Bonnaroo was an amazing experience. I was so blessed with the opportunity to experience the land that never sleeps. Where long lines are filled with high fives and smiles. The farm is a place people can be themselves without judgment while listening to fantastic music. Since this was my first time, here are some lessons I learned that I think all first timers should know. For more specifics, I will create posts later on dealing with those issues.
Lesson #1: Bonnaroo time is not real time
Before we left, we had to wait an hour to fix the generator we would use for later. Next we embarked on our 4 hour journey to Manchester, Tennessee. Once we arrived outside the city, the interstate was backed up from Bonnaroo traffic. After 3 hours, we made it through the lines and security to set up camp. When everything was over, it was 3:30am. And yet, it really wasn’t that bad of an experience. It reminds you deadlines and rushing to get somewhere isn’t the point. It’s to enjoy each moment.
Lesson #2 The Positivity is Real
From numerous high-fives to cries of “Happy Roo!” Bonnaroo positivity is real. Everyone is focused on having a good time no matter what. Therefore, with Rule #1 those lines were the happiest lines I’ve ever seen. It competes with Disney world for the happiest place on Earth. Lorde even had a 30minute technical delay, and the crowd barely complained.
Lesson #3 Freedom!!!!!
Free speech is part of the core of Bonnaroo. Although I have yet to see anything negative. People don’t care what you do or wear. People have glitter wings, speedos, glitter breasts, animal costumes, and other outfits you won’t see in society. They aren’t judged or even stared at.
During concerts, dancers dance with light up hoola hoops, light up balls on strings, and batons. They move with such fluidity you sit mesmerized as the lights move to the music in a remarkable display.
Lesson #4 Sustainability is Key
Bonnaroo tries its best to take care of the environment while the festival takes place. Next to each trash can is compost and recycle with a list of what can go in each. If you fill up a sandwich bag of cigarette butts you find on the ground you can turn it in for a Food Voucher. For a Food Voucher that’s worth more, they give you several recycle bags for your campsite you can turn it.
In Centeroo, there is a section called Planet Roo which exhibits different organizations that call awareness to different social and environmental issues. It also houses a stage powered only by Solar Power. During the day, you can partake in different workshops such as how to make a rain barrel, how to garden, and how to keep bees.
Lesson #5 The Food is Good!!
The food is actually pretty decent! It’s expensive, but it tastes good. I ate dinner at Centeroo accompanied by a couple snacks, and spent around $80. I would suggest taking food for breakfast and lunch.
Even though the food is expensive, Bonnaroo has a variety of options and they all taste amazing! For more information about what kind of food to expect click here.
Lesson #6 Go to the Smaller Concerts as Well
My boyfriend and I can’t be in crowds for a long period of time, so we liked to check out the upcoming artists. He listens to the music from the lineup before he goes. That way, he will know what artists are worth checking out. I’m so glad we took time to go see them! I know everyone’s musical taste is different, but Goody Grace and Ella Vos blew me away!!! (Also, when I tagged them in my Instagram pictures, they liked them. No big deal or anything). There was a more intimate feel, so I could really enjoy and reflect on their music.
Lesson #7 If You Accept the Camping Situation, It Won’t Be That Bad
Bonnaroo is a camping festival so prepare and expect that. You are in a tent next to your vehicle. I was nervous, because I’ve only been camping twice before. (Both times were terrible experiences). On the farm, permanent bathrooms are only found in Centeroo, and showers can be used for about $7-$10 a time. However, if you expect that and not a luxurious accommodations, it isn’t too bad. I still had a great time with port-a-potties, an air mattress, and pouring jugs of water on my head.
Lesson #8 If You Can’t Afford the Ticket, Work the Festival
That’s right. Bonnaroo and many other music festivals will give you a free ticket if you volunteer to work. For Bonnaroo, it is a commitment of three six-hour shifts. If you are running low on funds, this option grants you a ticket, free camping pass, free showers, and a food voucher per shift. It didn’t look so bad! You have to apply, but it seems worth it!
Bonnaroo is a life-changing experience. I hope you consider going! These are things just describing the festival in general. If you want my list of tips click here. Happy Roo!