it, they hit a home run. They went above and beyond what Lollapalooza did. Barry, why don't you go through some of the top line pieces of information here? Yeah, you're going to have to, let's see, you're going to have to have a health pledge. Fourteen days before attending the festival, you've tested positive. I'm reading from an email. Is that what you're reading from? What is a health pledge? That's something they've enacted. This is that everyone, I guess, will be raising three fingers and putting them over your heart. Like the Boy Scouts? Like the Boy Scouts and making this promise. Yeah, they've got health pledge, health verification. If you're not vaccinated, they spray you down with pledge. That's the health pledge. At least it's going to smell better than. Lemony fresh. I like it. I mean, basically, you're going to have to have been vaccinated. If you haven't gotten all of your vaccines or shots, you're going to have to come with a test showing negative. And there's some timing things for that. But three days before entering Centauru, we'll have to figure out how they're going to do all that. And unvaccinated people will have to wear a mask at all times on the farm. That's kind of new. You're going to have to wear a mask inside facilities like some of the barns and things like that, whether vaccinated or not. Right. That's great. So, yeah, it's pretty extensive. First blush, a lot that I'm reading from people today when it came out was very positive. I'm glad to see it. Glad to see it finally here. And like you said, glad to see the how extensive it is. It's making people feel a little bit better. Do you feel better? I feel better. Yeah, I still. Or do you feel better? Would you have felt better if they said anything? You mean like, yeah, no, I'm wondering if you feel better because they said something at all or do you feel better because they said this? Both. OK. Yeah, definitely. And we knew. I mean, I think we even said in either our first or second emergency recording of this week that we felt like the reason we weren't hearing anything is they were trying to figure all this out. And I still feel like that. And I feel like they came pretty strong with this announcement, which would further prove that they've been hunkered down trying to figure out exactly what they wanted to do. I think the part that the only part that I would add that you missed was the part where if you forgot to test, you lost your Vax card or you're outside of the 72 hour window, which was the thing that I was most worried about. And they seem to have figured that part out. And that was the seven or the the you go to the Plaza Medical tent and for forty dollars, you can get a rapid test. Right. Now, if you fail the rapid test, they do it again. Right. So you get a second test for free and then if you fail that, well, your SOL, it feels like your SOL because you got to exit immediately. You're off the site. And I don't know if you get a third shot at it. Well, you get a pre printed card with instructions on how to request a refund for your ticket. Oh, I didn't know that. Yeah. Yeah. Refund. OK. So, you know, they've considered that at least. And I think the only way to go is they're going to be, you know, the great quarantine field out there. I don't know. Yeah. By the way, I just as an aside on this forty dollar test, you know, I was told that these things are twelve dollars a piece. So are they making a dime off of these tests? Yeah. Yeah. It sounds like some markup. Sounds like a tad bit of markup. Don't you guys think? Yeah. I don't know why. I mean, I don't know if they're considering the staffing. Somebody probably got to be there to administer it. So maybe that. True. And do we have clarification on when you're actually going to be presenting these items? Is this when you walk into the gate or when you get to camp? For patrons not fully vaccinated, a negative covid-19 test result must be obtained within 72 hours, three days of first entering center. So you could come to Bonnaroo and just never leave camp and then you're never you never pass one of these checkpoints if you don't go to center room. It's very true. I mean, if you show up and you are a plausible covid spreader, you could show up and never really have to walk into center room and never have to show your Vax card. Now, wait a minute. Aren't there checkpoints at the plaza? The structures there. If you want to go into a plaza, don't you have to show one of these things? I don't know. Good question. It's a great question. Are you asking that rhetorically or is that actually something that we don't know? I thought I read that, but now I'm not sure. So I was asking if y'all were aware because the thing is you get a wristband, you get a health check wristband when you either give your Vax card or your test. And then I think that wristband is needed to get into any sort of Bonnaroo related place. That's right. Yeah, there you go. You get a valid ID, hours to any campground medical tent and receive a health check wristband. The