How To Bonnaroo

Bonnaroo Chris - Tips, ideas and memories from the Bonnaroo Music Festival


Hi, I'm Chris and I love music.

I'm a huge fan of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival which I first attended in 2007.  I've met thousands of people and have witnessed some amazing music and comedy performances. Each year I've attended is a badge of honor that I wear proudly.  #RooLife

With a lifetime of attending concerts, I have a box full of concert tickets and so many fond memories. I decided to catalog every show I've ever been to. It is a labor of love in progress which can be viewed on my Concert Timeline.

This site is dedicated to everyone who has gone or wants to attend Bonnaroo AND to music fans everywhere. Be warned that I present a lot of information on this page. None of the content here is officially sanctioned by the festival, just so we're clear. Also, I've incorporated affiliate ads in this blog from brands that I trust and recommend.

If you're in the market for a fun and handy bandana, please check out the one I created.

Connect with me: Facebook  /  Instagram  /  Pinterest  /  YouTube  /  Spotify  /  Twitter  /  Flickr  /  RedBubble  Or email questions: BonnarooChris@gmail.com. 

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."  ~ Helen Keller


THE ROO 

Imagine this: Get to Tennessee and into a line of cars that could last a few hours. Upon entry, a team will search your vehicle and your coolers and apply wristbands (your ticket). You will be directed to a campsite the size of a parking spot, where you'll immediately scramble to claim your space. Say hello to your neighbors as the tent city grows while people arrive through the day and night. Go to a nearby Plaza or find Shakedown Street. You'll meet folks from all places and of all ages, sizes and sobriety. Walk to Centeroo (the concert field), where you'll get in line for a search and have your wristband scanned. (It'll be scanned when you leave too.) Inside Centeroo, you can access all the entertainment and vendors. You'll witness amazing musical acts and see a lot of strange and wonderful people. You'll survive unrelenting heat. You'll discover great food options, crazy costumes, fireworks and fun surprises. You'll dance.  You might get lost. You will get a high-five. Everything you own will get covered in dust.

You'll try to ingest as much music and fun as you can humanly consume. Then everybody goes home and sleeps.

A good attitude is required. The mantra of the festival is #RadiatePositivity. You're in a circus-like refugee camp for the weekend. Bonnaroo is a once in a lifetime experience so take the good with the bad. Pray it rains a little but not a lot. It will be brutally hot and your body could swell slightly from all the sun and humidity. There will be huge crowds. 99% of the people you will meet are really nice and they're just going through the same insane experience as you. Get to know some of them! Be a good neighbor and lend a hand. Share your shade if your neighbors are melting in the sun. I bring jumper cables which get borrowed each year. I've yet to see a single fight. It's the camaraderie and goodwill of all of us that make this festival special and enjoyable.

PLANNING FOR ROO

Planning for Bonnaroo

Get in the mood. Stream Radio Bonnaroo right now.

Obviously, read Bonnaroo's website and understand the rules. But the #1 tip is to be nice. If you plan on being a disrespectful jackass, please find another festival.

Festival Friends: The number of people going-to-the-festival is critical to the planning process. I've had countless friends express interest in going with me to Bonnaroo and only a fraction of them actually signed up when the time came. For planning purposes, set an in-or-out deadline and move forward.


Team Roo


Pack in / Pack it out. The amount of trash left behind every year is staggering. Plan ahead and leave no trace.

If you are solo and looking for a ride OR have room for passenger(s), get on Inforoo or Zimride or social media and let the people know.

*Ask for time off from work as early as possible. And start a savings schedule! Put away $ each month. Time it right and you'll have enough for the ticket when it goes on sale on Black Friday, plus some spending money.

*Start a workout plan with lots of cardio. You'll be able to see more shows while looking good!

A Cool View: Get the lay of the land with this Google map of the Bonnaroo grounds

Bonnaroo Google View


BONNAROO CHECKLIST

Bonnaroo Checklist
Download my Bonnaroo Checklist! You don't need everything on the list but you don't want to forget anything either. Includes helpful tips and a blank section to write notes.

Click the image for the larger version and download or print. 

Here is a free gallery of my Bonnaroo-themed memes and artwork including wallpaper backgrounds and Facebook profile headers. 

TICKET TYPES

Bonnaroo Chris - General Admission

GA = General Admission
You get admission into the festival which includes a wristband, some swag, two plastic bags (garbage + recycling), a parking space, and a campsite the size of a parking space. Within walking distance will be porta potties, shower facilities and information plazas (formally pods). Vendors are located near Centeroo or in certain pockets around the campgrounds Your proximity to Centeroo will greatly vary - from a couple minutes to an hour, it just depends on where you get camped and you won't know that until you get there. The GA line into Centeroo is always long before popular shows. No benefits inside Centeroo aside from awesomeness.

Pros:  It's cheap and it is the most interactive. You can't help but meet folks from all over. It's wild and dusty and fun. Cons:  Tiny camp space. Long lines. Wild, dusty fun. Bottom Line:  The only way to truly experience Bonnaroo.


