Bonnaroo was unlike anything I've ever experienced. If you are a music lover and have considered attending this annual festival, be prepared to sweat 20 gallons a day and share close quarters with 100,000 other people. Here's my experience:
- After driving a little over 5 hours to Manchester, Tennessee, we spent another 8 hours waiting in line on the shoulder of the interstate. Everyone was re-routed because the farm that Bonnaroo is located on was apparently a big mud hole after the previous night's rain, and they wanted the ground to dry up before people drove in and got their cars stuck. People were getting out of their cars to go pee behind trees near the road. One girl close to our car picked a rather leafless tree to hide behind, and she wasn't peeing.
- There is virtually no shade. The heat got up to 99 degrees and the handful of trees on the farm were always surrounded by people. Four days of boiling sunshine. Oh we wore sunscreen. Still came back lobsters. Sweaty, sweaty lobsters.
- It's a bit of a culture shock. If you live in a big city, or are used to being around several thousands of people, no big deal I suppose. Myself, I have always lived in small cities and mid-sized towns, so I was kind of boggled at first. I would say the majority of people were in their twenties, with some middle-aged folk, and even a few kids. Everyone was practically naked because of the heat, so we saw a lot of skin and a lot of tattoos (some were cool, some were god-awful).
- Not five minutes after we set up the tent, someone asked us if we wanted any hash. Drugs are everywhere. We were offered mostly weed and ecstasy. If that's your bag, I don't think you need to worry about bringing any.
- We of course could not see every band we wanted to. We did see Tenacious D, which put on a really awesome show, as well as Weezer, Regina Spektor, The Gossip, Stevie Wonder, and Ween. As badly as we wanted to see The Flaming Lips perform Dark Side of the Moon, the crowd was intense. We arrived at the stage early, but people were constantly pouring in and we were getting stepped on and overcrowded. Not to mention it was midnight and we were absolutely exhausted.
Over all, I'm glad we went, and the shows we caught were amazing... but never again. Too damn hot, too damn crowded. For $250, I'd like to be able to actually see the band playing and be allowed to bring in my own beer. If money and heat and crowds are no problem to you, I say definitely check it out.