health check wristband will allow entry into center room along with your festival wristband for the duration of the festival. That doesn't say anything about the plazas. It doesn't say. I'm going to bet when you're going in, they're going to. Yeah. I mean, look, although I although that you're right, Taco, you know, the amount of people we're talking about probably are in the, you know, half a dozen to a dozen. Oh, of course. I would love to meet the person who goes to Bonnaroo and never walks into Bonnaroo. I mean, unfortunately, three of those people camp with us. So yeah, there's not that many of them. Yeah, the other three may or may not be out in the plazas. All right. So the other thing that came through the other day was look, I'm not going to make any I'm not going to run away from this. I just don't think the best sources of information when it comes to inside information about Bonnaroo or festivals is a cloaked Twitter page. But there is one person in particular that always comes through with really, really solid information that always bears to be true. Infinity Pass popped up onto InfoRoo a couple of days ago and said that they think I think they're going to do covid vaccine requirements, negative test requirements, and they will lose a headliner. I think now every time I've gone into a conversation about this. It has been a complete dead end. So I don't know a single thing about this. I don't know who it could be, who they might be talking about. But I do know this person's never necessarily ever been wrong. Now there was a caveat said, I think. So take that with what you want. But I just don't have any reason to not believe this person. It also depends on your definition of headliner. Sure. I think that when this person is always using Infinity Pass, I don't know if it's a he or she, by the way. I keep saying she. So I believe it's a she. I believe you are right about that. So anytime that she's ever used the word headliner before, she's always talked about the top three. So when she's releasing headliner names months in advance of a lineup drop, it's always been the top three or four. So you know, I don't think we're talking about Rufus de Sol or I don't think we're talking about the second line of days. But maybe I'm wrong. Who knows? I just don't know what to think about this. I ran into a dead end on Taiman Pala. I have no information about Lizzo. I have no clue about the Foo Fighters. I can't imagine the Foo Fighters doing Lollapalooza and turning around doing Botter Rock and Bonnaroo and just, eh, now we're going to skip Bonnaroo. I just I don't know what to make of it. I really don't. You guys? No, I don't know. I, you know, we'll know Thursday. Yeah, it's really it's a two parter because one, we're apparently going to lose a headliner. But the second part is who are they going to get to replace? And is that replacement, you know, on the same on the same level as who we're losing? Yeah, well, that's always a subjective. It's always subjective. And what I will always say, and we mentioned this in the in the Hidden Show, the secret show that will never be aired. But there was a time when we were told a story about Mumford and Sons canceling at the last minute. And Barry, why did Jack Johnson become the person that filled in for Mumford and Sons? Because he answered the phone. Because he answered the phone. Yeah. So when it comes to picking replacements, if you ever do get a replacement, I say lower your expectations to the easiest possible person you can find. Well, I mean, let's be fair. We make light of that because it's funny. I mean, he was a great replacement. People liked it. And he you know, he did more than just show up and, you know, fill a time slot. But the reality was they knew he would answer the phone and he was gettable. So yes, and he was by himself. He didn't need a band and he showed up without his shirt and shoes. Ready to play as if he had just come off of a surfboard. Yeah. Show me where to go. Yeah. So yeah, I mean, that's that's, you know, again, we make light of it. It's so often ends up being a buddy's friend or somebody who owes them a favor or somebody who's really easily accessible. Or can do it. Yeah. Somebody can do it. Yes. I just don't think that, you know, if a replacement first off, if a headliner is lost and then be if a headliner is replaced, these are two major caveats here. Yeah. And then C, I would say, what is the path of least resistance? I don't think that the path of least resistance is Drake. It's not going to be the Rolling Stones. Most likely not VTool. You know, we did we asked Brian and Steve that question when when we were in Knoxville talking about how they booked the lineup, you know, do they keep people in their back pocket, so to speak, and and to what we've already said, that's not practical. I mean, who who do you put on hold? You know, there's not like you're next in line, you know. Yeah, yeah, I love that. I love that date open. I love that. I love the idea of just Lady Gaga keeping that