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Superfly and A.C. Entertainment are excited to announce three incomparable SuperJam lineups for this year’s Bonnaroo. In an era in which the business of music is all too apparent and pervasive, the Bonnaroo SuperJam, the festival’s signature event, has become a respected and highly acclaimed institution that looms large as a once-in-a-lifetime experience where experiments are encouraged, genre categories no longer exist and superstar musicians who may have never crossed paths let alone shared the same stage become unexpected collaborators in pursuit of pure creation.
One SuperJam starring by Skrillex and includes Big Gigantic with special guests Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Robby Krieger (of The Doors), Zedd, Mickey Hart, Janelle Monáe, Warpaint, Chance the Rapper, Thundercat and more. Another one featuring Derek Trucks will include Chaka Khan, Taj Mahal, Eric Krasno, James Gadson, David Hidalgo and Adam Deitch with special guests Andrew Bird, Susan Tedeschi, Ben Folds and more. Bonnaroo is also excited to bring back to the farm banjo maestro Ed Helms and his Bluegrass Situation SuperJam. featuring the Lonesome Trio, Dierks Bentley, Sarah Jarosz, Lake Street Dive, The Black Lillies, Shovels & Rope, The Lone Bellow, Robert Ellis, Della Mae, Bryan Sutton, and Dave Johnston of Yonder Mountain String Band.
“SuperJam shows are about creating moments of surprise when no one knows what will happen next,” says producer Paul Peck. “The amazing artists that are a part of the SuperJams are taking a big risk by stepping outside their comfort zones and doing something very ambitious in a very high profile performance. And they do it for the same reason we do: creating something special for the entire Bonnaroo community to experience together. We’re all in it together and get to see what happens at the same time.”
Past SuperJam collaborations through the years have become the stuff of legend, and have included: D’Angelo, Dr. John, John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Trey Anastasio (Phish), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), R. Kelly, Questlove, Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes), Ben Harper, RZA, Herbie Hancock, Phil Lesh, Larry Graham (Sly & The Family Stone), Mike Gordon (Phish), Kirk Hammett (Metallica), Solange, North Mississippi Allstars, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Method Man, Ghostface and many others.
While much of the live work many of these incredible artists do year round with their respective bands is often scripted, offering little room for trial and error, the SuperJam usually involves a disparate collective having only one week to rehearse and learn a two-hour set, thus requiring the band members to rely on their wits, intuition and innate musicality. This intensive work atmosphere has bred great friendships that are strong to this day. For example, Dan Auerbach ended up producing Dr. John’s Grammy-winning album Locked Down and performing with him on the award show that year, while Brittany Howard and the Alabama Shakes debuted new material at a rare performance at Preservation Hall in New Orleans and Joe Russo is now the drummer in Phil Lesh & Friends as a result of meeting the Grateful Dead bassist at the first SuperJam.
As with all the SuperJams, the element of surprise plays a big role each year as fans spend months speculating on who might be performing. D’Angelo, R. Kelly, Brittany Howard, Billy Idol and many others were complete secrets and highly circulated rumours until the day of the performance, and sometimes even until the moment they appeared on stage. In keeping with this custom, there are some great surprises already in the works for 2014.
The Bonnaroo SuperJam continues to be an integral part of Bonnaroo’s aesthetic and history. The 2014 editions will surely add innumerable memories to this ongoing tradition.