5 Things I Learned at Bonnaroo

I was reading a few blogs and sites and was inspired by their “Top *insert number and subject here*” and I thought I’d do the same. Here are the top 5 things I learned at Bonnaroo this year.

1. Plan to Have a Plan (and then change it)
The thing about Bonnaroo is that you can plan your day down to the minute if you feel so inclined. What you might not realize is that there might be extenuating circumstances that will require you to change your plan (and sometimes, it’s for the better.) For example, we wanted to just sample some music at the Ford Focus Lounge before journeying off to a tent. Instead, we found ourselves in air conditioning, with a bandana full of ice, on a comfy car bench, listening to great music from people we never heard of. It was a great way to beat the heat and discover some new bands and tunes. We walked by our intended tent a little later to find it packed to the brim and all the shade taken. I’m fairly certain we would have died from being in the hot sun with nary a breeze to cool us down.

2. Port-a-pottie Musts
With events like Bonnaroo and Coachella, there are no real bathrooms, only port-a-potties (unless you are staying in a house in which case, goody for you). The thing about port-a-potties is that they suck. So I have a few suggestions for a better port-a-pottie experience.

1. Find the least populated port-a-potties: Sounds like a given right? Or maybe too much of a hassle? It pays off. Most of the stages aren’t too far away from each other and generally have a cluster of bathrooms to go with it. If you end up at a stage with a really popular act, the bathrooms around there will be packed at best. I wandered around a bit and found some with a smaller line and some that were hardly used! So much cleaner.

2. Bring wipes: They get nasty in there and generally don’t have seat covers. While I was dumb enough not to think of this, I saw someone with an wipe cloth. Such a simple and smart way to try and add some cleanliness to an otherwise disgusting… device.

3. Realize spatial constriction: If you are carrying around a backpack (like myself) don’t expect to take it in there with you. It just won’t fit. Use a larger port-a-pottie if possible or chance leaving it outside. I usually hid mine under my towel.

4. Go before it gets dark: While this might seem obvious, it’s really not. No matter how much artificial light they have outside, it will not be enough illumination. Go when it is still light out so you don’t risk running into something nasty.

3. It’s ok to sleep during the festival
It gets hot there. Crazy disgustingly hot there. And you will be woken around 7 a.m. sweating in your tent having only gone to bed a few hours ago (maybe more). Not a problem! Music at Bonnaroo doesn’t start till noon. You can wander in after being rudely awoken by the heat, find a shady tree, lay down your towel and sleep. How else are you supposed to have all the energy needed for your music packed day?

4. Make water and shade a priority
I don’t care if you’ve been waiting years to see a band play, you will not enjoy it if you are on the brink of passing out. Before Bonnaroo even started someone was laying on the ground in the line to get in. Also, my travel partner Kristen was light headed from not having enough water/food before getting there and needed to lay in the shade before she ended up like the girl in the line who needed a medic. Now, I know it can be a pain in the ass to carry around a water bottle but it’s for your own good! And try to go to the fountains before and after the noon rush hour. It will insure you won’t wait in a jumble of people for 20 minutes with low water pressure or a broken tap. Filling up your bottle should be first on your list when you get in!

Also, shade may not be abundant, but it exists. If you can’t make it into the tent and the sun is blistering your back (there were some seriously lobster red burns!) go sit in the shade. You can still hear your band play and cool down enough not to be so sweaty that you can’t apply your much needed sunscreen. And if that doesn’t do it for you, revert back to rule #1.

5. Explore
The great thing about Bonnaroo is there are many activities and vendors to explore. In a single day you could; do yoga,  build your own drum, learn to dance with a hula hoop, eat potstickers and samosas, buy some sandales made from recycled materials, and of course, enjoy lots of bands. There is much to do and see at Bonnaroo. It even has it’s own post office! There is much to be explored at Bonnaroo and your experience there will be far better if you see all it has to offer.


Just be sure to remember these notes for next year 🙂