Ranking Bonnaroo’s 2016 Lineup By Category



The Bonnaroo lineup dropped this week and the lineup is stacked from top to bottom. Taking place this year from June 9th to June 12th, fans will see some awesome sets for The Farm’s 15th anniversary! Performing this year will be Pearl Jam, LCD Soundsystem, Dead & Company (John Mayer and The Grateful Dead), Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, J. Cole, Ellie Goulding, Halsey, Tame Impala, HAIM, Judd Apatow, Miguel, Tyler The Creator and many many more. As we did with Coachella’s 2016 lineup, we had to break down Bonnaroo’s new lineup, again by category.

Check out our complete ranking of Bonnaroo’s 2016 lineup by category, below!


Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Artists: Dead & Company, Pearl Jam, LCD Soundsystem, J. Cole, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Grade: ★★★★☆

Pros: Matches Coachella with LCD Soundsystem, but one ups Calvin Harris and Guns N Roses with Pearl Jam and Dead & Company; Hip-Hop Headliner presence

Cons: Our fingers were crossed for Justin Timberlake

There really isn’t anything to critique about Bonnaroo’s list of headliners. With two sets from Dead & Company, an appearance by LCD Soundsystem, a headlining set from Pearl Jam, and an actual presence by big names in rap (J. Cole and Macklemore), Bonnaroo has something for everyone in its headliners. Sure, there are acts that we would add if we could (Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, Lana Del Rey, Frank Ocean), but you can say that with any festival lineup.


Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Artists: J. Cole, Macklemore, Tyler The Creator, Big Grams, Vince Staples, Post Malone, GoldLink

Grade: ★★★★☆

Pros: Two huge names within the rap world

Cons: Could definitely use a bigger number of rappers total for the 4-day festival

While rap doesn’t have a huge presence at Bonnaroo this year, it is a step up from Coachella (thus the 4-stars for a B- rap lineup). J. Cole alone is reason for a couple stars. While the rapper isn’t known for performing major music festivals, you can definitely expect something great for his Bonnaroo performance and hopefully new music as well. And while Macklemore is as much of a pop artist as a rapper, adding such a big name to their lineup is a huge score for Bonnaroo as well (despite his haters). Beyond Mac and Cole, there is still a lot of talent with Odd Future’s Tyler the Creator, Vince Staples and more.

Emerging Artists

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Artists: Halsey, Leon Bridges, Sam Hunt, GoldLink

Grade: ★★★☆☆

Pros: A great variety of emerging artists

Cons: Not a ton of big name emerging acts

You can’t have a major music festival without a large number of emerging acts. In most cases, if the font size of their name on the lineup poster is hard to read, they are probably an emerging act. However, when compared to other 2016 festivals, and their own lineup last year, Bonnaroo does not have a huge number of big name emerging artists. That’s not to say that someone playing a 25 minute time slot in the afternoon this year, won’t end up being the next big thing, because you never really know (and those recruiting talent at Bonnaroo definitely know what they’re doing). Having said that though, there are definitely some talented emerging artists from all different genres that we can’t wait to see, mainly Halsey, Leon Bridges, Sam Hunt and GoldLink.


Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Artists: LCD Soundsystem, The Chainsmokers, Flosstradamus, Griz and more

Grade: ★★★☆☆

Pros: A slight step back in booking EDM acts

Cons: “A slight step back in booking EDM acts”

EDM has dominated music festivals in the past few years and it seems to keep getting bigger and bigger. This year, Coachella booked nearly every EDM superstar imaginable, which definitely foreshadowed festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza to do the same. However, when compared to Coachella and when compared to the trend of music festivals in the past couple years, it wouldn’t be crazy to expect that The Farm would be dominated by EDM. However, this year has a surprisingly modest lineup of EDM artists, which is bad or good, depending on who you ask. Many people just want to get fucked up and dance at music festivals, but some people want the contrasting feel of a live band and talented singers. So depending on the type of listener you are, you may love or hate The Farm’s EDM presence. But don’t worry, if you love dance music, you will still find it at Bonnaroo this year as the festival still has booked a number of awesome EDM acts including The Chainsmokers, Griz, Flosstradamus and of course LCD Soundsystem.

Female Artists

Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Artists: Ellie Goulding, HAIM, Halsey, CHVRCHES, Grace Potter

Grade: ★★★☆☆

Pros: A great presence of female artists

Cons: Maybe another big name or two would make it perfect

One major flaw in a lot of music festivals in year’s past was not enough of a female presence in their lineups. Music today has a ton of huge female artists, in fact, a lot of the biggest artists in the world right now are women. Bonnaroo this year definitely continued to take a step in the right direction by booking a lot of girl power. With sets from Ellie Goulding, HAIM, Grace Potter and more, there are some kick ass female artists at The Farm this year. If we were to critique things at all, maybe another big name or two?


Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Artists: Judd Apatow, Superjam, Bluegrass

Grade: ★★★★★

Pros: Judd Fucking Apatow

Cons: None

One thing that makes Bonnaroo unique is simply it’s overwhelming efforts to make itself unique, and they knock things out of the park year after year. With their fan favorite Superjams, which we can only hope is led by John Mayer this year (and it probably will be), with their huge comedy tent (which this year invited the biggest name in comedy, Judd Apatow), and everything else from Ed Helm’s Bluegrass Situation Superjam to film screenings, Bonnaroo is truly unique. If you can’t pick between the lineups of Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and The Governors Ball, give the tie breaker to The Farm because it’s all the X-factors that the festival provides that makes it so special.


Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration
Photo by Dan Garcia/The Early Registration

Grade: ★★★★☆

Pros: Awesome headliners and the return of all the things that make Bonnaroo great

Cons: A few more additions here and there could make this year’s festival perfect

Overall The Farm has delivered once again, and this time for its huge 15th anniversary. Mixing some big names in rap with huge collaborative groups like Dead & Company, then adding in some awesome emerging artists and even a comedy legend like Judd Apatow, Manchester, TN will have something for everyone in 2016. So as soon as tickets go on sale on January 22nd, make sure you get them before they are all gone!



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