Jul 3, 2012

Bonnaroo tips and final thoughts

I promise this will be my last Bonnaroo post for a while.  I just wanted to compose some tips and final thoughts for anyone who was thinking about going to Roo next year (or any other music festival). So here ya go...

Tips:
-Don't lose your friends in the dark! 
{Long story short: While sitting among 80,000 people watching Radiohead somewhere around 11pm, I chose to walk to the bathroom alone with no phone on me.  I figured it was a straight shot up to the bathroom, surely I wouldn't get that lost.  HA!  Walking around all of those people in the dark, trying to get my bearings and figure out which way was up, I started to panic a bit.  Needless to say, when I heard Nicole shout my name after 15 minutes of looking, I was so happy to see her I practically attacked her.  Stay with your friends after dark!}

-Rest whenever you can. Sleeping on the ground during a concert is totally normal here.

Naptime at Bonnaroo
-Bring chalk or spray paint. There are blank canvases all over the place.  You are encouraged to leave your mark.

-Bandanas are your friend...and sometimes your shade, hair-hider, sweat collector, lung protector and sneeze catcher.

-Get early to the Tent shows.  The tents are not very big and they are slightly elevated (why? I don't know), so if you are not IN that tent, you're not seeing much at all.  You can usually hear pretty well right outside the tents, but if it's something you really want to see, get there early.  About an hour before the show is a good time to get there.  I suggest getting against the rail on the sides of the stage.  The view is great and it's easy to get out if you need to.

-The big stage has a pit you can wait in line to get in.  I wish someone had told me this, but apparently, in order to get the closest to the acts on What Stage (the biggest), you have to wait in line for it.  Some people would wait ALL day to be a part of this pit for bands such as Radiohead and Phish.  I don't know whether or not I would have actually done it, but it would have been nice to know about it.

-Don't be a slave to the schedule.  There is so much to see and do, so don't waste your time sitting around waiting for your bands to play.  Doing that for one or two bands is okay, but you'll stretch yourself thin if you make every band you like a priority.  See the Sonic Stage!  Many bigger bands will do short 30 minute sets at the Sonic stage and they are so worth seeing.  Even the random acts you'll catch here are bound to be phenomenal. 

-The water is all FREE and potable.  You'll hear this quite a bit, but you need to drink a lot of water.  Luckily, they have free water stations all over the grounds.  The water back at camp smells like rotten eggs (sulfur), like a LOT.  The water in Centeroo tastes like water.  I would bring my own gallons of water for teeth brushing and hand washing at camp and a Camelbak to fill up at Centeroo. 

-Freeze water bottles for the cooler.  We had one of those 5-day coolers and we had about 30 frozen water bottles in there and we only had to buy ice once on the last day, which was $4.  The nice thing about the frozen water bottles is you can take a couple out each day to take to Centeroo with you.

-Take a point-and-shoot camera.  iPhones suck at taking far away pictures.



Final Thoughts:
Even while I was at Bonnaroo, I had a hard time processing everything I was experiencing.  It's very overwhelming and I know that anyone's first time to Roo is a learning experience.  I would probably enjoy myself even more the second or third time because I would know what to expect and I would have all of those tips and ideas I'd learned from before.  But will I go back?  Well...maybe.  Here's what I did gather about Bonnaroo...
 Bonnaroo is it's own world.  It will start to feel surreal for a while being so far from the modern world for so long.  It's really more than a music festival.  It's a place to be free, really.  Free of judgment, scrutiny, stress and the rest of the general modern-day bullshit we have to deal with.
The general kindness and open-mindedness was my absolute favorite thing about Bonnaroo crowd.  There was nothing you could do, say or wear that would get you made fun of or make you stand out.  The minute you drive through that gate, everyone is your friend, neighbor and fellow fest-goer.  Everyone is there to have fun and no one wants to stop anyone else from doing that.  High-five strangers, share your goods and feel free to dance your back-side off.  Enjoy this ambiance while you can, because we all know it's not like this on the outside.

So will I go back?  Probably not. And not because it wasn't amazing, because it was!  I probably won't go back only because going to Bonnaroo means shedding your responsibilities for a few days and escaping the real world.  With two kids, it's not that easy to do.  This is why I say, go to Bonnaroo while you can!  Before you get married and have kids and swamp yourself in a busy career, run off to Tennessee and party with the hippies in the middle of nowhere to at least say you did.  Everyone should do it at least once.
Also, I'd like to find a more family-friendly music festival. There were a few kids at Bonnaroo and I'm not one to judge, but there was a LOT of herb-smokin going on as well.  I'm hoping to find a more music-centered festival to take the kiddos to someday.  Perhaps Austin City Limits or Hangout Fest.
Who knows. Maybe I'll change my mind and go back afterall.  When I hear certain songs, I do get all nostalgic and miss it a lot. 
Bonnaroo is amazing!

To read about my Bonnaroo 2012 trip, click here.
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4 comments:

Melissa said...

Some great tips Jess! It really sounds like Bonnaroo is a world all on its own. I'd love to experience it some day, but it's just so far from home! I'll have to settle with Osheaga for now :D

Baylee said...

Gah. I am still jealous you went. I loved each and every one of your posts so much.
This tip is great:
"-Freeze water bottles for the cooler. We had one of those 5-day coolers and we had about 30 frozen water bottles in there and we only had to buy ice once on the last day, which was $4. The nice thing about the frozen water bottles is you can take a couple out each day to take to Centeroo with you."
I seriously, never would have thought of that.
Also, I nominated you for an award on my blog..check it out here:
http://stopcents.blogspot.com/2012/07/liebster-award.html

Have a great 4th!
-Baylee

Lauren said...

Great post. Very helpful, I've never been to a festival like this, but it's nice to know the tips in case I do go someday, thanks for sharing Jessica! :)

B E C K Y said...

Sounds like a blast. I hope to go to an awesome festival at some point.

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