Bonnaroo Chris - VIP

VIP = Very Impressive Perspective
Same deal as GA except ... you get a different color wristband and some additional swag like a poster and a shirt. You also get a private entrance into the festival and VIP camping opens Thursday morning so there's no traffic. The camp spaces are much roomier. Instead of porta potties, they're air conditioned trailers with bathroom stalls. The showers are the exactly the same except they're free. There is a camp lounge that offers a/c, a bar, a row of laptops with internet and a myriad of seats, tables and games. You're camped right next to Centeroo, never more than minutes away. You go through the VIP checkpoint which looks exactly like the GA version except nobody is in line and you literally 'walk in' most of the time. Once inside, there are two lounges, similar to the camp version. Then there are the viewing areas. The What Stage viewing area has lawn chairs set down the hill and a bar at the top with bathrooms on the backside. The hill is on the far side of the What, so leaving a show takes a little longer. The Which Stage VIP offers a Pit Area which is very close.

Pros:  Wow. It's pretty sweet.  Cons:  You may have to go back to GA someday.
Bottom Line:  Worth every penny.

UPDATE: GA+ and Platinum are new ticket tier options.


Bonnaroo Chris - Artist and Guest Passes

Artist + Guest
Artist and Guest credentials each have their own benefits. Tell jokes or get your band to play at Bonnaroo for a coveted Artist wristband (You get to camp in the trees!). Guest benefits vary but are similar to Artist.
Pros: / Cons:  Party with the rockstars.  Bottom Line:  I'm practicing my ukulele.

ROO FAQ

Bonnaroo Crowd

What's the deal with buying tickets? 
Sometimes, because of the pricing tier system, the purchase process gets bogged down when the sale starts. Make sure you have a stable internet connection and have your payment info handy. Even still, you should be prepared to not make it in the early tier. Never pay more than face value for a ticket! If you're patient, you can score tickets being sold at the last minute in May at, or often under, face value.

What time should I arrive?
A popular question. The campgrounds open Wednesday afternoon. Pay attention to the times, as they can vary year-to-year. Volunteers get there on Tuesday. VIP arrives Thursday morning. Early is better in my opinion.

How much money should I bring?
If you are bringing your own food and supplies then your expenses should only consist of:  Showers, which are $10 ea;  Food from the Centeroo vendors averages $5-15; Beer is $7-10 ea; and souvenirs, like t-shirts, will run you $40+ each.  A lot of food vendors are available 24-hours a day. You can find all types of food you want including vegetarian options. I suggest a budget of $250. Always bring emergency cash though credit cards work everywhere at the festival. Keep it safe, just like your car keys.

Is there a faster way into Bonnaroo?
The entry line of traffic used to stretch up to 20+ miles. It's much faster now but we should all be patient and courteous. Do not start partying in your vehicle as the state cops will not hesitate in ruining your weekend.

Are there any LGBT meetups? 
I'm not actively looking but here is a thread on Inforoo.com.

Is there a Al Anon/Sobriety group?
Yes, it's called Soberoo. They have a support tent inside Centeroo and hold meetings at Noon, 4pm, 8pm & midnight each day.

How do I volunteer?
I've always volunteered for a charity partner of the festival. I think the best place to start is C'roo or www.cleanvibes.com.

How do I charge my phone?
I use a few battery reservoirs that, collectively, get me through the festival.  There are a variety of sponsors in Centeroo that offer charging stations, often for free. The catch is it's usually first come, first serve and you have to wait nearby, unless you're completely trusting of leaving your phone unattended ... which some people do. The CHRGR booth offers a $30 program which issues you a charged battery, duel droid/osi cable and three tokens to switch out for new batteries. You get to keep the last one. It charged my Galaxy from 0 to about 60%.

It's easy to sneak in glass, right?
No. Bonnaroo is ruthless about it. They will search your car, no matter how much crap you have packed in the vehicle. All it does is slow the line down. Transfer liquids into plastic or metal containers ahead of time.

What's the deal with fake Bonnaroo swag?
Bonnaroo actively looks for fake swag during the entry process. Still, there will be salespeople dropping through your campsite with t-shirts and other memorabilia. Typically, the t-shirts are less expensive but also lesser-quality than the official stuff. Make your decision quickly, you will likely only see that shirt or item once and it'll be gone.

What is the drug scene?
While it is not legally allowed, it is common to see and smell marijuana at Bonnaroo, both in the campgrounds and in Centeroo, day and night. The night shows are filled with people in the throes of MDMA or mushroom induced bliss.  I asked a girl one day about which shows she went to and she said, "the one's we thought we could get the best drugs." Sadly, she was ripped off and ended up with bunk product. It could have been a lot worse. In 2014, I escorted two ladies to the medical tent because they had accepted a drink from a cute guy and it had been drugged with Rohypnol.

