A Recap of Bonnaroo’s Reddit AMA — 10 Things We Learned

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Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything (AMA)” series has become a highly effective way for organizations to directly interact with their audience. Yesterday, Bonnaroo Music Festival co-founders Ashley Capps and Rick Farman took to the site to discuss several topics related to this year’s festival. Among other things, Farman and Capps answered multiple questions related to the controversial booking of Kanye West, and the possibility of a Daft Punk appearance. Hit the jump for a full list of what we learned from Bonnaroo’s Reddit AMA.

10 Things We Learned From Bonnaroo’s Reddit AMA

1. Kanye’s ’08 Bonnaroo Disaster is Forgiven and Forgotten

From the sound of these responses, the 2008 Kanye West fiasco may have been blown out of proportion. Capps’ take on the issue: “It was complicated and there’s no reason to point fingers at anyone. There are so many moving parts to the festival and, in this case, a bit of miscommunication and a sincere desire to come up with a solution simply didn’t work out the way anyone wanted it to. But we have all moved on.”

2. Outkast Turned Down a Headlining Slot

The suspicious absence of this year’s festival darlings, Outkast, is not for lack of trying. According to Capps and Farman, Bonnaroo pursued the band, but they were turned down for a more appealing opportunity overseas.

3. There’s a Secret Surprise; It May or May Not Involve Daft Punk (Naturally)

Capps was a bit cryptic when asked about the possibility of a surprise Daft Punk appearance. “Daft Punk can play a secret set whenever they want…except during Kanye’s set :). There will be a nice surprise with your tickets but its a secret too..” Would it be wishful thinking to read that as some kind of hint?

4. Superjam is a Last-Minute Question Mark

Farman responded to a question about the “Superjam” selection process and admitted that these are usually very last minute. “Last year we didn’t even know if the hip hop one was going to happen until about [two] weeks before the festival.” Regarding this year’s “?” Superjam, Farman acknowledged that they have received interest from artists that will “at least hold par” with previous Superjam lineups, but nothing has been set at this point. We’re still holding onto the dream of a Jack White-led lineup.

5. Baby Bands Still Get the Small Stages; It’s Only Natural

One Redditor asked if the festival would consider using its larger stages on Thursday night this year. Typically, Thursday night performances are relegated to the tents and smaller stages. Farman explained they would not use the larger stages, because the idea is to spotlight smaller artists on the bill, and he believes putting them on a larger stage would alter the atmosphere of the festival’s first night.

6. Bonnaroo is Sitting on an Archive of Festival Footage

Bonnaroo keeps an archive of all the footage they have accumulated from past festivals. Farman explained they intend to release it eventually, but publishing rights make it a complicated process. However, he did invite everyone over to his house to watch his personal copies of the footage.

7. ‘The Sonic Forest’ Could Return… One Day

When asked about bringing the Sonic Forest back, Farman responded, “The Sonic Forest lives on in all of our collective imaginations… but maybe, hopefully, possibly. I appreciate the thought and we’ll look into it.”

8. Bonnaroo Begins with a Brainstorm

Capps shed some light on the artist selection process. It begins with a small group brainstorming acts and researching their upcoming projects and tour schedules. They also receive interest from the artists themselves, and look to the fans for input.

9. Jam Bands Are a Fading Memory of the Fest’s Past

One fan accused the festival of abandoning the jam-band scene in favor of more mainstream artists. Capps was quick to point out that Bonnaroo has always been a diverse festival and this year’s lineup does include Yonder Mountain String Band, Umphrey’s McGee and Tedeschi Trucks Band. With that said, the festival’s lineups over the years has definitely moved away from its jam-band roots.

10. Even Bonnaroo Promoters have a ‘Wish List’

When asked about their personal “White Whale” bookings, Capps said Led Zeppelin, Prince, U2 and Daft Punk are at the top of his list. He also mentioned the thrill of booking smaller bands every year and introducing them to larger audiences.

ICYMI: check the 2014 lineup below…

Article by Jason Schellhardt

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