Bonnaroo kind of blows my mind when it comes to what's on their schedule this weekend. In a modern climate where festivals seem to homogenize more and more with each passing year, Bonnaroo's lineup consistently presents an unchallenged uniqueness. At what other festival can you find Billy Joel, Robert Plant, D'Angelo, the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones Season 5—and a totally real place called Drug Alley?
Like many other festival goers, I enjoy an event that hits me from all sides. As much as I want to engross myself in the epic glory that My Morning Jacket will create, I similarly want to dance my ass off.
Sunday, 7:30PM, the Other Tent
Caribou's closing out the Other Tent on the last night of Bonnaroo. Do whatever you can to be there. Don't pretend like you care that he's conflicting with the Bluegrass Situation Superjam. You clicked on the "top dance floors" article (i.e. you're not going to be in the mood to see Ed Helms play banjo).
If Bonnaroo turns out to be a thunderstorm-soaked sludge-fest like Weather dot com says it might be, we should all be physical catastrophes by then. But that shouldn't matter. You can't go to a Caribou set and not have a good time. I'm pretty sure that if you've liked any genre of music ever, you'll at the very bare minimum casually enjoy it from the back of the tent muttering "nice" every couple of minutes while checking your cell phone for new text messages that aren't coming in. The rest of the tent will be losing its collective mind.
Saturday, 6PM, the Other Tent
I think one of the hardest things for an artist to pull off at a festival is to transform such a massive and over-stimulating environment into something smaller and more intimate. By virtue of his judiciously slow builds, untouchably eclectic taste, and entrenched foothold in UK Garage, Jamie xx builds narratives throughout his sets that are full engrossing and incredibly groovy.
His challenge will be pulling it off without the typical fallbacks that American DJs tend to fall back on in order to win over crowds—excessive arm waving and pumping, wild light shows, throwing cakes at people, and that siiiiiick drop, bro. (So sick!) It's not like he doesn't take left turns, though. He'll kick things up with some uptempo '90s UK hip hop that most (all?) of us haven't heard of if he has to.
If you're coming to get lost in the music and a little bit in yourself, get up close and personal for this set.
Saturday, 12:15AM, the Other Tent
I probably don't actually know how to dance to Flying Lotus. Watch the music video above for "Never Catch Me." Those kids dance infinitely better than I do. That's not in my wheelhouse. Regardless, I'll be there. He does dangerous things to speakers, and he has a mindfuck of a visual experience. I want to be a part of that.
Also, I think we're all really hoping Kendrick Lamar will make an appearance since he's playing earlier that night.
Friday, 12AM, That Tent
The best way I can describe Jungle is that they're fun and boring. They're fun in the sense that all of their songs have doubled melodic falsettos with a funky, midtempo center. They're boring in the sense that all of their songs have doubled melodic falsettos with a funky, mid-tempo center.
That's fine because it totally works for them, especially in the context of a festival. If you do one thing really well all of the time, then fuck it, right? Repetition can be your friend when you want to keep a crowd moving. Look how much fun everyone at Coachella is having up there.
Sunday, 6PM, This Tent
Rudimental is one of those U.K. acts that might be flying slightly under the radar stateside. But when you stumble into This Tent through the swampy early evening humidity on Sunday night, they might blindside you with several "holy shit" moments. This is the perfect high-octane, sweaty dance tent act.
The drum and bass collective has energy (and horns) in spades to go alongside infectious, celebratory melodies. As the festival inches towards its inevitable conclusion that night, this set will bring help things burn brightest before it all ends.
Sunday, 1:30AM, the Other Tent
This one is kind of a no-brainer for the simple fact that the thing has the words "dance party" in the title. Bonnaroo says this will be a "futuristic take on an old school dance party." Outside of that, I honestly have no idea what to expect from this because the group of artists is so diverse. But, I guess that's what makes Bonnaroo Bonnaroo, right?