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Desert Trip II: 13 Acts That May (or May Not) Perform

If “Oldchella” comes back this year, we’re guessing that Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Elton John and others might be on the bill

Desert Trip organizers have yet to announce whether or not the festival is going to return this fall, but considering that last year’s event grossed a staggering $160 million – a new industry world record – it seems like a safe bet. The main reason 150,000 tickets vanished within seconds last year is that Goldenvoice/AEG assembled six of the biggest names in rock (Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Neil Young, Roger Waters and Paul McCartney) for a once-in-a-lifetime show. They’d never appeared on a single bill before and likely never will again. Topping that lineup will be practically impossible, but that doesn’t mean the organizers won’t try. Here’s a look at 13 acts that are probably at least under consideration, if not actually under contract at this very moment. (A rep for Desert Trip told us they had “no info” about the status of Desert Trip II.)

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

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Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Why They’ll Play: Many were shocked that Springsteen wasn’t booked at the original Desert Trip, but he started a generation later than all the acts that played the fest last year. Bringing him in for the second incarnation seems like a no-brainer, and if it’s his only U.S. show this year with the E Street Band the faithful will pay any price to get in. And it’ll certainly not be cheap.

Why They Won’t Play: Bruce isn’t one to play big shows when he’s not in tour mode, and he also avoids events with high ticket prices and VIP sections. Unlike many of his peers, he doesn’t play private events for big bucks and he’s never licensed out his music for commercials. If he doesn’t play, it’ll only be because he refused to do it. For him to not even get the offer is unimaginable.


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Why They’ll Play: As a group that started in the 1980s they may be the new kids on this block, but they pack the same stadiums as the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Roger Waters. They’re hitting the road in a big way this year, even playing Bonnaroo. Capping it off with a triumphant set at Desert Trip may finally make everyone forget about the iTunes auto-download fiasco.

Why They Won’t Play: By the time Desert Trip comes around in October, U2 will be done looking backwards on the Joshua Tree tour and will have begun looking ahead to Songs of Experience and a new arena tour. Desert Trip is inherently a nostalgia show and they may not be thrilled for another show geared to their past. Also, Bonnaroo is a big exception. This is not a group that plays big festivals, no matter how much money they get offered.

The Police

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The Police

Why They’ll Play: Coachella built its name on reunions, getting everyone from the Stooges to Guns N’ Roses to reform on their stage. Since Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd simply aren’t going to happen, they might turn their attention towards the Police. They haven’t played since the final show of their 2007-08 reunion tour. It would be a huge get, and a chance for the trio to play one final time.

Why They Won’t Play: They played 151 shows in 2007-08, grossing $362 million. That’s not even factoring in sponsorship deals and merchandise sales. Simply put, none of these guys need to ever work again. Sting is currently promoting a new solo album. He said over and over that the reunion tour was a one-shot deal. It’s hard to see him going back on that, even for a ridiculous payday.

Tina Turner

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Tina Turner

Why She’ll Play: It’s been eight years since Tina Turner concluded her 50th-anniversary tour. She may be 77, but Tina is an unstoppable force of nature. If she wanted to, she could put the tight pants and high heels back on and go out there and absolutely kill it. Besides, Desert Trip shouldn’t go another year without a female headliner. Who better to break the boys’ club than Tina?

Why She Won’t Play: Not only is she insanely rich, but her husband, Erwin Bach, is also worth an absolute fortune. They live in Switzerland in happy seclusion. Breathing in desert dust as she dances around to “Proud Mary” for the 10,000th time probably isn’t her idea of a good time just three years away from her 80th birthday.

Simon & Garfunkel

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Simon and Garfunkel

Why They’ll Play: A $15 million paycheck might be enough to convince them to start speaking again, at least for two weekends in October.

Why They Won’t Play: It probably isn’t. Goldenvoice/AEG might have to give them the whole $160 million in order to have a chance. 

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