So your tickets are purchased and you have practiced putting up your tent so you don’t look like an idiot? Great! You might think you are ready for Bonnaroo, but not so fast. The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is one of the greatest music festivals in the world and in a crowded field of American Summer music festivals there is nothing like it.
But the one thing all Rooers of the past will tell you is, Bonnaroo ain’t easy. It is four days of exhausting heat, blistering sun, and the constant need to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
As an eight-time Bonnaroo festival attendee, I am here to give you the five most important things to know before you go to Bonnaroo.
1. Don’t ever stop drinking water…
Live music is awesome, dancing till 5 am is incredible, but you know what the greatest part about Bonnaroo, leaving alive and not miserable. The Tennessee summer sun is unforgiving. The Farm is exactly like, a farm, on flat land in the middle of nowhere Tennessee, with very little shade, no breeze and just grass, lots of grass. It basically has a sign on it that says, “Hey Sun, shine bright, so bright on me.” And the sun usually obliges.
Do you know what no loves to do at Bonnaroo? Sit still under the 4 trees of shade and do nothing. Everyone loves to see music, and dance, and partake in whatever they love to partake in whether it be the many incredible, amazing food truck options ranging from pizza, gyros or every imaginable vegan delicacy, or you know, other festival treats. This leaves the human body incredibly receptive to dehydration. This can all be remedied with a backpack filled with water or water bottles filled from their many hydration stations. I know I said like a Mom, but trust me, you stay hydrated, you stay lit.
2. Radiate Positivity
It is the Bonnaroo code and very much the way of life. Put into the world what you want out of it. I know you are unhappy that a 7-foot tall dude is in front of you at Cardi B, but he loves her too and you shouldn’t be calling him Sasquatch… he can hear you.
The greatest part of Bonnaroo is how kind, loving, and generous everyone can be. Since it is so hot, and everyone is camping in the baking sun, everyone knows they are all in this together. So there is an unbelievable sense of community and togetherness. So to quote the Bonnaroovian code “Don’t be that guy.”
3. It’s a marathon, not an EDM sprint
So it’s Thursday night and Space Jesus is playing and it’s 2:15 in the morning and you are contemplating having your friends lift you up on their shoulders and crowd surf you. Don’t. Bonnaroo is a long 4-day marathon, not an EDM sprint. Shows start around noon and don’t let up until well past 4 am. It is amazing. It is fun. It is insane. But you really don’t want to miss Maya Rudolph singing Purple Rain on Sunday afternoon because you went way too hard during Girl Talk on Friday night.
4. It’s not just about the main stage
The best part of being at a festival with 150 plus bands is the amount of variety and undiscovered brilliance available to you. In one place there are bands from all over the worlds, playing incredibly different types of music all within earshot of each other. Just allow yourself to experience as much as you can. Don’t just stay at the main headliner stage, journey over to The Who stage to see the next Chance the Rapper or Edward Sharpe, or go to the Other Stage to see some of the best EDM acts in the world, then try to get as close as you can in the Tents for acts like Courtney Barnett or John Prince. Take it all in as much as you can. It’s a once in a lifetime chance.
5. Bonnaroo is a spiritual experience
There is no place in the world like it. It’s the greatest musicians in the world on a farm with the greatest music lovers. The lack of cell phone reception really cuts down on the amount of Instagram uploads and everyone is so much better off for it. Instead of looking at the screens of phones for an entire concert you are left with the backs of heads taking every note and lyric in. It is amazing. It is the closest thing to Woodstock we have left.
Everyone that gets to walk under that Bonnaroo arch gets to experience what life was made for. So breath it in. Remember to wear some sunscreen and enjoy every second.
Hope to see you there!
Bonnaroo 2019 takes place in Manchester, TN (USA) from June 13-16. For tickets and more details, head to their Official Website HERE.