I do not advocate drug use but if that is your intention: BRING YOUR OWN to be safe. If that's not an option, BUYER BEWARE. Ladies use extreme caution with free 'gifts'.



THE LAW

While the festival environment can be wild and carefree, it's important to know that The Law is still around. It's worth reading articles from The Festival Lawyer before you leave.

Know that law enforcement will be looking for vehicles with out-of-state-plates or 'Bonnaroo' written on the side and will LOOK FOR ANY REASON TO PULL YOU OVER and search your belongings. Be patient. The cops are profiling everyone for drugs, so wait until you're inside before you start working on your buzz.

This all-inclusive infographic is about your rights during police encounters. Know before you go.

The Law: Know Your Rights


ROO TRANSPORT

Use a vehicle big enough to haul the team and your gear. Don't skimp on comfortable chairs or larger coolers because of space. 

RV rentals in Tennessee and surrounding areas need to be reserved really far in advance so snooze and lose. You may still RSVP one in your local area and be sure to ROUND UP on your gas estimate. 

ROO CAMPSITE

Bonnaroo Campsite

Bring Shade: IT IS IMPERATIVE that you bring your own shade while at the festival! It will it make your camping experience so much better. The secret is to place your shade as high above you as possible so as to allow airflow underneath. Sun tents / EZ-ups are an easy way to start. Plus, you can run tarps over everything, including the sleeping tents.  Free-standing tent poles can keep everything lifted while rope or bungees will keep everything secure. Use tent stakes to keep your tent secure but be sure to push the stake to ground level so nobody trips over them.

I highly recommend an air mattress or cot to get off the ground while you sleep. It makes all the difference. I use a SlumberJack cot at Bonnaroo which is rugged and pretty damn comfortable. Get yours plus Free Shipping On Orders Over $49 At SlumberJack.com.

SETUP YOUR CAMPSITE at least one time before you leave for the festival. Get your crew together and try setting up your site within the dimensions of an actual parking space. Seriously. Get to know how to properly setup your tent(s) and tarp(s) and figure out what additional things you may need to make it work. (Extra stakes, rope, clips, etc) Your actual Bonnaroo campsite will be much better and you now have an excuse for 'Bonnaroo Training', aka 'hanging out with friends, setting up tents, goofing off,' etc.

Solar lights are a sustainable way to light up the campsite after sunset. MPOWERED.com lights are super durable. I've used them at Bonnaroo and highly recommend them for all of your camping and travel adventures!

IMPORTANT

Don't bring anything that you would heartbroken if it were lost, broken or stolen. Always lock valuables in your car and take extra special care of your keys. Close up your tent before you leave in case it rains so your stuff doesn't get soaked ... it happens a lot.

FOOD + WATER

Food and Water

Water:  DRINK WATER OR DIE. It's pretty simple. You'll get dehydrated just being there much less walking, dancing, jumping, drinking alcohol and everything else you'll be doing. There are plenty of water stations in the campgrounds and in Centeroo, just bring containers to carry it. I recommend a Camelback.

How do you know if you’re getting enough water? According to Wikipedia, “A useful rule of thumb for avoiding dehydration in hot or humid environments or during strenuous activity involves monitoring the frequency and character of urination. If one develops a full bladder at least every three to five hours and the urine is only lightly colored or colorless, chances are that dehydration is not occurring; if urine is deeply colored or urination occurs only after many hours or not at all, water intake may not be adequate to maintain proper hydration.”

Food:  No reason to starve on the Farm. You can bring your own food or there are vendors in the fields and Centeroo that serve a wide variety of stuff. You can find all types of food for every meal ($6-15) including the Food Truck Oasis that features trucks from across the country.

There are also easy and cheap home options. Example: I've pre-made lasagna and burritos that could then be warmed up on a campstove.  Sealed tupperware and locking Ziplocks work well to keep your food dry from cooler water. I suggest packaging everything by meal. You will have less packaging to dispose of onsite and everything can be washed and reused. Use heavy duty coolers as the styrofoam or thin plastic coolers are worthless.

Dry Ice: All that food isn't easy to keep cold. You will pay $4 for each soggy 10lb bag of ice at the festival. Dry ice is actually frozen carbon dioxide. A block of dry ice has a surface temperature of -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit (-78.5 degrees C). They sell it in 5-lb blocks at some grocery stores. Call ahead to yours and see if they have it.

I use dry ice in a large cooler to keep bags of regular ice frozen. Put three blocks of dry ice in the bottom of a large cooler. Wrap the blocks in a small towel or newspaper, (the ice is so cold it will freeze your skin or the plastic of the cooler if it comes in contact. Even with the towels, anything you put in the cooler WILL freeze), and then fill the cooler with 10lb bags of regular ice. Keep the cooler in shady spot and cover it with blankets/sleeping bags/tarps. With this process, we didn't have to buy ice for 3 days.

*Avoid sticking your face in the cooler to cool off as the carbon dioxide evaporates and could, potentially, suffocate you and THAT would suck. Plus, you're melting the ice!

