#MeganMusicMonday: Festival lineups get graded

This year’s lineups have made that task much more mentally taxing than it has been in the past.

It’s here, y’all.

Festival season is upon us. The lineups have been dropped (though we’re still waiting on some holes to be filled), and anyone who knows me well knows I’ve been contemplating how much money I can realistically spend on music festival tickets. This year’s lineups have made that task much more mentally taxing than it has been in the past. Every time I try to narrow it down, I get overwhelmed by all of those hella-baller lineups.

Paul McCartney, Florence + The Machine, My Morning Jacket, and Modest Mouse are all major players among headliners, and that’s just a sampling. But even with all these superstars brightening up the festival scene, summer 2015 will forever be remembered as the year of the undercard.

Shaky Knees – May 8-10 – Atlanta, Georgia

Holy. Wow. When I first saw this lineup I may have shed tears knowing I wouldn’t be able to go (curse you, finals week). Shaky Knees boasts a heavily alternative collection, with The Strokes, Neutral Milk Hotel, and American Football, ‘90s kids rejoice. For the punk rock in all of us, we have Social Distortion and Flogging Molly.  Throw in a sprinkling of indie pop like Panda Bear and you get the overall best lineup this season, for the type and size of festival that Shaky Knees is. A+ for overall cohesiveness and A++ for punk appeal.

Firefly – June 18-21 – Dover, Delaware

Now here’s a place to see artists you won’t find at any other major festival this year. Morrissey, Kings of Leon and The Killers are all billed high on this lineup, right next to Paul McCartney, Modest Mouse and Snoop Dogg, who can be seen at other festivals.

Chiddy Bang, Kid Cudi and Elliphant are all unique names gracing the undercard, mixed in with the slew of budding artists who might as well be sharing a tour bus like Ryn Weaver, Mac Demarco, Sturgill Simpson and Sylvan Esso.

Overall, A+ for originality and diversity.

Bonnaroo – June 11-14 – Manchester, Tennessee

I have a special place in my heart for Bonnaroo as it was my first festival experience, and to be perfectly honest, when the lineup was dropped (and what an adventure THAT was…), I was a little disappointed. There seemed to be something missing. And there still is.

While there is debate about how many more artists will be announced and what the Superjams will consist of, this lineup has it all. It leans a little heavy on the electronic side, and it’s no wonder with Deadmau5 being the first EDM headliner in the history of the festival. Hip hop artists make up a huge chunk of the bill as well with Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino as the biggest names of that genre. A smattering of indie rock and alt-pop tie the lineup together nicely with standard festival fare. Earth Wind & Fire and Tears for Fears add that throwback touch for the older festival goers (and those of us who were born in the wrong decade).

But wait. What are Slayer and Between the Buried and Me doing on here? Metal? At Bonnaroo? Hey, that’s what makes the ‘Roo so great. Frankly, if I have nothing to do during Slayer’s set, you bet your buttons I’m going to experience that.

Bonnaroo gets an A+ for being all-encompassing genre-wise. Where else on the planet would you be able to jam to Kendrick Lamar and then go participate in a wall of death at a late-night BTBAM show?

It pains me to say because I have such beef with Coachella and its yuppie-ridden “festival fashion” obsessed crowd, but this lineup is great.

— Megan Osborne

Coachella – April 10-12, 17-19 – Indio, California

So literally everyone is playing Coachella this year. Seriously, I’m upset I didn’t get asked to play.

Unique to Coachella is AC/DC. The rest of it is kind of ripped off of last year’s Bonnaroo lineup, which was absolutely phenomenal, so naturally this lineup is awesome. You can never go wrong with Jack White. Ever.

What Coachella does right is throw in that classic Cali vibe with some good alt rock, and this year they accomplish that with a few of my all-time favorites: Circa Survive, Brand New, and Joyce Manor.

It pains me to say because I have such beef with Coachella and its yuppie-ridden “festival fashion” obsessed crowd, but this lineup is great. The down side is there probably could never be enough time to see everything you wanted to see, but that’s why there are two weekends right?

A+ for getting literally everyone on that lineup, Coachella. Even though I would probably never personally buy a ticket.

Honorable Mention: All Good

How could I not shamelessly plug my home state’s biggest music festival? This year the festival comes back from a hiatus with a jam-packed lineup, pun intended. Primus, moe. and STS9 are just a few names that will build that stripped-down, authentic festival vibe a la Woodstock. And of course, Cake.

A+ for hippies and West-by-God.

Megan Osborne can be contacted at [email protected].