Our Top Bonnaroo Bands to Watch — Plus a Playlist


Valerie June Image via gillespetersonworldwide, First Aid Kit Image by Annika Berglund innocentwordsThe Preatures Image via pastdaily

Whether you’re heading out to Manchester this weekend or just looking for a fun and fast way to refresh your playlist, we want to introduce you to three artists who will take the stages in beautiful Tennessee at this year’s Bonnaroo festival. So take a listen to our playlist and read on for the lowdown about the lineup.

Valerie June: The best artists are often those with an indefinable sound. While June succinctly sums it up as “organic moonshine roots music,” give Valerie June’s debut album Pushin’ Against a Stone a listen and you’ll hear transitions between swinging rockabilly to Doo-wop. She’s at her best with hushed folk numbers like “Workin’ Woman Blues,” where her vocals take command. Much like a fairy — or folktale, rather — June’s first album came to be after she spent the better part of 7 years performing her soulful blend of folk rock around her home state of Tennessee.

The Preatures: Not all acts at Bonnaroo are created equal, and this year’s line-up features everyone from Lionel Richie to Skrillex. But if you’re in the mood for some stand-up rock, Australian 5-piece The Preatures are one to watch. Their latest release, a raucous and moody self-titled EP featuring fused beats and yelps from singer and live wire Isabella Manfredi, stood out with their danceable single “Is This How You Feel?” The band is currently working on their first full-length album slated for next year, but you can practice your best ’80s shuffle until then.

First Aid Kit: The story of Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg’s rise to popularity may seem like Kismet, but it took more than just a couple of chance meetings with fellow musicians and producers before the girls made it across festival stages. For starters, they hail from a musical family and have been writing and performing since they were just wee things — though one should never underestimate the whole right place/ right time parable. Their third and latest album Stay Gold launched Tuesday and features the signature ethereal harmonies and dramatic acoustics that shine on First Aid Kit‘s previous releases. If you haven’t heard these two already, don’t feel bad for skipping to the end of our playlist. 

+ Those are just three of our latest loves at this year’s backyard bash in TN. But there are many more — so we want to know who are some of your faves? Sound off in the comments below!


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