ROOOOOOOOO. This is probably one of my favorite music experiences I’ve had the pleasure of attending. Music festivals are where it’s at, yo.
The first year I got to go to Bonnaroo was in 2016 – I had won a day trip (thanks do615) from Nashville to attend one day of the festival. We got to take a bus that dropped us off and picked us up. All the drinking to be had, with no worries about sleeping in a tent or driving home. With Bonnaroo grounds only located about an hour outside of Nashville, it was a pleasant experience. However, this didn’t truly prepare me for the next year where my friends & I spent the entire 4 days at the festival.
First time festival go-ers, we were. And we had no idea how to navigate the grounds, the schedule, & how to manage our time to get the best experience (but by no means am I saying it wasn’t the absolute BEST TIME I’VE HAD). We just didn’t realize to be picky about who we go see, when to nap, & to bring as many fans as we can muster. It was insanely hot during the day, but got super chilly at night. The hot sun would wake you up at daybreak (about 6 or 7 in the morning), interrupting the deep sleep we so desperately needed.
To better equip you for your Bonnaroo experience, here are some tips:
– Be choosy about which events you attend
There are multiple stages & things going on all at once (music sets, comedy sets, yoga, & more!), so it can be a little overwhelming. Bonnaroo has an app where you can add the things you want to do to your schedule so you can better manage the fun activities you want to attend. I would suggest preparing this before you get to the festival.
– Take naps during sets you don’t have any investment in
I stayed up for bands I didn’t really care about & couldn’t make it for the big headliner sets past 10pm. If you’re on festival grounds for sets your friends want to see, but you’re not totally crazy about the set, bring a blanket, post up, lay down & close your eyes. You can still enjoy the music this way & maybe take a snooze to re-energize you for the rest of the day/night.
–Bring as many portable fans you can get your hands on
Yo – the humidity during the time of Bonnaroo is NO JOKE. When chilling at your campsite with no semi cool air blowing in your face, the sweat just pours out of you. If you do anything, INVEST IN ALL THE FANS. Bring as many portable fans as you can. YOU. WILL. NEED. THEM.
–Don’t over drink
Now I know it’s a good ole time to enjoy some beverages and go to a concert, but attending a festival is a whole other ball game. It is a FULL DAY of festivities & rest is hit or miss (hence the naps tip). Don’t go too crazy. Have a nice buzz going all day so you can survive.
–Bring a bathing suit & play in the iconic fountain as much as you can
Again, it gets hot hot hot. I didn’t utilize the fountain enough & I regret it for sure. It really cools ya down & can keep you cool for a little while when the sun is beaming down on ya.
–Be prepared to wait in a lone line to get onto the grounds
There are a TON of people who attend Bonnaroo, therefore the long line of cars you have to wait to get in to actually set up your campsite is no joke. Buuuut, if you go in prepared knowing you will be sitting in your car for a while, it may make it a little more bearable.
I’m sure there’s so much more I could tell you but these were the most important takeaways I took from my experience & stuff I would do differently the next time I get to go. Just don’t have high expectations, go in with a chill attitude & just enjoy the experience the best way you know how. You’ll definitely probably have post concert depression, festival edition.