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Bonnaroo Promoter Explains Kanye West Booking: 'Everyone Has Moved On'

Rapper will return to Tennessee festival for first time since disastrous 2008 performance

February 20, 2014 2:10 PM ET
Kanye West
Kanye West
Larry Busacca/Getty Images for MTV

When Bonnaroo organizers announced the lineup for this year's festival, one name was the clear, surprising standout: Kanye West.

In 2008, the rapper walked onstage at 4:45 a.m., delivered an underwhelming set and then, nine days later, slammed festival organizers on his blog for giving him a daytime slot that ran counter to his Glow in the Dark Tour stage set-up.

But that's all, apparently, in the past. In a new interview with Relix, Bonnaroo promoter Rick Farman explained why they tapped the rapper to headline this year's festival. "Everyone has moved on – it's in the past," Farman said. "We're happy he wants to come back to Bonnaroo and is embracing this. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to look forward, and we think it’s a great opportunity for the Bonnaroo community to show what it's made of."

Find Out Where Kanye West's 'Yeezus' Ranked on Our List of 2013's 50 Best Albums

Farman also cited the most obvious reason for bringing the rapper back: his music. Farman called West "one of the most prolific and groundbreaking artists of this generation," adding, "He takes a lot of chances and he's adventurous with the live space. All those things are what Bonnaroo performers are about. That's why we booked him [in 2008]."

Six years ago, West had some choice, caps-locked words for Farman and the other Bonnaroo promoters, writing, "WE WERE OBVIOUSLY DEALING WITH FUCKING IDIOTS WHO DIDN’T REALLY HAVE THE CAPACITY TO REALLY PUT ON THIS SHOW PROPERLY… THEY TRIED 2 GIVE ME A TIME SLOT WHERE IT WAS STILL LIGHT OUTSIDE … I HAVE A FUCKING LIGHT SHOW DUMB ASS, IT’S NOT CALLED GLOW IN THE DARK FOR NO REASON SQUID BRAINS!"

Kanye West's 15 Best Quotes of 2013

With the critical success of West's most recent album Yeezus and its accompanying out of control live show, it's no surprise Bonnaroo was eyeing the rapper once again. West will headline the Tennessee festival alongside Elton John, Jack White, Lionel Richie and Vampire Weekend; other performers include the Flaming Lips, Neutral Milk Hotel, Skrillex, Phoenix, Frank Ocean, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Ice Cube, Cage the Elephant, Disclosure, Danny Brown, Bobby Womack and many more. Bonnaroo will take place June 12th through the 15th in Manchester, Tennessee.

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