Bonnaroo Music Festival was more sensory overload than one night in Bangkok. The experience was an unforgettable orgasm of music and community love. Located in Manchester, Tennessee on open acreage, this four day summer festival brings more and more music lovers together every year. The summer I went, 2014, there were 90,000 people in attendance.
The headliners were Sir Elton John, Kanye West, Jack White, Lionel Rithchie, Vampire Weekend and hundreds more bands. Prices cost around $320 for the general entrance fee and $60 for car and parking pass. Prices can be cheaper if you buy the early bird tickets. The prices are still high but the number of bands and notoriety of the bands is worth considering.
I spent Bonnaroo with my crazy best friend. When we drew closer to the festival grounds traffic piled up and our anticipation climbed. People in backed-up cars honked, waved, and cheered with one another in excitement. The community love began to well up uncontrollably before we entered the Bonnaroo gates. While setting up tents and scouting out the best food stalls my friend and I high-fived and shouted with many fellow Bonnaroovians.
Bonnaroo offers not only musical performances, but comedians, dancing, art, movies, games, and more. Musical performances begin in the morning and go until 4:00am for night owls. Food stalls and especially showers are pricey, so if you want to go cheap prepare enough supplies to last you the four days of madness. Bring plenty of food, water, rain camping gear, and wet wipes for those smelly pits.
My favorite part of Bonnaroo was the endless stream of high-fives I encountered every time I passed between the camping and the music area of the festival grounds. Bonnaroo is a place to simply enjoy.
If you are like me, a wimp, Bonnaroo will be overwhelming for you. The huge crowds, the constant parties, the endless music options and the movement of thousands of people gave me a high. So, prioritize your performances, because you will most likely get tired before you’re ready to be tired. Or, if you’re a fighter, go for it!
My favorite performances were Sir Elton John who played impeccably, almost non-stop for over an hour, Kanye West who gave a performance that caused the same audience members to both cheer and boo, the magical Andrew Bird, Lauryn Hill, Grouplove, and Streets of Laredo. If you want the big crowds go listen to the big names, but if you like room to dance and maybe get a chance to meet the band, go watch the little guys.
Bring extra goodies to share with your neighbors and prepare to party your pants off.