If you’ve ever thought of going to Bonnaroo, you should mobilize and make it happen! This festival in beautiful Tennessee was one of the first large-scale music festivals of its kind back in 2002 and it has been going strong ever since. People come from all over the United States and even the world to see some of the hottest acts on the planet perform live.
Here we have put together a great guide to Bonnaroo for you, so read on. In it, you’ll learn all the important details that you’ll need to know to have the best time ever at the next Bonnaroo.
When you attend a festival of this size, you want everything to be perfect for you and your crew; we’ve done the hard work for you by putting together the information you’ll need to make that happen.
The History of Bonnaroo
Bonnaroo started back in 2002 and it has been on the same seven hundred acre piece of property in Manchester, Tennessee ever since. It’s produced and organized by Superfly Presents and AC Entertainment and is known for not only its great and diverse lineup across multiple stages but also for great food, lots of interesting vendors, cool art installations, and a great vibe.
For people wondering about the meaning of Bonnaroo, it was chosen by the founders to commemorate the good times they had in college in New Orleans; it’s Creole slang for “good times had by all” – which is fitting for this great event.
How to Get to Bonnaroo
How you get to Bonnaroo will depend on where you are coming from. If you live far enough away to fly, you’ll want to fly into either Nashville or Chatanooga. From there, you can rent a car or hop in with a friend, but keep in mind that the demand for rental cars for this event is huge so be sure to book yours far in advance.
Whether you are driving to Bonnaroo from the airport or somewhere else, expect to sit in a lot of traffic. The festival really begins on Thursday, but the gates open on Wednesday to help limit all the traffic arriving at once. If you can, try to get there on Wednesday so you’ll have time to get in and get settled before the music begins.
Most people who attend Bonnaroo stay on-site as campers. The vast majority of attendees camp in tents; whether you have camped before or not, this can be a great experience, but you might want to bring earplugs to ensure that you’ll get the rest that you need. Also, since it can be quite warm in Tennessee, you’re best off doing the majority of your sleeping during the darkest hours of the night for comfort.
A lot of people who attend Bonnaroo choose to rent an RV for themselves and their friends. This is a bit of an upgrade from a tent, but it’s more costly, too. Still, an RV for Bonnaroo is a great idea because you can enjoy electricity, air conditioning, cooking facilities, and general comfort over the course of the festival, and an RV makes a great home base for you and your friends.
Still other people like to stay off-site at a hotel or rental house. This can be a nice way to get away from the madness now and then, but you’ll lose a lot of time commuting back and forth, so keep that in mind. Further, although it’s tempting to rent a really nice room or house for you and your friends to enjoy, don’t spend too much money on it; you’ll hardly be there anyway.
Preparing for the Weather
Bonnaroo occurs in Tennesee in June so prepare for very warm weather. Not only will it be hot, but it will also be humid, and there’s also a possibility that a lot of rain will fall. However, as luck will have it, the yearly weather at Bonnaroo is fantastic more often than not.
You’ll want to dress lightly and drink lots of water, and don’t forget to apply and reapply sunscreen on a regular basis. Bring more changes of clothes than you think you’ll need; your clothes will get sweaty and dirty and maybe even soaked so you’ll need to put on fresh items more than you might elsewhere. Sometimes it can get chilly at night, so bring a hoodie or long sleeve, too.
What to Bring
It’s equally easy to overpack as it is to under pack and it takes some skill to bring just the right amount of stuff without bringing too much.
There are certain things that are crucial to your weekend like clothes, your phone and chargers, a reusable water bottle, sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Then, there are lots of things you’ll enjoy having like a quality tent and camping chairs, a comfortable sleeping bag, a Bluetooth speaker, headache medication, extra toilet paper, a cooler full of snacks, and other items that will be great to have.
A festival packing list can be a big help when making preparations.
Safety and Security
Fortunately, there is plenty of staff on hand at Bonnaroo to make sure you have a safe and enjoyable time. However, you also must take care of yourself. Get lots of rest and drink lots of water. Look out for yourself and for your friends. Lock your valuables in your car out of sight, or better yet, don’t bring them at all.
If you ever feel like you need help, a security guard or a member of the medical staff will be happy to assist you.
How to Make the Most of Your Weekend
One of the most important parts of our guide to Bonnaroo is our friendly reminders of how to make the most of your weekend. It’s so easy to dive in full force and run out of steam before the festival has even truly begun. Pace yourself and rest when you can, and hydrate with water, not with beer. Consider taking a shower if you can – you’ll feel so much better afterward.
Wear comfortable shoes and splurge on a pedicab every once in a while. Keep an eye on the weather; it can change in a flash. Make a plan so you can be sure to see all the musical acts you want to see the most, but don’t be afraid to deviate from your plan and be spontaneous if something fun catches your eye.
Most of all, dance and enjoy yourself and take lots of pictures. Be friendly and outgoing and get to know the people around you; some of them will become your friends for life!
This Guide to Bonnaroo Will Help You
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide to Bonnaroo, and we hope it will be a big help to you on your epic journey. Whether you attend this one time or go every year after this, every trip to Bonnaroo is something that you will never, ever forget. Be safe and have a blast with old and new friends alike, and let the good times roll!