What stage, which stage, this tent, that tent, the other tent… trying to get your head around the Bonnaroo experience? While this guide can’t help you memorize the stage names and locations, it will help you prepare for the magical, four-day music festival in Manchester.
Guru’s Bonnaroo Guide Features:
- Top 5 Bonnaroo Tips
- What to Wear
- Where to Buy Festival Attire
- Insider Advice
- The Experience
- What To Bring
Top 5 Bonnaroo Tips
1. Go with the flow.
Bonnaroo is one of those places where you live in the moment. It’s a true vacation from reality. Go with the flow, be spontaneous, and soak it all in.
2. Leave technology behind.
Your phone probably won’t work well anyway, so this is a great opportunity to leave tech behind.
3. Hydrate and avoid sunburns!
Don’t get sunburned on the first day — you’ll be miserable. Wear sunscreen and drink a lot of water. It’s really hot in Tennessee.
4. Discover new music.
Your favorite show will probably be the one that’s not on your schedule of bands you want to see.
Check out all the other options Bonnaroo has to offer other than music, from yoga to waterslides to volleyball to cinema.
What to Wear
A lot of girls are in shorts, skirts, bathing suits, dresses, or some sort of combo. If you have outgrown showing your midriff, just wear a dress or shorts and a tank top during the day. At night, it does get chilly. You will want to pack a pair of jeans, sweatshirt and long-sleeved shirt. As far as shoes, as long as it isn’t raining, you can wear comfortable flip flops or sandals. Just remember — you’ll probably walk miles per day and it may get muddy. Tennis shoes or boots are good to have, too. Warm pajamas are also recommended.
Guys are usually in t-shirts, tanks, and shorts, and many will just go shirtless. Jeans and a long-sleeved shirt may be more suitable at night, since it does get in the low 60s. Comfortable sandals and tennis shoes are the norm.
Where to Shop for Festival Attire in Nashville
We searched Nashville for great places to buy festival attire. Here are our top local store recommendations:
- Try to arrive at an odd time: Odd hours are usually less congested, but you just never know. Some people wait hours in traffic and others are in within minutes. Usually the less convenient the time, the better (at least for traffic).
- Rise and shine to avoid bathroom lines: The line for bathrooms are really long at some points of the day. If you are an early riser, you win in the morning. Most people wake up around 8am or 9am once the sun comes up and it’s too hot to sleep. If you can wake up and go to the bathroom around 6am or 7am, lines are unlikely. However, if you wake up at 9am and have to go immediately, the wait may be 30 minutes long. During the day, the lines aren’t bad, maybe 5-10 minutes. When you feel any urge, go ahead and get in line. Don’t wait. Also, you will hear, see and smell the port-a-potty cleaning trucks. Do not go to the bathroom while they are cleaning. Once they leave though, get in line because it’s the cleanest they will be for a few hours. Overall, the bathroom experience isn’t as bad as everyone expects.
- Sleep when you can: The cool temperatures at night make it easy to sleep, but if you’re partying late, you’re out of luck. When the sun comes up around 6am, your tent turns into a sauna pretty quickly. Try to catch some additional z’s in Centeroo under the trees or skip a night or two of late-night acts. A sleeping mask and ear plugs are very helpful — you never know if you’ll be located by the late-night stage or karaoke lounge.
The Bonnaroo Experience
When you mention Bonnaroo to most people, they only think of music and camping — but there’s a whole other side of Bonnaroo, too, which is hard to explain if you’ve never been before. While music and camping make Bonnaroo’s heart beat, the other stuff is what makes Bonnaroo truly special. If you want to know what Bonnaroo is all about, here’s a snippet.
Bonnaroo always has a variety of amazing acts, including big names like Elton John to lesser-known bands like The Wood Brothers. There is a little bit of something for everyone, whether you want to stay up until the break of dawn or just enjoy the daytime shows.
Camping might scare some people away, but it’s one of the best aspects of Bonnaroo. You’re just a short walk away from showers and food vendors, so it’s easier than your typical camping excursion. Having a fun crew to hang out with at your campsite is always a bonus, too.
THE OTHER stuff
What is often most memorable is the other stuff — the people, places and things that come together to create a one-of-a-kind experience every year. From the breathtaking views on the ferris wheel to people wearing weird outfits, these little things bring life to the festival. Here are some of those other great things about Bonnaroo.
➤The Ferris Wheel
Everyone at Bonnaroo should ride the ferris wheel. You can truly get a grasp of how many people are sharing in the experience.
Morning yoga is always a good way to start your day and work out the kinks, especially after walking miles and dancing the night before.
➤The Water Slide
The water slide is a fun way to cool off and get reacquainted with your your Slip n’ Slide days.
Buy something from the awesome vendors on Shakedown Street. You can get anything from clothes to souvenirs to jewelry, which make for great mementos.
➤The Brooers Festival
This is for all you beer lovers that want a tasty brew during the festival. Get draft beer from dozens of breweries, including Yazoo and TN Brew Works.
Artists spend hours, and sometimes days, creating wall art for everyone to enjoy as they make their way to the festival entrance. Bring some spray paint if you want to get creative.
➤The “All You Need Is…” Wall
People fill in the blank with their ideas of what they need. Some ideas are more thoughtful than others. Nevertheless, it’s a fun way to engage people, and it’s definitely entertaining to read.
➤Snake & Jake’s Christmas Club Barn
Things get crazy at Snake & Jake’s, and you usually have to dress wacky to even get in. This is perfect for your late-night dance grooves.
If you’re scared of typical vendor coffee, have no fear — Frothy Monkey is on location at The Grind Coffee Barn. A cup of Frothy coffee makes Roo mornings way better.
➤Totems (aka Friend Finders)
The totems (aka friend finders) are the easiest way to find your friends in a sea of 80,000 people. It’s fun to make one and see if you can come up with an eye-catching, easy-to-see totem pole. It seems like people are getting more and more creative with their totems each year. Security isn’t a fan of these, but they are fun and helpful if you can get them in.
➤Spicy Pie Pizza
Spicy Pie is a favorite among almost any festival goer. It might be $6 a slice, but it’s worth every dime.
➤Chillin’ on a Blanket
Some of the best moments are chillin’ on a blanket with your friends or significant other. You don’t have to be in the middle of the crowd to enjoy the music.
➤People Getting Weird
If you like people-watching, Bonnaroo has you covered. It’s the one weekend out of the year where people seem to really let go.
➤A Double Roo Rainbow
Moments like this double rainbow are memorable and fascinating. You can always expect something cool to happen during your stay on the farm.
This is just a glimpse of what Bonnaroo is all about. A camera can’t capture every moment, nor should it. It’s impossible to explain the friendships, both new and old, that develop at the farm. If you want to try something different, exciting, and inspiring, this is it. Bonnaroo is one of the coolest experiences in the world, and we’re just thankful it’s so close to home.
What To Bring
If you’re looking for the ultimate packing list for Bonnaroo, check out Bonnaroo: What To Bring.