**The rule of thumb is, food is safe only if the cooler still has ice in it, even a little bit. Keep it cold.

I love my army of Igloo Coolers! Get yours before you need it at igloocoolers.com.


Amish glazed donuts

Chris' Veggie Lasagna
Serves 4 to 6

1 jar of your favorite tomato sauce
3 Garlic Cloves (or minced from a jar)
1 Large Onion - chopped
2 Yellow, Red or Green Peppers - chopped
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
1 container of sliced mushrooms - roughly chop
1 package of mozzarella cheese or Daiya cheddar
6 small green zucchini, trimmed & thinly sliced
6 small yellow squash, trimmed & thinly sliced
3 large carrots, trimmed & thinly sliced
2 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
6-12 large basil leaves
Add red pepper flakes for spice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

• In a big bowl mix: tomato sauce, garlic, onion, peppers, thyme, mushrooms, salt & pepper and 1/2 package of cheese together. Set aside.
• Spray shallow baking dish with Pam or rub with a little olive oil.
• Spread a light layer of the tomato mixture in the baking dish. Layer each of the vegetables with a tomato layer in between. Add basil in the middle. Add cheese. Layer tomatoes, top with remaining cheese. Cover with tin foil. Cheese may stick to tin foil so wrap lightly.
• Bake: 45-min to 1-hour. Let it cool before putting it in the fridge. Once cooled, cut into portion sizes and put in a tupperware or foil or ziplocks.

Lasagna Tips:
- For more taste, sauté the garlic, onions + peppers before adding to mixture. Experiment with spices like Steak Seasoning, cumin, or rosemary.
- Easy substitutes: frozen corn & peas, frozen chopped onions & frozen mushrooms.

ROO LIFE

Bonnaroo Chris - Centeroo

Centeroo is where most of the entertainment happens. And here's what you need:

Sun block: Use it.  
Bandanna: A must have. You can soak it with cool water to tie around your neck to cool off. More importantly, you can tie it over your mouth to keep out the traffic dust when you're walking. 
Money: Cash is king but most vendors take credit cards. Protect both carefully.  
Ziploc bag: Be prepared for a surprise rain shower or a dip in the fountain.  
Earplugs: I'm dealing with tinnitus (ringing of the ears) from going to concerts without ear protection. 
Light: A headlamp will guide the way professionally but any flashlight will do.

The entrances to Centeroo get crowded right before major sets. Go early or late to avoid the wait.

Bring comfortable footwear! You'll walk several miles over the weekend. Endless walking and unpredictable weather can make your feet angry. I've worn sneakers, sandals, boots, flip flops and 5-finger shoes. Wear what feels best for you! Do not wear brand new shoes to the festival, break them in first. I love KEEN Footwear and highly recommend their shoes and sandals for festivals, camping, travel or just lounging at home.

Bring a lawn chair or blanket for concert lounging. (The concert fields get a little funky by Sunday.) Also, if you want a good seat for a particular show, you need to get there as early as possible. A chair or blanket will hold your spot while you pee or get drinks.

Embrace the lines and crowds and make friends with people around you, particularly in the tight crowds before shows.

Front row advice: The experience, especially if the band is popular, can be fun but a bit intimidating. If you feel like you can't handle it, don't panic! Make your way out calmly and politely and find a spot that feels right for you.

Enjoy yourself. Forget the outside world and learn to appreciate the moment.

Bonnaroo photo by Raylon

AVOID

Glass: Don't bring glass of any kind. Glass is a problem in any campsite. On Bonnaroo's scale, it's a nightmare. Cars, hippies and clean-up crews all hate broken glass. Imagine getting glass shards between your foot and flip-flop. Not cool.

*Can't find a decent beer in a can? Ask your favorite pub or package store if they will order something for you. Don't wait until the week before to do it.

The Sun: I strongly recommend a big-floppy hat and long-sleeved shirts or sunscreen. Skin cancer sucks. Use sunscreen!

Porta Potties: Bonnaroo does a good job of keeping them clean so don't give the staff a hard time. Bring your own buttwipe, just in case. Wait until your toilet paper roll is 1/2 or less. Start wrapping it around a pencil until you have enough to fit inside the toilet paper tube. Perfect for travel.

*Grab some extra handiwipes from the fast food restaurants on the way to Bonnaroo. Perfect for a quick clean on a questionable seat.

Tinnitus: (aka Ringing in the ears) Tinnitus caused by short-term exposure, such as attending a loud concert, usually goes away; long-term exposure can cause permanent damage.  Wear ear protection. After 4-days at Bonnaroo, you’ll be glad even if you wear them once in awhile. I have tinnitus and it sucks.

Binge Drinking: It's a marathon, not a sprint. Stay hydrated and pace yourself, especially during the day. DRINK A LOT OF WATER. Maintain your buzz but grab a water or some lemonade between brews.

