Ah, Bonnaroo. The one weekend a year where everyone splits into one of two groups: Those who want to go to Tennessee, get high, dance around in the mud, and listen to jam bands, and those who would rather do literally anything else. This year, though, all of the drugs, muddy pits, and jam bands—or, more accurately, Billy Joel and Mumford & Sons—just might have a little bit more of a corporate sheen. That’s because Live Nation—the totally chill concert promotion company that merged with Ticketmaster a few years ago to ensure that seeing a band live will always be as expensive as possible—now owns a controlling interest in the festival.
That comes from Billboard, which reports that Live Nation has also bought a stake in Great Stage Park, the property where Bonnaroo is held every year. That way, the company will be even harder to escape than it is now. Plus, as if underlining just how hip and cool Live Nation is, Billboard quotes CEO Michael Rapino as saying, “We continue to expand the industry’s most unparalleled and scalable festival platform all while driving strong revenue and growth for Live Nation on a global basis,” adding, “Bonnaroo is another crown jewel in this festival channel strategy, one that appeals to both fans and artists in uniqueness and experience.”
So, when you’re grooving out to Billy Joel singing “New York State Of Mind” or whatever at Bonnaroo this June, just try not to picture Live Nation and its fabulous crown of music festivals looming above you like a god. It’ll probably harsh your mellow.