Monday morning, when Live Nation announced that the headliners would be Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett, and Lady Antebellum, as well as all the new provisions on coolers and camping, an outright revolt took place among long-time attendees. Over 3,500 1 star reviews were posted on the event’s Facebook page, and hundreds of negative comments were left on the lineup announcement.
Last week, lost among the shuffle of a slew of bad news stories on the country music front was the news that mega concert promoter Live Nation had purchased a 51% controlling stake in the largest independent music festival in the country—Manchester, Tennessee’s Bonnaroo. The specifics of the deal looked very similar to the deal struck in December of 2014 when they purchased Austin’s C3 Presents.
Sturgill Simpson is now officially a major label artist. The Kentucky native who’s been making waves throughout country music over the last year with his award-winning album Metamodern Sounds In Country Music has signed to Atlantic Records, part of the Warner Music Group, and will release his next album currently being recorded through the major label.
In a few recent interviews, Justin Townes Earle has let slide some tidbits about big plans for the upcoming year. It was just announced today that he would be playing The Nelsonville Music Festival in the middle of May, and Bonnaroo in June, but sometime afterward he will be heading to the old continent to make some new music inspired by Memphis.
Indie doesn’t really have its own traditions, its own infrastructure like country, blues, or even Texas music. And in this music climate of massive contraction, this is not the time to be creating new infrastructure that may not be sustainable moving forward. So the solution appears to be to incorporate existing infrastructure that was built years ago for roots and country artists, ostensibly squeezing the support for these types of artists out of the picture.
Sure, the attrition is slow and calculated.But over time, as you look at the yearly schedules for things like Austin City Limits, or ACL Fest, or Pickathon…
ACL Fest, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Budweiser, Cheap Trick, Dave Matthews Band, Dr. Dogg, Fat Possum, Hayes Carll, Jan Reed, Junior Kimbrough, Matthew Johnson, Pearl Jam, Pickathon, RL Burnside, Robert Earl Keen, Saturday Night Live, The Black Keys, The Improbably Rise of Redneck Rock, Vegoose