Ask any Bonnaroovian who has been around a number of years, Paul McCartney’s show in 2013 easily tops all other Farm performances as the greatest of all time. The Beatle played a three hour plus set list with three encores, complete with songs from his full catalog as well as some show stopping pyro and fireworks. In many minds, nothing has topped it since.
With the great performance of his new album and a new expansive tour that’s rumored to be his last, rumors have started to swirl that Sir Paul might be returning to the Farm in 2019. His reappearance is not completely out of the question, and many of the signs that Roo rumormongers factor in are starting to point in that direction.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of those factors and how they may or may not bring Paul back to Manchester in June of 2019.
Tour Dates – McCartney’s Freshen Up tour comes in two legs. A Fall leg with mostly international dates, and a Spring leg with mostly North American dates. The second Spring leg goes throughout North America, yet conveniently misses both Nashville and Atlanta. These two cities are important for reasons we’ll get to in a minute. What is very noticeable is that he has a huge gap in his touring schedule between Illinois on June 11th and Arizona on June 26th.
Radius Clause – This is often the factor that’s the most tell-tale when it comes to who is playing Bonnaroo, and it plays into Paul returning in this case. The fact that he isn’t playing Nashville or Atlanta points to his playing Manchester as a bigger likelihood. The closest that he’ll be playing to the Farm is Lexington, KY on June 1.
Coachella – For now, this is the biggest detrimental factor. Paul doesn’t have any dates at all in April, which seems to heavily hint that he could be playing Coachella 2019 or another early season festival like Hangout. While an appearance at either Goldenvoice event wouldn’t completely rule out a Bonnaroo appearance, it could lessen the odds somewhat. Their headliners sometimes aren’t exclusive, but it would still complicate things a bit.
Timing – By the second weekend of June, it would have been barely over six years that Paul last played the What stage. We’ve had repeat headliners within somewhat similar time frames (Tom Petty, Radiohead, Pearl Jam), but it could potentially lessen the odds a bit. Paul of course has new material, but let’s be honest, we want to hear the old stuff. Unless he digs a little further back into his Beatles and personal catalog, the set list may not be all that different. However, if this truly is his last tour, no one would likely mind that much anyways.
Booking Costs – Booking the most beloved musician in the world ain’t cheap. We’ve read that his costs are somewhere in the neighborhood of two to four million. With the backing of Live Nation, Bonnaroo can certainly afford the investment. It’s a sizable one, but given the attendance numbers of 2013, it’s one that’s likely to pay off.
Right now, it’s really tough to say. More tour dates could be added, and other festivals will be announced. These types of factors will play into whether or not Sir Paul’s return is imminent. However, given what we know now, the odds are certainly pointing towards him making another Bonnaroo appearance as a distinct possibility.
Keep an eye on our Twitter account for more gossip on Paul and other acts. Since we drive a big friendly bus, we get told some fun information every now and then, and we’re glad to pass on what we hear.