Bonnaroo Artist | Jake Wesley Rogers
Bonnaroo History | Newbie
Stage & Time | Friday | Who Stage | 1:30-2:15pm || Sunday | Sanctuary of Self Love | 11:00am-12:00pm
As we’ve been doing for the past several years now, we’re making it our mission to help you get acquainted with many of our favorites acts from Bonnaroo‘s 2021 lineup. However, to say that this year’s Bonnaroo is a bit of an unconventional one would be an understatement. Postponed from 2020, moved later into the summer, and with a lineup, schedule, and enhanced Covid-19 precautions all only announced and finalized mere weeks from the fest’s Sept. 2-5 weekend, we’re starting our preview coverage later than usual now that we have the full rundown, and will only be highlighting a handful of artists we want to make sure are on your radar this year, reflecting the full gamut of the festival’s days and stages, and even some performers from the plaza lineup. Additionally, look out for our full list-style lineup guides for each day of the fest, with many other artist recommendations, to help you navigate Bonnaroo’s stacked and sprawling 20th-anniversary slate.
Tickets for 2021 sold out in record time, but if you already have yours, or you manage to snag some from a reputable 3rd party, we hope you’ll do everything you can this year to keep yourself and your fellow Bonnaroo attendees safe throughout the fest, and to behave as cautiously as possible after to limit your risk of exposure to others. We’re thrilled to have music back, but, as the Delta variant fuels a rise in Covid cases, if we want it to stay back and stay safe, we all need to take care of one another. That said, we’re hoping this year’s Bonnaroo marks another important milestone on the road to normalcy, and some welcome solace for those in attendance. To help you get ready, read on for our Bonnaroo Artist Spotlight.
While we’ve been lucky enough to know him as a part of the local scene for the last few years, this past year has catapulted glam-pop superstar-in-the-making Jake Wesley Rogers to brand new heights well beyond Music City, thanks to a major label deal with hitmaker Justin Tranter’s Warner imprint Facet Records, and an excellent new series of singles that feel like the most essential, personal, and stadium-primed of the singer-songwriter’s work to date. Hailing originally from Springfield, MO, Rogers, who gravitated to music at a young age, was raised by a mother in radio, who took a young Jake to regular performances of his idols like Lady Gaga and Nelly Furtado and fostered his love for performance. Belmont brought him to Nashville at 18, and soon after Rogers began releasing music of his own, drawing attention for his piano-heavy, lush and earnest pop with debut EP Evergreen, and his 2019 followup, Spiritual. The latter, and particularly standout track “Jacob from the Bible,” caught the ear of Tranter, a longtime hero of Jake’s, and led not only to his signing, but also to Tranter’s role in helping co-write Jake’s recent work. Long has JWR used his music to navigate his experience as a queer man from a religious midwestern community, and with his latest crop of singles, which kicked off with breakout earworm “Middle of Love,” he’s as open, confessional, and ponderous as ever, penning substantive tunes with enough pop flair to attract praise from the likes of Zane Lowe, Adam Lambert, Kate Hudson, and even Sir Elton John, who compared Jake to his own early days. Hot on the heels of Lollapalooza, ahead of his first major label EP, and with an arena tour on tap next year in support of Ben Platt, it’s not a matter of if, but when Jake Wesley Rogers will become the next big breakout act, and we implore you to catch him on more intimate stages while you still can.
WATCH | “Middle of Love”
LISTEN | “Weddings and Funerals”