Photo by Joshua Mellin
Not surprisingly, Bonnaroo’s booking of Kanye West has been quite polarizing. While music critics and Yeezus enthusiasts are surely foaming at the mouth, Bonnaroo’s Facebook page is ripe with negative comments. Many longtime Bonnaroovians are befuddled why the festival would welcome back the rapper following his disastrous performance in 2008, which saw him take the stage several hours late and then lambast festival organizers in an open letter.
In a new interview with Relix, Rick Farman, co-founder of Superfly, the production company behind Bonnaroo, explained why the festival decided to book Kanye again.
“First and foremost, we think Kanye is one of the most prolific and groundbreaking artists of this generation,” Farman explained. “He’s hugely influential. His albums are as great and as acclaimed as they get. He’s also a great live performer. He takes a lot of chances and he’s adventurous with the live space. All those things are what Bonnaroo performers are about. That’s why we booked him [in 2008].
“Everyone has moved on—it’s in the past. We’re happy he wants to come back to Bonnaroo and is embracing this. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to look forward, and we think it’s a great opportunity for the Bonnaroo community to show what it’s made of. It goes back to what Bonnaroo stands for: It’s about having good time, radiating positivity and that whole message. We couldn’t be more excited about what we think has the potential to be another historic Bonnaroo moment.”
For more on the topic, check out my recent Festival Outlook piece with Carson O’Shoney, where we discuss Kanye’s return to the Farm and why time heals all wounds.