METAL AT NON-METAL FESTIVALSRight around this time of year we usually start to see the lineups of all the major music festivals announced. The latest announcement making headlines is that of Bonnaroo, and for the third year in a row the festival has a surprising showing of metal bands on the bill.

Two years ago Metallica headlined Bonnaroo, and last year’s lineup included Nine Inch Nails, Down, and Shadows Fall among others. This year’s lineup is even heavier, with Isis, Baroness, Clutch, Melvins, Gwar and Against Me! all making appearances.

I’m a little baffled by the inclusion of most of these bands on a festival lineup that’s got nothing to do with metal. It strikes me as somewhat odd that anyone who comes to see Dave Matthews headline an event would have any interest in Isis. Surely some of the festival attendees enjoy metal and presumably the metal bands at the past two festivals went over well, otherwise metal bands wouldn’t have been invited back this time around. But I really can’t see any metalheads making the trek to Bonnaroo just because these bands are on the bill; in other words, the festival won’t be attracting a new clientele, just giving its current clientele a little more variety.

So what’s the larger meaning here? Is metal gaining wider acceptance in other music communities? Do these bands all fall into a certain sub-sect of metal that appeals to a more indie rock-centric crowd? Is it simply a case of these bands having the same booking agents? Share your thoughts in the comments.


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