The initial lineup was released for Rothbury Festival ’09, which takes place on the west side of my home state, Michigan. Last year was the inaugural year and has some hailing it as “the new Bonnaroo”. The fact that Rothbury 2.0 is happening is great news considering all the economic problems in MI and the auction of the Double JJ Ranch.
What: Rothbury Festival 2009
When: July 2nd – 5th
Where: Rothbury, MI (about 3 hrs from Detroit/Chicago)
Headliners: The Dead, Bob Dylan and His Band, String Cheese Incident, Willie Nelson & His Family, The Black Crowes
Artist Highlights: Damian “Jr Gong” Marley & Nas, G. Love & the Special Sauce, STS9, Broken Social Scene, Cold War Kids, Chromeo, Girl Talk, MSTRKRFT, Matisyahu, Guster, Martin Sexton, Flogging Molly, The Hold Steady, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, KiD CuDi, Sam Roberts Band, The Hard Lessons
Tickets: Weekend passes are $250, includes camping. On sale March 20th.
My Take: Impressive. Last year’s line-up had a lot of pop-friendly acts (Snoop Dogg, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Colbie Caillat, 311) amid hippie favorites (Widespread Panic, Phil Lesh & Friends, Trey Anastasio) and few indie magnets (The Black Keys, Brother Ali, Modest Mouse, Sam Beam, Of Montreal). I was admittedly a little harsh on the choices, but understood the strategy for a first-time fest.
2009 got rid of the fat (Mayer, Caillat), upgraded with a decent amount of legendary nostalgic/psychedelic bands (The Dead, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Black Crowes) and grabbed a ton indie acts. Obviously, any fest that can package both Girl Talk and Chromeo is going to get my praises. I’ve heard STS9, BSS, Martin Sexton and The Hold Steady all do great things live. Flogging Molly is a riot, KiD CuDi finally gets some festival shine and Sam Roberts Band was has been in heavy rotation thanks to a rec from a friend. Probably most interesting is the Damian “Gong” Marley/Nas pairing. Both are more than excellent performers and have done a couple songs together, but sharing a stage? Why not?
I will actually be back in Michigan during that week, but unfortunately won’t be able to attend. If Rothbury offered day passes, I would highly consider checking out a day. Maybe next year.