date open on the off chance that somebody calls. Exactly. Could be any one of the three dates. Keep the whole weekend open like a like waiting for a girl. A girl to call, you know, it's just she's going to she's going to call me at some point. I just know it. I'm going to be ready for it. Yeah. If I called you and ask you out, would you go check one? You know, yeah, that's not how that works. So again, I just don't know if I just don't know what to believe on that. I think that the easiest thing in the world to do is just move somebody up. It's a sold out festival, man. You know, it's a crazy time. Yeah. I mean, who could how can you be mad? If it's your favorite band, obviously, you're going to be mad. But we're three and a half weeks away. Right. So OK, let's play this out. You lose the Foo Fighters. Are you not going? Right. Well, right. Or anybody. I mean, I know it's suck. I know it really hurt, but I just I don't know if an overwhelming amount of people would say I'm not going to go and I'm going to forfeit my ticket or try to sell it on the open market. By the way, the open market, those tickets aren't selling that well to begin with. So you know, good luck. I just don't know. I don't know if I don't know if you lose too many people just because you lose Megan the stallion. Yeah, I don't know. Like I said, I think we'll know Thursday. To me, the news, I mean, Friday was crazy because we you know, we got news about Moon River and rail birds adding this protocol. Wondered why Bonnaroo wasn't saying anything. Sunday got word that Jazz Fest was canceling Bonnaroo still not saying anything. Yesterday the social media was pretty unkind to Bonnaroo and their lack of communication. And then this came today. And I mean, you guys tell me if you saw it differently. But everything I saw was this was really well done. And I think it the second point is it it proved what we all thought was they've got a lot to try to figure out and they're doing it. And this looks like they did it as best as they could do it. Yeah, I think that there is a time and a place for honest and real criticism. I think there are there are obstacles that they have to jump and we're not going to know everything and they're not going to tell us everything when we want to know it. And that's obvious and that's totally acceptable. But there is times where people who really care about this can offer honest criticism, offer honest experiences that they're feeling and things that they're struggling with, especially when it comes to communicative nature of some of this. At the same time, I think days like today, they need to be celebrated for doing something really, really well. I think that this this was this was a home run, in my opinion, for them. So they should be celebrated for it. I think that the thing that we love about Bonnaroo so much is that it always ends up just going a little bit extra, just taking that extra step, maybe that extra mile to make things feel a little bit more like home. And they did that. I feel like they did that. And they dropped the news about the schedule all in the same same message. So although the criticism is still real and it still mattered and I still think it was valid for the last, you know, four to six weeks, I do also at the same time think that they should be celebrated and shouted how well they did this today. Yeah, I felt like even even you and I and Russ, I, TACO, I think our tone, I know mine did. I mean, I think we were pretty critical a couple, three, four weeks ago for it taking so long and wondering, will it happen? And, you know, why is it taking so long and speculating and all of that? And that's one of the reasons. Yeah, we had to throw out the episode recorded Sunday, right? Because it's it's completely tone deaf and do away now that now that this has happened. But I think having seen Lollapalooza as you did, Brad, and getting these other messages and then seeing this list, it just proved like what we thought of late, which was they are really focused in on it and trying to figure it out. And I think that your timeline was actually really important. It's probably the way that we probably should have started the show today. But from where we were this time last week to where we are today, it does feel like a massive weight off of, you know, the collective shoulders of anybody that's trying to go to Bonnaroo. You know, you mentioned Friday. Friday was a almost like a blitzkrieg of information. I was getting three different messages at a time from people inside Live Nation saying that Live Nation was going to go, you know, Vax on. Yeah, I forgot about that leg of the table. Yeah. And then you've got them then also double downing on that, doubling down, so double downing, doubling down on that, saying that then if that wasn't good enough for the artist, then the artist could go even further in their place of business. Then you know, you've got the social media reaction of Bonnaroo just being totally silent. You've got AC or AC Live Nation Festival after Live