Friday, July 12, 2024

Bonnaroo’s EDM scene is growing


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By Noah McLane

MTSU Seigenthaler News Service

The electronic dance music scene has exploded in the last decade. 

The genre, which features thumping bass lines, repetitive beats and a pre-recorded backing track, has gone from underground DJ sets in basements and abandoned warehouses to being valued at over $6 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to over $8 billion by the end of 2023 according to the International Music Summits annual report. 

The rising popularity of the genre has been reflected in recent lineups for festivals, such as EDC in Las Vegas and Electric Forest in Rothbury, Michigan. It’s not unusual for entire festivals to be dedicated to EDM.

Bonnaroo has not been left unaffected by this trend. This year, three of the five headliners are EDM acts. 

In 2018, Bonnaroovians saw the introduction of The Other, a stage dedicated to EDM acts. This came just after Live Nation took over Bonnaroo.

The addition of artists like Griz, Odesza, Ducky and Subtronics has opened up a whole new audience for Bonnaroo. 

That tactic has proven successful as the festival sold out in 2019 and again in 2020, 2021 and 2023.

The demographic of Bonnaroo has shifted with the average age of current attendees being 15 to 25.

Most Bonnaroo attendees feel like there is an even mix of all genres at the festival.

“I love electronic music…I also love folky natural instruments. I think they have an even mix of both of them,” said Justin from Virginia, who was attending his third Bonnaroo.

With Bonnaroo being the place of acceptance that it is, most attendees are embracing their arrival on The Farm. 

“I’m not super big into EDM but I think it’s interesting, I think it’s fun,” said Emily.

Bonnaroo knows their audience well and has tried to keep up with the changes going on in music. The festival is not what it used to be, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“It makes sense if you’re trying to stay relevant…whatever is gonna draw people,” said Amber, who was attending their first Bonnaroo since 2008. 

Despite the changes, Bonnaroo has managed to stay true to its commitment to provide a wide variety of musicians for its audience. 

Large acts like The Foo Fighters, Paramore, Sheryl Crow and smaller indie groups like Peach Pit or Colony House still remain a main pillar of the festival. As the music industry evolves, venues and festivals have to adapt to survive. Bonnaroo has shown that it plans to be around for the long run.

Noah McLane is a staff writer for MTSU Sidelines.

To contact News Editor Kailee Shores and Assistant News Editor Alyssa Williams, email

For more news, visit, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter and Instagram at @mtsusidelines.

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