A 60-mile stretch of interstate separates Nashville from Manchester, the rural Tennessee town known to most music fans as home of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. It’s no wonder, then, that more and more country artists have begun dotting Bonnaroo’s yearly lineups, turning a former jam-band festival into one of the most genre-spanning events in the Bible Belt.
This year’s lineup is no exception. Announced yesterday evening during an episode of Conan, the 2016 festival — held June 9th through 12th — will include headlining sets by Pearl Jam, LCD Soundsystem and Dead and Company, as well as smaller shows by more than 100 artists. Included in the list are Americana kingpin Jason Isbell, chart-topper Chris Stapleton, country-pop star Sam Hunt, Southern soul singer Anderson East, roots trio the Wood Brothers, bluegrass pickers Steep Canyon Rangers and heartland singer-songwriter John Moreland. Running the gamut from mainstream country to fringe-friendly folk, those artists are responsible for one of the most twang-heavy Bonnaroos ever.
No stranger to country music, Bonnaroo’s past lineups have included appearances by legends like Loretta Lynn, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. Meanwhile, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley and Zac Brown Band all performed sets during their less-famous days, while Kacey Musgraves, Sturgill Simpson and A Thousand Horses all appeared at Bonnaroo 2015.