Crappy night photos: New digital cameras/phones have a concert or firework setting which works great. If not: Turn your flash off at night unless you're taking a picture of something up-close. No flash tends to make things blurry so make sure the band (or whatever) is well lit and HOLD STILL while taking the photo. It may take a couple times to get proper focus.

Chafing: All that heat and walking can make for some discomfort. Baby powder or some Gold Bond will help. Put on fresh underwear as often as possible. Keep your junk dry.

Kuhl offers great outdoor wear for guys and girls. I have six pairs of their pants because they're so comfortable. Shop KUHL.com for the complete selection of their award-winning apparel. Click here to see what's new.


Make friends in the Bonnaroo crowd

LADIES

Advice from lady veterans of the festival.

CLOTHES: Avoid tight shirts + tank tops, they get uncomfortably hot really fast. Loose and breezy is much better.  Sundresses will keep you cool + take up little packing space. Also, linen skirts. Wear bicycle shorts under short dresses/skirts.  NO rompers! Do you really want to be naked in a port-a-potty?  Love your body and rock a bikini top!  Bring a cover-up in case it gets chilly.  A light jacket/sweatshirt will help when the temperature dips, plus it works as a pillow or you can sit on it.  Wearing a bikini means you can dip in the fountain on passes through Centeroo. Waterproof your stuff with zip lock bags and get someone to hold it while you refresh.

Bandannas! If you're nice to vendors, you can get them to scoop a cup of ice into a bandanna which is heaven. Bandannas are really useful for covering your mouth and nose during the dusty walks and for wiping away the funk.

Ladies Security Tip: Keeping cards or cash in your bra but afraid it will fall out? Buy a cheap padded bra and cut a line across the inside of the cup and sew a folded pocket into the material. Works great!

Ladies Shoes: Leave your fashionable shoes at home. But don't wear flip-flops the whole time either; they're great for excursions to the shower/porta potti. Sanuk type-shoes or Chacos are recommended. Closed-toe is preferable at night. It's hard to see exactly what you might be walking through. *shudder*



Hair: Use big and floppy hats to keep the sun at bay. Use anything to keep the sun off your face & neck! Headbands, hair ties or scrunchies to pull your hair up. 

A word of caution if you're considering a Indian headdress as part of your ensemble: it is considered disrespectful to the American Indian heritage. Some festivals have banned them completely. Try an Indian flower headband instead, as it is a more common ornament, with no sacred significance.

Dry Shampoo quickly gets rid of the greasy-ness and is great for the gotta-go situation ... just know it's not actually cleaning your hair, which you'll wanna do at some point.  TIP: Get your hair washed and braided at the salon in Centeroo in the morning: you'll get a ticket, then you can go to the cafe for coffee, while you wait for your appointment.

HYGIENE: Shave the day before you leave. Roo showers are $10 each and include shampoo. They open at 7:00 am and the line forms quickly on the girls side.  Don't forget your towel. Baby powder, baby wipes and Gold Bond cream are all handy.  Carry hand sanitizer, toilet paper and a spare tampon. Bring cranberry juice pills, AZO Relief Tablets or antibiotics if you are prone to UTI symptoms. DO NOT keep toiletries, food, medications or anything else in the car that may potentially melt.

"Don't worry about makeup, lol."

ROO RV

Bonnaroo Chris RV at Night

PROS:   + Air conditioning. So nice.  + Beds, kitchen & shower.  + Bathroom. We used it for #1 only which is perfect for the early morning pee and if it's raining.  + Storage.  + If you're in VIP RV, you are in close proximity to the concert field so you can move back and forth quickly.

CONS:  - Cost: Cruise America ain't cheap, yo.   - Gas Mileage: sucks. Be prepared for the $.   - You'll be camping with generators running, some all night. It's always noisy and not nearly as intimate or as festive as the tent city.

Run the generator for a/c as much as you want. It doesn't use a lot of fuel and it makes all the difference in being able to enjoy the festival. TEST EVERYTHING when you pick up your RV.

Driving a motorhome, especially a big one, is not for the meek. Going through the construction barriers on the interstate made both ends of me pucker. Also, the rigs are a cop magnet. There are a fleet of rental and non-rental RVs descending on Manchester and the cops in Tennessee and the surrounding states are aware of them. My RV was pulled over in 2012 to see if I was "wearing my seatbelt." (I was, thanks.) Again in 2014 because my "windshield wipers weren't operating during inclement weather". (It wasn't raining at the time.)  Ultimately, I was free to go each time but the lesson is learned. Don't speed and don't party on the way in. Definitely don't do both.

If you're renting, make your reservations early. Don't wait until May to start looking as they go fast. Call to confirm a few days prior to departure. They are busy and you don't want to get screwed (Almost happened to me). The hardest part should be squeezing people and gear into a car just to get to the RV.

Bonnaroo Chris RV


RV STORIES

2012 - We had 6-people. We rented a 28-ft RV from Cruise America for one-week which came to just over $1200 and required a large deposit. Add to that: filling up a 50-gallon gas tank four times ... It was about $600 in gas.

