Bonnaroo Artist | AFI
Bonnaroo History | Newbie
Stage & Time | Friday | What Stage | 3:00-4:00pm
Like we’ve been doing for many years now, we’re making it our mission to help you get acquainted with many of our favorite acts from Bonnaroo‘s 2023 lineup. After roaring back to life last summer, after two years off due to Covid and weather, this year marks Bonnaroo’s 20th installment (and 22nd anniversary), boasting not only another great and varied lineup, but also more changes and improvements then we’ve seen in years, with more flexibility in ticketing and camping, a reimagined “Outeroo” campground area, new activations, and further new ways to Roo. Back once again in its usual June 15-18 timeframe, we’re counting down the days until another great weekend on the farm.
As we dig through the entire schedule, we’ll highlight a spread of performers spanning across genres and stages, big and small, new and old, to bring you some of the most interesting, lesser-known, and most highly-recommended among this year’s crop of artists. And as our time at ‘Roo approaches, we’ll also be bringing you some special features and full list-style daily lineup guides, to help you plan your weekend ahead of the fest. While these previews won’t span every artist, and might omit some more obvious must-see acts, we hope they’ll serve as a way to help you navigate Bonnaroo’s gargantuan lineup, and to make the most of your busy weekend at the fest!
Grab your tickets right here if you haven’t already, and read on for our Bonnaroo Artist Spotlight!
If you’re a millennial who ever went through a Hot Topic phase as a teen, we’d wager a strong bet you probably owned a few AFI CDS, and perhaps even had one of their gothic, macabre inspired posters on your wall. But, if you simply remember the west coast punks for their early ’00s mainstream breakthrough and never dug much deeper into their history, you might be surprised to learn that they’d already been making music for more than a decade by then. Formed in 1991 in the small Northern California town of Ukiah while still high schoolers (despite being a band for 32 years, the members of AFI are still only in their 40s), the group began as a scrappy hardcore punk outfit, getting more serious after high school as they relocated to Berkeley, and linked up with instrumental ’90s punk figures like Rancid’s Tim Armstrong, who worked on their first album, and The Offspring’s Dexter Holland, who signed them to his Nitro Records label. After modest success for their early work, the group’s current and most consistent lineup was cemented by 1998, and around that time they also shifted from hardcore to more conceptual, horror-inspired punk, finding their first taste of broader attention with 2000 fifth album, The Art of Drowning. Arriving just as the alt rock and nu metal of the Y2K era gave way to a new era of pop punk and emo, which would dominate the mainstream throughout the ’00s, AFI (short for A Fire Inside) inked a major label deal ahead of 2003’s Sing the Sorrow, which, with its more pop accessible and emo infused post-hardcore, the goth, but not too scary goth imagery of both their artwork and the band themselves, and thanks to gigantic singles like “Girl’s Not Grey,” “Silver and Cold,” and “The Leaving Song Pt. II,” primed for radio play and attention from MTV and Fuse, transformed AFI into bona fide starts of the aughts punk scene. The band would hit a mainstream high with the even more commercial followup, 2006’s Decemberunderground, producing their biggest single ever in “Miss Murder,” and went full on pop rock with 2009’s Crash Love, but, since the 2010s, as they, along with many of their 2000s punk and emo peers, have settled into their role as elder statesmen of the scene as pop punk as a whole has receded from its mainstream domination, AFI have gravitated back to their roots, making more interesting and creative choices over the last decade. 2013’s Burials was a bit of a goth reinvention, 2017’s eponymous AFI leaned into the new wave and post-punk influences they’ve always harbored, and most recent effort Bodies continues that sound with a bit more punk bite. Few bands have managed to continue on for so many years while making music that gracefully grew and matured with them, but AFI- from their hardcore to horror to mainstream emo punk to their middle aged embrace of new wave and post-punk- have done so spectacularly. Whether you’re a newcomer, a longtime fan, or you haven’t thought about them since high school, they’re a particularly interesting addition and an inspired choice for this year’s Bonnaroo!
WATCH | “Girl’s Not Grey” (Official Video)
LISTEN | “Dulcería”