Bunbury dropped its lineup last Thursday at an Announcement Party held at The Woodward Theater. To their credit, PromoWest had a heavy year to follow after selling out in 2018 with a stacked festival featuring Post Malone, Incubus, The Chainsmokers, and so many more incredible acts. I’ve seen a lot of lineups, and 2018 Bunbury was definitely one of the stand-outs of that year.
Leading up to the 2019 lineup, Bunbury teased us with Hive Hints – which Living the Fest Life covered in detail. Their comprehensive marketing and fan engagement plan culminated in the release party where you get to drink beer and discuss which bands you picked in your Bunbury fantasy league. All around great time.
Now is probably a good time to remember that, while the lineup is obviously important, it’s not the only part of a festival. While I’m nervous that Bunbury 2019 might get lost in the lineup shuffle, it will still be three days of music, good vibes, and vast amounts of Island Noodles. One of the things we know about Bunbury is that it’s an extraordinarily well-organized festival, with grounds that are not crowded and well laid out. It’s easy to get from one stage to another, and unlike huge fests you won’t miss parts of sets just because you’re walking. Cincy is also a big (BIG) brewery city, so Bunbury’s craft beer village is an 11/10 would recommend. Anyway, onto what you guys came here for – the lineup.
Despite their best laid plans, Bunbury had a rough week. The first pressure point came when Blink-182 backed out two days before the lineup drop. Sound familiar? That’s because they also backed out last year and promised to make it up to us in 2019. Instead, they announced via Twitter that they were once again going to be absent. This is completely out of Bunbury’s control, and I have to applaud the fact that they found a replacement in 48 hours, but it’s still hard to swallow considering a lot of people (myself included) bought 2019 tickets early based on the promise of Blink. It did feel like sweet redemption when Bunbury subtly called them out by noting this was the second year in a row Blink had cancelled on them. Fan reaction to Blink’s decision has been super negative, given that this is such a lame excuse. They could/should have planned better. Also, because they are still planning to appear at another festival months before this one, I’m high-key salty.
We pride ourselves at LTFL on ~radiating positivity~ and loving every single festival for what makes it unique. That being said, while the 2019 lineup has some great acts slotted, it is definitely being met with mixed reviews – partially due to what we know this festival has been capable of in the past.
Setting the Blink-182 issue aside, Bunbury 2019 seems like a solid…we’ll call it a throwback lineup. With bands like Dashboard Confessional and Blue October coming back into the spotlight after a quiet period. Fall Out Boy’s set will for sure be a trip down pop punk memory lane, but it’s not necessarily what we expected. Bunbury definitely decided to follow their own path in 2019 rather than conforming to the rest of the festival circuit.
One of the comments I kept seeing in discussion boards was a general attitude of surprise that GVF was slotted as the second biggest name, and I definitely share that sentiment. Part of me thinks they may have been elevated to headliner status after Blink dropped out (that’s a conspiracy theory you can discuss in the comments). GVF appears to be on a meteoric rise, selling out large concerts within minutes. The Michigan-based rock group formed in 2012, but their debut EP was only released in April of 2017 and their first full-length album didn’t come along until this past October. So, while it may seem surprising to see them sharing the spotlight with a band that has been around since Y2K – their Midwest appeal and the fact that they have been selling out shows worldwide may explain their placement. Maybe Bunbury has their finger on the pulse of something we don’t…we will have to wait and see.
For those of us who already bought tickets, I think we’ll be taking this as an opportunity to explore bands we’ve never heard of and reminisce in the nostalgia of bands we haven’t listened to in a long time. Who knows, maybe Eminem will crash MGK’s set and we will all lose our minds.
Till next time Festy Fam.