The interior consisted of an intimate two-man cabover (bunk over the cockpit), two single beds on either side of the main cabin, (left side was table and seats; right was a couch.); and a bedroom in the back with a queen size bed. Small but functional kitchen, bathroom and shower. The bathroom was used for pee-only so as not have any odor issues. We opted to use the shower for storage space. They have service trucks running around every day offering water fill-ups and sewage dumpouts for $50.  We rented the back bedroom to a young couple from Dallas, TX. They paid-for and used the companion pass, met us on Farm and lived up to the term 'southern hospitality'.

2013 - There were two of us. We borrowed an old model 30' Winnebago, which was not fun to drive because of its size and lack of suspension. Plenty of room inside though. We stayed in VIP RV which was a field with endless rigs lined up. Generator noise and exhaust fumes were an issue. Our carbon monoxide alarm went off a couple times so ventilation is very important. But sleeping-in with comfy a/c is really unbeatable.

UPDATE: Hookup sites are now available.


LEAVING ROO

So hard to say goodbye. It's unlikely but your car in GA could potentially be blocked-in until late Sunday. Try not to be in a big hurry to leave. Monday is much easier and you get to savor the last night on the Farm.

-  I get the most requests to borrow jumper cables on Sunday night and Monday morning. 
-  If you have a heavy vehicle and it rains a lot, you may want to move your car up-and-back each day to prevent sinking and getting stuck. A foot or two is all it takes. 
-  Leave no trace. The amount of trash left behind every year is gross. We can each do better.
-  Law enforcement is still around. It sucks returning back to civilization, I mean, don't these people realize what crazy shit I've just been through? Unfortunately, being a part of society means following certain rules. Traffic laws are a good way to ease back into it.
-  Setup your tent as soon as you get home to let it air out. And clean the car too.
-  Be advised that you will have some serious laundry on your hands. Some of those items might not make it back. 
-  Get rehydrated, eat some nourishing food and hope you don't the Bonna-Flu. (I did in 2011. Knocked me down for three days.) 


FIND CHRIS

I went to Bonnaroo and found Jesus

Each year, I bring Bonnaroo gifts that I give away to people that find me or random people that I meet. It's pretty easy to find me. Sean found me in 2014:



PAST ROOS 

My blog includes posts from each day of every Bonnaroo I've attended. The posts are inter-connected to you can easily binge read through a weekend. Enjoy!

2007  |  Thu - Fri - Sat - Sun - Mon
Acts I saw:  Clutch, Cold War Kids, Kings of Leon, The Nightwatchman, Tool, Ben Harper, The Police, Sasha & Digweed, Gov't Mule, Wolfmother & The White Stripes
How was it? Totally unprepared and the weather was unbearably hot. Still, it was magical, I fell in love with the experience and my favorite moment was watching the sunrise on Sunday morning.    


2008  |  Thu - Fri - Sat - Sun - Mon  
Acts I saw: Lez Zeppelin, Drive By Truckers, Les Claypool, The Raconteurs, Willie Nelson, Chris Rock, Metallica,  BB King, Zappa Plays Zappa, Levon Helm and the Ramble on the Road, Pearl Jam, Israel Vibration, Jakob Dylan and the Gold Mountain Rebels, O.A.R., Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Death Cab For Cutie & Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi’s Soul Stew Revival
How was it? Metallica AND Pearl Jam! This was a fun year and we were much better prepared. My favorite moment was when the alarm went off at 1:30 am telling me it was time to go to Kanye West's set and I decided to sleep in. 


2009  |  Thu      I missed it.  :(


2010  |  Thu - Fri - Sat - Sun - Mon
Acts I saw:  The Entrance Band, Baroness, Local Natives, Neon Indian, Conan O'Brien, The Steep Canyon Rangers, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, Tenacious D, Kings of Leon, The Flaming Lips, Imelda May, Truth & Salvage Co, Jimmy Cliff, The Dead Weather, Weezer, Stevie Wonder, Jay Z, Clutch, Dropkick Murphys, Phoenix & Dave Matthews Band
How was it? A fun year with cooperative weather. My favorite moment was when Jay Z paid homage to Stevie Wonder, who played the stage before him. Legends. 


2011  |  Wed - Thu - Fri - Sat - Sun - Mon
Acts I saw:  Wavves, Freelance Whales, School of Seven Bells, The Knux, Sleigh Bells, Matt & Kim, Atmosphere, Wanda Jackson, Ray Lamontagne, Florence + the Machine, Primus, Arcade Fire, Bassnectar, Lil Wayne, Henson Alternative's 'Stuffed & Unstrung', Portugal. The Man, Mumford & Sons, !!!, The Black Keys, Buffalo Springfield, Eminem, Scissor Sisters, Omar Souleyman, Bruce Hornsby, Gregg Allman, Cold War Kids, Robert Plant, The Strokes & Superjam with Dr John and Dan Auerbach
How was it? The most crowded year I've attended. And it was freaking hot. My favorite moment was 'Mission Icefly' when paragliders dropped thousands of blinking led lights onto the unsuspecting crowd on Friday night. 


