Dead, Panic to Play Bonnaroo

Second-annual Tennessee festival slated for June

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The former members of the Grateful Dead and Widespread Panic will headline the 2003 Bonnaroo Music Festival, which returns to a 600-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee, June 13-15.

Bob Weir and Phil Lesh will team up again under the recently revealed moniker "The Dead," which includes Grateful Dead drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann with guitarist Jimmy Herring and keyboardists Jeff Chimenti and Rob Barraco.

Widespread Panic will feature George McConnell on guitar this year. The band's Bonnaroo 2002 performances were among its last with founding guitarist Michael Houser, who passed away last August.

Others returning to Bonnaroo include singer-songwriter Ben Harper, who will be joined by his Innocent Criminals, and banjoist Bela Fleck, who brings his Flecktones. Gov't Mule frontman Warren Haynes, on the other hand, plans to strip down to just his acoustic guitar.

First timers will include anti-jam experimentalists Sonic Youth, indie instrumentalists Tortoise, Southern rock mainstays the Allman Brothers Band, master turntablist Mix Master Mike, and hip-hop collective the Roots. Smaller acts will include the bluegrassy Yonder Mountain String Band, ambient "livetronica" outfit Sound Tribe Sector 9 and the jazzy Garage-a-Trois.

"Our goal is not only to present the best established live performers, but also to be a springboard for the next generation of great artists to reach a national audience," explains Rick Farman, co-founder of organizers Superfly Presents.

Tickets will go on sale at bonnaroo.com on Saturday, February 22nd, but prices and limits are still unknown. Organizers are expected to announce additional acts and festival activities within weeks.

"The process of seeing everything unfold has given us invaluable experience and insight on how to run every aspect of the festival better," says Superfly's Rich Goodstone, adding that his organization is "focused on improving and enhancing everyone's experience . . . artists, staff, sponsors, and of course the fans."

Confirmed Bonnaroo 2003 artists:

The Dead
Widespread Panic
James Brown
The Allman Brothers Band
Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals
Jack Johnson
Sonic Youth
Tortoise
Moe
Galactic
The Roots
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
Medeski Martin and Wood
Yonder Mountain String Band
Robert Randolph and the Family Band
Nickel Creek
G. Love and Special Sauce
Sound Tribe Sector 9
O.A.R.
North Mississippi Allstars
Warren Haynes
Keller Williams
Garage A Trois
Kid Koala
Z-Trip
Particle
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra
Smokey and Miho
The New Deal
RJD2
The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players
Mix Master Mike