As thousands of people begin to descend upon Manchester, Tenn. for Bonnaroo, much has been made of this year’s headlining acts, and while we’re pumped to catch the likes of Iron & Wine, a reunited Buffalo Springfield, The Strokes and Arcade Fire, there are plenty of lesser-known acts that have caught our eye as well.
Thus, in no particular order, we bring you 15 non-headlining Bonnaroo 2011 acts worth your time. Some hit the stage in the evening hours, and some you’ll need to power through that hangover and drag yourself out of your tent early in order to catch (you won’t be able to sleep past 8 a.m. in that blistering sun anyway), but they’ve all got one thing in common: They’re Paste-approved.
The Head and the Heart
Sunday, June 12 at The Other Tent, 12 p.m.
This Seattle folk outfit hasn’t even been around for two full years yet, but they’ve already wowed festival crowds with their lush sounds and signed to Sub Pop. Check out a gallery of shots from their recent hometown gig here.
River City Extension
Thursday, June 9 at This Tent, 4 p.m.
River City Extension put on one of our favorite performances of SXSW this year, and they’re worth braving the Thursday afternoon traffic to get to the campgrounds early for at Bonnaroo.
Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside
Saturday, June 11 at Cafe Where?, 7 p.m.
Ford’s throwback vocals coupled with her band’s neo-rockabilly grooves make for one heck of a show. Check out our best of What’s Next piece on the singer, or watch her tear through “Danger” below.
Friday, June 10 at The On Tap Lounge, 5:20 p.m.
We declared these feel-good, indie popsters one of the Best New Bands of 2010 last year, and we can’t wait to see what the rest of 2011 holds for them. Watch them perform at last year’s SXSW below.
The David Mayfield Parade
Thursday, June 9 at The On Tap Lounge, 11:30 p.m.
Whether he’s performing with his own band, The Avett Brothers or Cadillac Sky, Americana fans and beard aficionados will dig David Mayfield. Check out the video for “I Just Might Pray” below.
Thursday, June 9 at The Other Tent, 7:15 p.m.
Snacks the Cat likely won’t be making an appearance at Bonnaroo, but Bethany Cosetino’s delightful, lo-fi tunes sure will.
Thursday, June 9 at That Tent at 5:30 p.m.
This Brooklyn band of multi-instrumentalists is a must for any self-respecting Postal Service fan. Watch a song from this year’s Coachella performance below.
Sharon Van Etten
Friday, June 10 at Which Stage, 12:15 p.m.
Van Etten also produced one of our favorite SXSW performances this year, and with a voice that somehow manages to sound both ethereal and hard-as-nails, it’s easy to see why.
Jessica Lea Mayfield
Friday, June 10 at This Tent, 12:15 p.m.
Black Keys fans will no doubt be crowding the What Stage on Saturday night, but Dan Auerbach’s protege will be slaying ‘em a day early.
Sunday, June 12 at This Tent, 12:30 p.m.
Chicago’s finest fuzz-rock brats have had quite a couple of years, opening for the likes of MGMT, Girls and Wilco.
Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears
Saturday, June 11 at This Tent, 12:30 p.m.
With lyrics that will make you grin and grooves that will get your toes a-tappin’, the Austin soulman and his band are your best bet for dancing early on Saturday.
Sunday, June 12 at What Stage, 1:15 p.m.
This 71-year-old legend can still bowl us over with her powerful voice, and she’s showing no signs of letting up. Not convinced? Watch her rip through The Band’s “The Weight” at last year’s Lollapalooza below.
Thursday, June 9 at The Comedy Theatre, 10 p.m.
You already knew Henry Rollins could howl with the best of ‘em, but did you also know he’s a pretty sharp comic See him with Tig Nataro and Nate Bergatze on Thursday night.
Kopecky Family Band
Thursday, June 9 at The On Tap Lounge, 5:30 p.m.
This Nashville group’s live energy is infectious, as evidenced by their stellar performance at our SXSW party back in March.
The Low Anthem
Saturday, June 11 at That Tent, 1:45 p.m.
If you’re headed to Bonnaroo to rock out all weekend, you probably won’t find what you’re looking for with The Low Anthem, but if you’re ready to sit back, take a breather and let the gorgeous whispered melodies sweep over you, we highly recommend Rhode Island’s finest.