Bonnaroo Artist | Big Freedia
Bonnaroo History | 2012, 2017
Stage & Time | Thursday | That Tent | 1:30-2:30am
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!
A longtime, important fixture in the New Orleans bounce hip hop scene (“a subgenre of hip-hop born out of New Orleans and known for its call and response style and lightening speed booty-shaking dance”), Big Freedia cemented her status as a regional star for the first decade of her career, including as one of the hardest working, earliest acts to return to the city after Hurricane Katrina, before spilling out into broader mainstream recognition. Raised on a steady diet of gospel, soul, and hip hop, the rapper was born Freddie Ross Jr., and, at least as of a couple years ago, identifies as a gay man, though prefers female pronouns as a performing artist and views gender as a spectrum. Nicknamed “The Queen Diva,” Freedia got her musical start in the late ’90s performing alongside local artist Katey Red, before releasing a string of solo albums throughout the ’00s. A 2009 performance at New Orleans’ Voodoo Fest would prove to be her big break, and quickly let to subsequent festival appearances, showcases, late night TV sets, visual art collaborations, media acclaim, and high-profile tour opportunities, with acts like The Postal Service and LCD Soundsytem. Over the past few years, Freedia has appeared on HBO, led a crowd to set a Guinness record, starred in her own FUSE reality show, penned an autobiography, released a documentary, and collaborated with increasingly huge artists, including an appearance on on Beyoncé’s “Formation,” which is just about as high-profile as it gets, as well as collabs with the likes of Lizzo, Drake, and Kesha. Known for her outlandish live show, complete with backup dancers The Divas, Big Freedia, whose upcoming full-length, Central City, drops later this month, is not just an artist, but a cultural phenomenon. While she was technically a part of Bonnaroo 2017, giving twerking lessons, it’s been more than a decade since Freedia last played a formal set at the fest, and not only is she set to do so this year, but she’ll also serve as the Grand Marshall for this year’s Pride Parade, which takes place first thing Thursday in the campgrounds.
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