2012  |  Wed - Thu - Fri - Sat - Sun - Mon
Acts I saw:  EMA, The Lonely Forest, Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr, Phantogram, Alabama Shakes, Big Gigantic, Tune-Yards, Two Door Cinema Club, Fitz & the Tantrums, Feist, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Radiohead, Foster the People, Black Star, The Word, Blind Pilot, Flogging Molly, Puscifer, Mogwai, The Roots, Dispatch, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alice Cooper, Gary Clark Jr., The Black Lips, Grouplove, The Beach Boys, War on Drugs, The Joy Formidable, The Shins, Fun. & Phish
How was it? Amazing year, hot as hell but I was sleeping in an RV with a/c. My favorite moment was getting to the rail to see Puscifer. I had to go through Flogging Molly to get there! 


2013  |  Wed - Thu - Fri - Sat - Sun - Mon
Acts I saw:  Reno 911 Sheriff's Department's Bonnaroo Drug Safety Seminar, Haim, Deap Valley, Djang Django, Father John Misty, Alt-J, Local Natives, Of Monsters and Men, Foals, Paul McCartney, The XX, ZZ Top, Pretty Lights, Gov't Mule, Portugal The Man, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, Matt & Kim, Bjork, Jack Johnson, R. Kelly, Weird Al Yankovic, Billy Idol, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Sheepdogs, Bob Saget, Improvised Shakespeare Company, Tame Impala, Divine Fits, Ed Helms Bluegrass Situation Superjam, David Byrne & St Vincent and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
How was it? The year I went VIP and it was legit! Lots of favorite moments ... Singing along with Paul McCartney, Bob Saget making fun of me, signing along with Tom Petty. A highlight of my Bonnaroo journey. 

2014  |  Wed - Thu - Fri - Sat - Sun - Mon
Acts I saw:  Omar Souleyman,  J Roddy Walston & The Business, White Denim, The Naked and Famous, Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, Ice Cube, Cake, Drive by Truckers, Grouplove, Cage The Elephant, John Butler Trio, Lionel Ritchie, Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, The Avett Brothers, Amos Lee, Wiz Khalifa, & Elton John
How was it? My first year going as a volunteer. The weather was perfect and the caliber of music top notch. My favorite moment has to be Jack White's amazing set.


2015  |  Wed - Thu - Fri - Sat - Sun - Mon
Acts I saw:  Unlocking The Truth, Ryn Weaver, Temples, Glass Animals, Benjamin Booker and Gramatik, Brown Sabbath, Royal Blood, Against Me!, BonnarRoots Community Feast, Guster, Tears For Fears, Ben Harper, Earth, Wind and Fire,  Deadmau5, Bleachers, War On Drugs, Wild Adriatic, Gary Clark Jr, X Ambassadors, Slayer, Mispers, TwentyOne Pilots, Awolnation, Florence and the Machine, Robert Plant, Billy Joel
How was it? This year was freaking hot. Back with the volunteer team and we rocked it. My favorite moment was singing along with the team during Billy Joel. Also, being thrown in the air by the Bonnaroo Cheerleading Squad was pretty neat.  


2016  |  Wed - Thu - Fri - Sat - Sun - Mon
Acts I saw:  Waxahatchee, Bully, Hundred Waters, Vulfpeck, Borns, Fidlar, M83, LCD Soundsystem, The Chainsmokers, Tame Impala, Post Malone, Cutch, Ellie Goulding, Pearl Jam, Givers, The Oh Hellos, X Ambassadors, Death Cab For Cutie, Lord Huron, Dead & Co
How was it? Another awesome year volunteering and the weather was mostly favorable. My favorite moment was when the festival was evacuated for a tornado threat and the entire team hid out for an hour. Luckily, the storm never hit. 


2017  |  Wed - Thu - Fri - Sat - Sun - Mon
Acts I saw:  Luke Combs, Hippo Campus, July Talk, The Orwells, Mondo Cozmo, The Lemon Twigs, Taurkauz, Klangstof, The Strumbellas, Car Seat Headrest, Cold War Kids, Kaleo, Tove Lo, The XX, Glass Animals, U2, Portugal. The Man, The Front Bottoms, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Teagan + Sara, The Head and the Heart, Chance the Rapper, Cage the Elephant, Red Hot Chili Peppers, SuperJam, White Reaper, Royal Blood, Milky Chance, Crystal Castles, Lorde, Badbadnotgood, Travis Scott, The Weekend
How was it? My first year going solo. It was awesome to roam freely but a little lonely back at camp. My favorite moment was participating in Zach and Katie's wedding proposal. Also, my picture was published in the Bonnaroo Beacon!