Nation Festival adopting the same policies as their venues. This became a runaway train, one of which Bonnaroo seemed to from the outside just be watching go right by. And for us, we have said it on Twitter and, you know, we've said it on this show. You've got people coming from a very great distance trying to figure out this trip for themselves in a matter of three weeks. And you're cutting it awfully, awfully close for them. You know, if you haven't gotten a vaccine now, you better invest in Johnson & Johnson or maybe I think that you could probably get a Pfizer now since it's a 21 day window. Maybe you can get that second one. All I'll say about that second Pfizer vaccine, don't make that second Pfizer shot be the day you travel or the day you get to Bonnaroo because you're going to be down for 24 hours no matter what. And you're probably down 24 hours to the Johnson & Johnson too. So again, there's just so much for people who don't live within the direct hour, hour and a half of Bonnaroo to consider and think about. And I just don't know if they did those people a lot of favors waiting this long, but it's out and we finally know it. And now we can get on with it, as you say. Yeah, yeah. Now we know. And it feels and any people like us who is it a go, no go kind of thing. Sure feels like it's a go. So start making your plans. And back to your point, I actually had a lunch meeting today with a couple of people, one guy in particular who's never been and wanted to get the how to's and all that. And that's one of the things I said to him is every year we always fear that they've changed things for the worse and we always get there and it seems to be for the better even for us. But also we have to remind ourselves we've gone every year, so we nitpick it to death. 60 percent or so of the people, it's their first time, they will have no idea that this used to be there or that used to be over there or any of that stuff. Well, with that being said, do you think that any of these things are going to keep people from coming? Do you think that we're going to have a deflated amount of human beings on the farm? Yeah, you know, when you were talking about the timing in the second, I was thinking, I can't imagine anybody sitting out there thinking, I really don't want to get this. I'm not going to get this shot. But if they make me, I will. I just I think most people, if they were playing on going, I would like to think they got the shot already. Now, I have seen some people on on one of the social media that, you know, I think she'd bring in a daughter or something that's only gotten the one shot and the timing is not going to be right. Even she said, OK, so I just have to get a negative test and she'll be fine. So, you know, that's that's the part B that, you know, also, though, we've mentioned this before and I don't mean to, you know, dog on any other festival. But the culture that Bonnaroo has, it just doesn't seem like a lot. There are too many people inside that Bonnaroo world that would want to test this or want to poke the fire or, you know, be that guy that shows up with a fake covid card. Yeah, it's not the it's not the radiate positivity vibe. Yeah, I mean, the whole thing. Right. We care about each other and that's the whole idea. Yeah. You're still going to be hugging and high fiving? No. OK, no. Well, this is something we said in the secret show. You know, maybe maybe we bring gloves this year. I know. I'm thinking oven mitts, man. I'm thinking oven mitts. Just a giant one. Yeah. Yeah. Are there big those big hula hoop things like the key people away? So the other part of the show that the second show that we did was about Jazz Fest and the Jazz Fest news that happened that was part of this timeline on Sunday, which made things so so iffy. And it really did feel as though it was going to go off the rails there on Monday when you know you get this Jazz Fest news on Sunday, then you get the Infinity Pass, you know, whatever that was overnight, Sunday night into Monday. And then you wake up Monday and you really feel like things are very, very iffy. So I want to back up to Sunday real quick. I got the news about Jazz Fest right after we finished recording the first show of the week. And we came back in, you know, I tweeted about it. I got two separate messages from production and security that said they're about to cancel this thing. Timeline is is unknown, but this thing is over. There were a lot of reasons why Jazz Fest canceled. And I and I need to implore COVID was just one of them. And don't think that they canceled this just because of COVID. They didn't. There are so many inner city politics going on with this festival. First off, a couple of things. AEG is the booking arm of Jazz Fest. So AEG is the one going out and getting most of the talent. The local talent is done by the Jazz and Heritage Festival. The Jazz and Heritage Festival are mostly an entity, all among amongst themselves. They also run the WWC radio station in New Orleans. They have more money