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The Wright Opinion - Roo not for you?
Seth Wright.jpg

The 2023 Bonnaroo lineup was released Tuesday. That brought with it, as usual, a flood of complaints about said lineup. The grievances, as always, were voluminous if not particularly varied. The general crux of the comments were "I've never heard of most of these names," and "Bonnaroo gets worse every year." In my opinion, that's another way to say, "I'm old," and "I'm getting older every year."

I've never been presumptuous enough to think Bonnaroo was or should be catered to my musical tastes. Bonnaroo has always been targeted to a college-age crowd. The first Bonnaroo was held in 2002 when I was 28. So, even at its outset I was, at best, on the fringe of the high-end of the Bonnaroo spectrum. I guess that's why I've never been bothered by the lack of relevance of the lineup to me personally. 

The people who seem to be shocked that each year the Bonnaroo lineup gets a little less relevant to them don't seem to understand that every year they become less and less the target audience. To make an imperfect comparison, Wooderson, Matthew McConaughey's character in "Dazed and Confused," issued a problematic quote that can be  applied to the Bonnaroo lineup. "That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age." The Bonnaroo target demographic is like those high school girls. You get older, but it stays the same age. That means the older you get, the less relevant the band names will be to you, and that's by design.

I've been to several Bonnaroos and, while the music may not all be to my taste, I've always enjoyed the atmosphere and the people-watching. When at Bonnaroo I enjoy playing a game with my wife, Ashley,  called, "I think that person is older than me." It's not a statement I get to make often at Bonnaroo. In fact, If I stopped to count, I think the contest between, "That woman is topless" and "I think that person is older than me" would be a close race.

Just accepting that Bonnaroo has never been about me and is only going to get less so every year frees me from the need to go online and complain about something many other people enjoy. Instead, I like to play the game I introduced to the Southern Standard newsroom Tuesday: "What's your Roo?" Determined by your personal music tastes, what would be your ultimate Bonnaroo, keeping in mind the standard practice of the impact of the acts building from Thursday through Sunday?

The four headliners for my Setharoo would be: Thursday night - Weird Al, Friday night - Reba McEntire, Saturday night - KISS and Sunday night, Garth Brooks.  I think that would be a heck of a Roo, but I have no doubt my lineup may have some 20-year-olds saying "I've never heard of most of these names."


Standard managing editor Seth Wright can be reached at (931) 473-2191