2018  |  Wed - Thu - Fri - Sat - Sun - Mon 
Acts I saw:  Ron Gallo, Lissie, Justin Jay's Fantastic Voyage, Durand Jones & The Indications, Space Jesus, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Sheryl Crow, Manchester Orchestra, Paramore, The Revivalists, Sturgil Simpson, Muse, Bassnectar, Superjam (Tom Petty), Rag N Bone Man, Old Crow Medicine Show, First Aid Kit, Bon Iver, Eminem, Sir Sly,  Alt J, The Killers
How was it? The volunteer team returns! It was a perfect combination of weather and music. My favorite moment was a fun backstage field trip that took place.  Also, our friend Ron slapped-the-hell-out-of-the-bag on Sunday night. 

2019
How was it?  I missed it. :(

2020
How was it?  We all missed it. :(



Bonnaroo message from Magic Hat

ROO FRIENDS

Inforoo   - The source, the mothership, home base

Poorvin.com   - One of the originals  

MusicFestNews   - Music festivals!  

Forever Bonnaroo  - Socially active Bonnaroo fans  

Concert Hopper  - Concert news and connections

The Festive Owl - Festival news (Also on FB)

Festival Snob  - Not actually a snob    

BonnaRooster   - Great Roo and music info  

Parachute People  - Shining positivity around the world   

Hatter Drums  - Design your own hand drum at Bonnaroo

Roo Bus  - The OG Roo Bus on new adventures  




GIVE BACK 

Please support local, national or international charities whose mission speaks to you. You'll discover a handful at the festival in an area called Planet Roo. Here are my charity recommendations:

ONETrack International is an international charity the provides long term support to orphans and orphanages in Africa, Southern Asia and Central America. OTI provides for all education, health needs and caretaker support for each child.

ShelterBox is a global disaster relief charity that deploys basic shelter and other life-saving items such as solar lights, water purification, tools, and blankets.  Aid items are tailored to meet the demands of each disaster situation and hand delivered by a volunteer Response Team.

To Write Love On Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. WLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.
Also, patients and caregivers of cancer and Parkinson's may each find free virtual laughter wellness workshops courtesy of LaughToFeelGood.com/wellness

ABOUT CHRIS

Bonnaroo Chris Tattoo

I'm Chris! I don't work for Bonnaroo, I'm just an outspoken fan. I have loved the festival since the first time I attended and each year has become a badge of honor that I wear proudly.

Why I decided to go to my first Bonnaroo:   A group of friends and I had planned to attend the VooDoo Music Festival, but it was 2005 and Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. So, ... two years later, a friend and I found the lineup to Bonnaroo appealing, (The Police, Tool, The White Stripes). We were a under prepared but it was a hot, exhausting and wonderful experience. We were excited for a return trip in 2008. And that's how it starts.

The reason I survived my first year was because of the information I found on Inforoo.com and Poorvin.com. They were the only online sources for Bonnaroo tips and information back then.  I started documenting my experiences online as a diary of my adventures with amazing music performances and countless people. It helps me keep some sense of order of everything I've seen on this long, beautiful journey.


Chris Alexander, Sarasota, FL

I live in sunny Florida, though I'm originally from the great state of Vermont. I work in marketing communications, mainly in the mon-profit sector. For those into photography or design, take a look at www.PortfolioChris.com to see my work.

Visit my RedBubble shop for unique art designs.

At Bonnaroo, I started giving out stickers to people that found me, like the festival version of 'Where's Waldo'. By 2013, thousands of people were actively looking for me just to get a sticker.  Along the way, I've become a muse for graffiti, online memes, a totem and an unofficial cheerleader for the festival.

I've leveraged my notoriety to mobilize for charity, once for the American Cancer Society and most recently for ShelterBox. In 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018, I coordinated volunteer outreach teams to the festival.

I am an affiliate for certain brands that I use and love. If you are looking to add affiliate marketing to your web presence, I use and highly recommend AvantLink. The sign-up process is super easy. Click the image to get started.



Thanks for stopping by! Perhaps I'll see you at Bonnaroo?



GALLERY


A special thank you to everyone who has been a part of my Bonnaroo journey. These photos are a small sample from over the years. 


Batroo crew and Chris

Chris and Alicia

Chris and the ShelterBox volunteer team

Bonnaroo Baggie and Bonnaroo Chris

Brian and Chris

Katie, Chris and Liz

Mike and Chris

Kelly, Chris and Ethan

Chris and Brian

Chris and Pondo

Chris and Denette

Zach, Taryn and Chris

Chris and Raylon

Chris and Mike

***

This is the end of the page but not the story. 

Cruise through my Concert Timeline to see a lifetime of shows and events. 

See my portfolio curated on Flickr at www.PortfolioChris.com.

Connect with me: Facebook  /  Instagram  /  Pinterest  /  YouTube  /  Spotify  /  Twitter  /  LinkedIn  /  Reddit  /  RedBubble  or email questions: BonnarooChris@gmail.com.