When it comes to music festivals, only a few can claim that are in the upper echelon. Bonnaroo is definitely in that conversation, as over the years they have grown in quality and popularity.
With artists such as U2, Chance The Rapper, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Weeknd, it is no wonder Bonnaroo is so popular. Even Lorde, Travis Scott and Major Lazer will be in attendance this year to help headline the festival.
On the other hand, many fans head to festivals in search of the next big thing. Discovering a performer on the come up before they get swallowed up by mainstream media is small victory for fans.
At Bonnaroo this year, there are a few names that have caught my eye. If the main stage is too packed, we’re here to point you in the right direction. Here’s a look at who can lead the next generation of music and even headline at Bonnaroo in the future.
Russ – Rapper
Russ is the definition of real. In a short period of time he went from relative unknown to SoundCloud sensation. His mainstream single hit the radio late in 2016, and fans quickly began to understand that Russ is different from most Atlanta rappers.
Content is NSFW.
He raps with the confidence of a veteran in the rap industry, and wastes no time getting to the point on any of his tracks. Instead of mumbling or screaming and rapping about various drugs, Russ focuses on his dedication and drive throughout the tough journey that becoming a rap star entails.
His major gripe with the rap industry is the fact that fake or untalented people can still make it to the top. Russ usually vows to never sell out or take his career in a direction that he is uncomfortable with.
His beats have an experimental feel to them, and his ability to rap and sing make him a little more versatile than most. With no record label to hold him back, Russ regularly releases bangers on his SoundCloud account. He has been noticed by bigger music websites, including Hot New Hip Hop, a leader in the industry.
If gritty, underground rap is your forte, then Russ could be your favorite performance at Bonnaroo.
Jon Bellion – Singer/Songwriter/Producer
Multi-talented artist Jon Bellion is ready for a breakout performance at Bonnaroo. Like Russ, Bellion comes to Bonnaroo coming off of a radio hit. “All Time Low” was stuck in everyone’s head for a month straight. Rather than being a one-hit wonder, Bellion is leaning towards the start of a promising career.
If you’ve heard the name before, it is because Bellion has many talents. He is a songwriter and a producer, and has worked with some of the biggest names in the industry.
He has written for Emimen and Rihanna, and produced for R&B star Jason Derulo. His talents have not gone unnoticed while working with these artists at the top of the game, and as a result he is about to get his shot.
His debut album, The Human Condition, reached No. 5 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. He has a versatile voice capable of hitting the highest of notes. On songs such as “New York Soul Part II” he also unleashes his rapping prowess and shows he is not as soft as his singing voice would indicate. However, classics such as the aforementioned “All Time Low” and “Maybe IDK” are the style he generally gravitates towards.
Get to Jon Bellion’s show early. It might be a little more crowded than you think.
Francis And The Lights – Musical Group
Not every musician can say they have worked with both Kanye West and Bon Iver. Both seem equally impossible due their reclusive nature and stature in the industry.
Francis And The Lights has already worked with both of them on the same track! “Friends,” was a hit from the minute it was released, and is the perfect example of what you’ll normally hear when you press play on any Francis And The Lights song.
Francis Starlite, the bands frontman, dabbles in experimental beats, playing the piano and laying down vocals for their tracks. However, it is hard to pinpoint who else contributes to this growing sensation. Starlite has been quoted on multiple occasions, saying, “There are no ‘members’ of Francis and the Lights. It is me and whomever else is involved. Including you.”
This interesting take on his “band” is similar to the music itself. The music’s beauty comes from its ambiguity. It is nothing less than creative and often evokes a weird mixture of melancholy and joy. Francis And The Lights are primed to put on a show at Bonnaroo due to the creative nature of the festival itself. There are minimal rules and the set should be reflective of that.
Also, expect Chance The Rapper to warm up for his headlining set with a performance with this band. Being the first to their performance could get you front row to see Chance as well, a task that will be nearly impossible when he hits the main stage. The two are very close friends, and released a song together on the popular The Hamilton Mixtape.
All videos courtesy of YouTube.