Most Bonnaroovians came to this year’s fest for the big name acts — Billy Joel, Mumford & Sons, Kendrick Lamar, etc. But if they only stuck to the main stages, they would’ve missed out on a ton of great music — and perhaps even an act or two who stood on the cusp of widespread recognition, only needing a stellar performance to push them over the top into the mainstream (in other words, Bleachers).
Last year we sent Billboard’s Dominick Grillo around the fest to check out the five acts that had received the least number of “check-ins” on the official Bonnaroo app. This completely unscientific approach (the numbers tend to fluctuate by day, time and inclination of attendees to pay attention to their phones) brought us into the audience for James Bay’s 2014 show at Bonnaroo, a stunning performance that heralded the English singer-songwriter as an artist on the rise. That promise was fulfilled over the past year, with “Hold Back the River” hitting No. 2 on Adult Alternative Songs and “Let It Go” popping up on radio stations around the country.
Would ‘Roo 2015 help launch another talented act into the mainstream? After picking the least-checked-in artists (as of Thursday afternoon), Dominick headed back to the small stages to find out.
More at Billboard.com