than God. Now you can go look at their 501C3. You can go look at their tax returns. They have 40 million dollars in the bank. All right. So the reason why they needed to make the call Sunday was because checks were due on Monday not just to bands, but to vendors. They were making all of these plans across the city with with sponsor partners and they were putting them on the hook and they hadn't paid anybody yet. Well checks are coming due on Monday and to the tune of about a buck and a half, a million and a half dollars when it came to sponsors, when it came to artists and the down payments they needed to make. Well they could have made that and then spent the next month seeing what Delta was going to do and seeing if this thing was going to peter out at the vaccine rates went up, etc. They chose not to mainly because the city kept pushing back on Jazz Fest happening at the time. So the mayor who's been a thorn in the side to say it very gently to a lot of entities across the city. She's done a really good job when it comes to protecting the city in COVID after the initial explosion after Mardi Gras last year. But she has also made things very difficult and it's been very hard as a business owner and especially a lot if you're in the live music world. So she pushed back on Jazz Fest, have her happening to begin with. Jazz Fest said no, we're going to do it. So then the city pushed back and said, all right, we'll just do it a limited capacity and over one weekend. They said, no, we're going to add another date and we're going to put the Rolling Stones on it. And it became this tug of war to the point where the mayor and the city basically said, well, we're not going to pass your, we're not going to give you security. We're not going to give you permits and play chicken with us. And it became a, you know, became a game of chicken. And unfortunately, the clock ran out on Jazz and Heritage Fest Foundation to make the call. And so they made the call. And of course, they did it under the umbrella of COVID. Now it's a very worthwhile umbrella. It totally makes sense, but it wasn't just because of COVID. You know, you're going to see probably a French Quarter Fest. That's future tenuous. Bucou Fest, I don't think is long for this world. I think that's going to get canceled next couple of weeks. The other part of this that nobody will tell you, Jazz Fest second weekend was not selling well. Things were not moving very well at all for the second week in a Jazz Fest. Bucou is not selling very well. So, you know, if you get an off ramp, if the universe is giving you an off ramp, sometimes you take it. That's the way that I took the Jazz Fest information. And then by the time all of that was, I put all of that out there, boom, an hour and a half later, they pulled a plug on it and sent, you know, a pretty good commotion through the world, at least our part of the world. Let's be very, very clear. I don't think any of this specifically relates to Bonnaroo, but in general, these are the kinds of things and the decisions that these people have to make and they have to make them pretty quickly. So when we say, you know, two weeks ago we were clamoring for why has there not been an announcement? These are the kinds of conversations that are going on. And again, I want to point out that's not to say that any of those specifics are the same, but, you know, that's what you're talking about. Sure. And in the future, maybe somebody will start looking at a calendar wondering when Bonnaroo or Coachella or Lollapalooza's date where they have to start paying artists when that is. This is a little bit different because Live Nation has a lot of money in the bank and they can go into debt here and there around the edges. Although Jazz and Heritage Foundation has 40 million dollars in the bank, if they were to lose a million and a half, two dollars or two million dollars because they made a bad call on COVID, that's a lot of money. That's a lot of money for them to be on the hook for when they have to turn around and do this all again in three months. And the other big difference is, I mean, these types of things have always been a reality. There's always been, you know, to go back to one of our early shows a year ago, Force Majeure, but you just never had a worldwide pandemic that can actually shut everything down like twice, you know, or three times even. So it's a little bit more of a reality when you're sitting around that table than it probably was in the past. So I guess that's all I'm saying. I hear you. By the time you might be hearing this, we might have a lineup, I'm sorry, a schedule on Thursday, which will be a wonderful birthday present for Brad Guy. Happy birthday to me. Here's the Bonnaroo schedule. I'm very, very excited about that. That's the other reason they waited. I was going to hold that out till, you know, later to tell you happy birthday. Thanks, buddy. I really, really appreciate it. I had to pull some strings. Did you? Thanks, guys. I know that this is for the first time