Bonnaroo: A Really Good Time
There is just something magical about spending a long weekend with 90,000 others all for the sake of music. Triple digit temperatures, single digit hours of sleep, and the absence of personal hygiene fade to the background as music’s sweet notes fill the atmosphere. For the past ten years, herds of people have flocked to Tennessee’s little known town of Manchester to experience what Rolling Stone has deemed one of the “50 moments that changed rock n roll.” Welcome to Bonnaroo, the music festival that literally means, “A Really Good Time.”
Having been in existence for a short ten years, Bonnaroo has already developed quite the repertoire of artists. The 2011 lineup headlined with Eminem and Lil Wayne, who were accompanied by Mumford and Sons, The Black Keys, Florence and the Machine, Civil Twilight, and many notable others. Previous years included Jack Johnson, Weezer, Kings of Leon, She and Him, Ingrid Michaelson, Manchester Orchestra, The Police, Girl Talk, The White Stripes, and the list could really go on for days. Check out Bonnaroo’s website for complete lineups.
With 12 stages hosting artists of all calibers, your ears’ music cravings will never cease to be quenched. Beginning in the late afternoon and continuing on til the wee hours of the morning, headlining artists perform on the What Stage. The Which Stage is home to artists who are no longer strangers to the music scene, but have not yet achieved superstar status.This Tent, That Tent, and The Other Tent (clever names that inevitably create humorous conversations) are the dynamic trio for rising bands. If you’re interested in getting ahead on the radio station play-lists, or in need of a good dosage of indie, be sure to check out these venues. In addition, Bonnaroo has seven other stages including the Comedy Tent, as well as a few spotlights for promising young bands.
More Than Just Music
Although Bonnaroo’s main attraction is music, the festival also shares the love with several other outlets of artistic expression. Classes in hula hooping, yoga, and various styles of dance are scheduled throughout the morning and early afternoon. The Broo’ers Festival is on tap for beer connoisseurs, and the Bonnaroo Salon is open and air-conditioned for those wanting a new doo and an escape from the heat. The walkway between Centeroo (the headquarters for all the activities) and the campsites are lined with vendors selling custom drums, clothing, jewelry, decorative pieces, and more.
Accommodations and Facilities
The only way to rightly “do the ‘Roo” is to pitch a tent and join the neighborhood of dedicated music fans. Campgrounds open later in the afternoon on Wednesday, but the majority of people arrive Thursday morning. In regards to the campsites, take this warning: the land is a precious commodity, and if you’re not taking full advantage of it, your neighbors will. Be sure to stake your claim quickly before you end up with a camping space the width of your car. However, after all land claims have been made, resume friendly relations with your weekend neighbors as they just may let you borrow the grill that you absent-mindedly left at home. If camping isn’t your style, RV parking is available, and there are a couple of hotels a few minutes away from the venue.
Bonnaroo is a weekend full of artful expression, and cleanliness is very much an option (and also, not easily obtained). Shower stations are located throughout the camp area, but prepare to pay $5-10 for a cold rinse. Come equipped with your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer to brave the community johns, and a lengthy novel to brave the lines during peak hours.
For more information, visit www.bonnaroo.com