In my opinion: Well the lineup is up and it's what you'd expect: the biggest bands around in mainstream counter-culture (contradiction) at it's 21st century finest. While last year signaled the final milkings of the hippy-hipster compromise with Phish and MGMT, this year presents itself as unabashedly utilitarian in its selection of artists. The headliners are Dave Mathews Band (undeniably the alt-rock king of radio/t-shirts/tours in the 90's), Kings of Leon (way too popular for the actual quality of their musicianship), Tenacious D (even I don't have the guts to criticize the comic duo), Jay-Z (for those who still believe he raps artistic rebellion), and Stevie Wonder (who, though more familiar to past generations, continues to rage a wailing good show).
In this vein, Bonnaroo, maintains its stance as The Great American Summer Festival, appealing to well pretty much everybody. However, with these headliners, it seems that it has taken this stance to a more definite extreme this year. There's just nothing questionable or remotely scene-specific in the headliners. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It just kind of resembles that awkward feeling of finding out that the band you've been listening to religiously for the past two years is also a personal favorite of that douchebag in accounting.
So make no mistake, the people will gather accordingly, not in huddled masses of wookie dreads or of skinny arms still clutching half-drunk PBR cans, but in the generic America of well like 1996.
With that being said, the diversity of the acts as a whole remains astounding; here are my personal favorites on this year's list thus far (if I hate you please just keep our mutual appreciation to yourself:
Flaming Lips, Jimmy Cliff, LCD Soundsystem, Avett Brothers, Thievery Corporation, the National, John Prine, She and Him, the Black Keys, Deadmau5, Blitzen Trapper, Bassnectar, MM&W, Calexico, Edwarde Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, They Might Be Giants, Brandi Carlile, and the XX.
Damn... there goes all my rationalizations to not shuffle out $250 for a ticket and a weekend of sleeplessness in the middle of a dusty-Tennessee-summer-field.