ever, this is a quick one. This is a short one. Yeah. Boy, I can't tell you some of the brilliance that you missed on the secret show where it was nothing but doom and gloom and pimping out teenage boys for hard work. I hate that you missed it. Yeah. I, we were both on our game, man. It was so good. Probably the best show ever and will never be heard. Well, the one piece of news that we got to in that show late into it was that coming up next week, not only do we dive into the schedule, but it will be the first of three, count them three episodes where you get our Bonnaroo picks and first up, a Mr. Lorataco. That's right. I think you're going to be surprised what I'm going to pick. The schedule is definitely going to help me pick. Well, I hope so. I hope you don't pick somebody that's not on the schedule. Well, yeah, we'll see. I'm picking Menudo. I did say this, Taco, that me and Barry would probably have a very hard time picking six bands that you'd want to see. Yeah. We felt comfortable with the first three. We did. But after that, we're not sure. Yeah. Yeah. You nailed some of them. Of course, you've known them, but it's going to be hard to narrow it down just to six, I think. But we're at the lineup and there's a lot more there than I thought I was interested in. I don't want you to worry about it all capping it at six. Don't worry about that. You pick as many as you want to pick. Oh, I am. I will. I just thought it was going to be hard for me personally to find six artists that I thought that would make you leave the bus. Right. Right. Right. Well, there's going to be conflicts and so there's going to be conflict resolution in part of that. Who do you pick? I'm going to go over this. So we'll see. I'm looking forward to it. That's the thinking stuff that I want to hear. Why you picked this one over that one. That's the good one. Right. Yeah. You're going to want me to justify why I'm picking band A over band B if they're in the same time slot. Yeah. And I can, spoiler alert for me, I can already tell you it's because it was closer. That's a major consideration. I'm penciling in a nap right here, so it depends on how long that goes. It was closer. I've never taken a nap at Bonnaroo, actually. I wonder if there's anything else we need to get to. I feel like there's something that we're missing. Am I missing anything before we get this out? Maybe just a caveat related to what we were just saying is that stuff is happening so fast. So, you know, not to I'm not making excuses for us, but you know, these are podcasts. They're not done live on the moment. So if if something major changes, we'll be on it as quickly as we can. Yeah. And by the way, just just don't expect a lineup show on Thursday or Friday. OK. So, I mean, it was all I could do to slide this one in. So we'll be back. We'll be back talking about the lineup. There's plenty of times to talk about the lineup and the schedule. Are we all in agreement on that? Do I have to? No, no, I agree. OK. You're right. OK. Well, for all our listeners who are part of our discord family, we'll be on there Thursday talking about it and everywhere else. So yeah, that's a good point. Plenty of chatter. It's a good point. And is there anything else that we missed from the secret show? I feel like there's other things that I well, we had a little bit of your recap from Lala, but that's all seems to be behind us. We have the live nation. I don't even remember Lala Palooza, to be honest with you. I don't remember it happening. Was I there? I don't. There's no proof. There's probably a puddle of vomit that's proof that you were there. In the hotel room in a bar. That's called Limp Bizkit. Unless somebody saw you at one of the bars, there's no proof. I had some really, really amazing dinners, guys. I mean, some top shelf eating culinary experiences, guys. It was really, really a solid showing. I think the only real disappointing, I think it was one of our secret shows, either the first or the second, where we talked about you asking the young kids on the street, you know, some question. And that I thought that was funny. I hate that we don't get that in there. Well, no, I don't think that we talked about that two weeks ago. Was that two weeks ago? Yeah, that's published. Yeah, it's all run together. OK, good. Well, then we're good. Because that was gold. So long as we still have the episode where you pimped out teenage boys. I think we're going to be OK. Taco, he is so mad about this. He is so he is flaming hot mad about this. Let it go. I can't believe I missed the teenage boys. I seriously, one of my favorite Twitter comments today was about exactly that. And the dot dot dot afterwards was, man, that sounds really strange out of context for the podcast. Yes, it does. You know what, it sounds strange in context. That's why I'm having trouble with it. All right. There you go. Quick one today. We'll be back next week with the lineup and tacos picks. So what podcast? Which bands you hear that matter? Talk to you next week. Love you.