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Live Nation acquires controlling interest in Bonnaroo Festival

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Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

As of Thursday morning, Bonnaroo—founded in 2002 by Superfly and AC Entertainment—is no longer the U.S.’s largest independent music festival. Live Nation announced in conjunction with the founding companies that it has acquired a controlling share in the festival as well as an interest in Great Stage Park, or “The Farm,” the 750-acre site on which it sits in Manchester, Tennessee. The amount for which it was purchased has not been disclosed. 

According to the release, Superfly and AC Entertainment will continue the day-to-day operations of the festival, which takes place June 11-14 this summer and boasts a lineup headlined by Billy Joel, Mumford & Sons, Deadmau5, and Kendrick Lamar, but the festival will serve as “another crown jewel in this festival channel strategy, one that appeals to both fans and artists in uniqueness and experience.” Live Nation, which is already the largest music promoter in the world, has control over four of the top U.S. festivals. (It bought the promoter behind Chicago cash cow Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits, C3 Presents, in 2014 for an estimated $125 million and took over the company behind Electric Daisy Carnival in 2013.) 

In a statement, Superfly co-founder Rick Farman said of the partnership, “We are strengthening our commitment to create the best possible experience at Bonnaroo. Through this partnership with Live Nation, we’re even more empowered to enhance the festival while preserving the integrity of the event that we’ve thoughtfully built over the past 14 years.”

AC Entertainment’s founder Ashley Capps added, “Partnering with Live Nation is a milestone for Bonnaroo. It opens up tremendous opportunities for us to continue to evolve the Bonnaroo experience in an exciting, powerful way.”

What any of those enhancements and investments are is yet to be announced. But, someone, say better bathrooms.