About a month ago, I had one of the most amazing experiences of my life at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival! Alex and I traveled to Manchester, Tennessee with four of our friends to camp for four nights at Bonnaroo. We all had an incredible time.
I would give tips about going to Bonnaroo, but there are many very detailed blog posts about Bonnaroo and what to pack, what to expect, et cetera on the web, so to avoid repetition, I will just sum up my top 10 tips for Bonnaroo and then recap some of my favorite moments.
Top 10 Tips for Bonnaroo
1. Bring a large thermos or camelpak for water. It will stay cold a lot longer than bringing multiple bottles, and it is easier to refill. I brought this one and loved it.
2. Bring snacks with you into Centeroo. The food is a little pricier than I imagined and less healthy, so I was glad that I had options like apples and jerky to snack on during the day.
3. Speaking of food, do not miss the Amish Baking Company. A month later and I am still salivating at the thought of the deliciously fluffy glazed donuts and the buttery pretzels. Once our group discovered this, we had them every day.
4. As for drinks, the security was tougher than I thought it would be. You can definitely stuff beer/wine in the bottom of your bag, but if not, definitely go to the Brooer’s Festival. There were some fantastic craft beers and they were the same price as a Miller Light! With that said, I drank a lot less than I thought I would due to the heat, so alcohol was almost a second thought.
5. Bring a boat shower. One of our friends brought one and we all were very grateful to have any kind of shower at all!
6. Wear the most comfortable shoes possible. All of our feet were killing us after four days of standing, walking, dancing, and jumping. Bonnaroo is not for sissies.
7. Skip the comedy hour. The lines are insanely long and unless you are dying to see someone perform, it’s not worth missing bands and artists.
8. Take time to walk around and explore all of the non-music activities Bonnaroo has to offer. There are a lot of unique things to do and it’s worth getting there early to see them and participate in them.
9. There are SO MANY good bands, almost (but not quite) to a fault. You will definitely have to make decisions because there are sure to be schedule conflicts, but it is Bonnaroo and everything works out perfectly. I probably planned too much, but I did get to see pretty much every show that I wanted to see, so I was very happy!
10. Finally, get ready for four of the best days of your life! Bonnaroo was an unforgettable experience and I cannot wait to go to my next music festival!
And one extra for you: Free Ben and Jerry’s. Enough said!
Favorite Bonnaroo Musical Moments
- Seeing a Beatle perform (A BEATLE!!!!) for three hours and loving every second and singing along to every word
- Being only a few feet away from Tom Petty, fulfilling a dream
- Macklemore: I don’t think I have ever been a part of a more energetic and excited crowd; it was exhilarating
- The entire crowd holding up a finger during “Same Love”-I still get goosebumps thinking about it
- Jack Johnson saving the day and covering Mumford and Son’s slot-he has made a big fan out of me!
- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros performing “Home” and having the fans tell stories, one being a guy who had met them in the hospital a year ago before a life saving transplant. It was such an amazing moment to witness
- Almost walking into Edward Sharpe and not even realizing it until after
- Trombone Shorty
- R. Kelly’s awesome performance and realizing that I know all of his songs; R. Kelly was a dark horse favorite for a lot of us!
- Hearing David Byrne and St. Vincent sing “This Must be the Place”
- Loving the Lumineers
- Discovering new artists I wasn’t familiar with, but now love, like Father John Misty
- The Rock N’ Soul Dance Party Superjam
- A “chill” afternoon with Cat Power, Beach House, and The National
Finally, Bonnaroo promised the following:
“4 of the best days ever. 80,000 happy campers. 700 Acres of Tennessee Nature. 150 epic performances. 10+ stages of music. Several dozen comedians. An escape into Excitement. Music. Art. Discoveries. Trees. Fresh Air. Green Grass. A mini film fest. Friends (Old / New). Adventure. Overwhelming happiness. Hugging a stranger by accident. Sharing and Generosity. Bonnaroovian Dancing. Hyperbolic verbiage. System overload. The perfect bite of ice cream. Sandals. Fallovers. Chirping Birds. Flashing Lights. Food and Drink. Variety. Singing. Laughing. Short shorts. High-Fives. Rocky IV in the cinema tent at 3am. Spicy Pie. Memories. Someone dressed up like Teen Wolf. Holy Cow(!) Moments. Interesting factoids. Egg sandwiches. More music. Adventure. Deep Breaths. Big smiles. This. That. The Other. Hellos and Goodbyes and reminders of all that we have to celebrate and look forward to next year and in the future.”
I think it’s safe to say Bonnaroo fulfilled on all of its promises and I cannot wait for the next one!