The day after the record was set for the greatest number of new cases of COVID-19 reported in a single day in the U.S., word has come that Bonnaroo 2020 has been canceled.
The 19th annual run of the massive three-day music festival was originally scheduled for June 11-14, and had sold out in record time on the strength of a phenomenal lineup topped by Lizzo, Tool and Tame Impala. Out of an abundance of caution, it was moved to Sept. 24-27 in March, but has now been canceled outright.
“Our annual time together on the Farm is nothing short of magical, but out of an abundance of caution and for the health and safety of all Bonnaroovians, artists, staff, partners and our community, this is a necessary reality,” reads a statement on the festival's website. “More information on lineup, camping and accommodations will be available at a later date.”
Ticketholders will have the option to request a refund or to simply keep their tickets for the Bonnaroo 20th anniversary celebration, scheduled for June 17-20, 2021. The window to request a refund will be open July 1-31.
Bonnaroo has happened each June since 2002 in Manchester, Tenn., on some 700 acres of farmland that was renamed Great Stage Park after it was purchased by promoters. The 2019 metal-and-hard-rock fest Exit 111 was the first large-scale non-'Roo music event to use the site, but organizers announced in December that they weren't planning a return in 2020.
As we've continued to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, Bonnaroo has been something of a holdout. SXSW and Big Ears were canceled in early March before social distancing and stay-at-home orders became widespread; CMA Fest was canceled a few weeks later, and Pilgrimage in May. Earlier this month, the previously rescheduled Coachella and Stagecoach festivals were canceled, as was Lollapalooza. Meanwhile, AmericanaFest announced plans to pivot to an online event called Thriving Roots.
The note from Bonnaroo's organizers indicates that there will be an online streaming festival Sept. 24-27, but details haven't been made available.
This story first ran in our partner publication the Nashville Scene.