Bonnaroo Artist | Bre Kennedy
Bonnaroo History | Newbie
Stage & Time | Saturday | Who Stage | 6:30-7:15pm
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.
If you regularly follow the site, then you should already be familiar with local indie pop singer-songwriter Bre Kennedy, a favorite of ours since she landed in Nashville several years ago, and an integral part of the local music scene since. Raised in a musical household and influenced by greats like Tom Petty, Heart, and Aretha Franklin, Kennedy initially tried out Los Angeles at only 17 years old, but, after a few years, felt a calling to Nashville, where she relocated in 2015. She spent several years co-writing for some other fantastic artists before forging a solo career of her own, taking the change of scenery as an opportunity to hone her own artistic identity, assimilating into Music City’s flourishing indie pop and singer-songwriter scene, and building a network of talented friends and collaborators along the way. With 2019’s Jealous of Birds EP, Bre made a stunning debut, channeling the likes of Brandi Carlile, Fleetwood Mac, and Cat Power with her lush, story-driven, and hook-laden songs that showcased her refined songwriting and sharp lyricism. 2020’s followup, Twenty Something, flexed even more artistic growth in just a year’s time, distilling Kennedy’s vulnerable approach to conveying emotion and personal experience to an even more earnest, confessional, and resonant essence. Then, not long after Twenty Something‘s release, the pandemic struck, forcing Bre, like so many artists, to spend the last year and a half in a much more reclusive and self-reflective state than expected, which she embraced by devoting her time to remote and secluded writing and recording sessions, ultimately resulting in her forthcoming debut full-length, Note to Self, due out Oct. 8. Though, in a way, the pandemic stunted Kennedy’s plans to promote and perform Twenty Something more extensively, it also seems to have provided the time, space, and forced solitude needed to tap into her feelings, experiences, dreams, and her journey in life so far, coming to terms with herself, making peace with things beyond her control, and penning little inspirations and hopes both to herself and to anyone who can relate, resulting in a string of singles over the last several months that are among her best work ever. Between dense, melancholy, and contemplative pop tunes and upbeat, frenetic, and uplifting dance-primed anthems, Note to Self feels like a culmination of everything Bre has done so far but fine-tuned and balanced and pushed to even better and more surprising sonic heights. We’ve long flagged Kennedy as Nashville’s next big breakout artist in the making, and with her impending full-length, that feeling has never felt more valid. Don’t miss her Bonnaroo debut, because she’s sure to be playing a much bigger stage next time around.
WATCH | “Control”
LISTEN | “Twenty Something”