For the record, Steep In didn’t cover Bonnaroo. We are still working toward covering bigger name festivals. Maybe someday… Sayer and I went to Bonnaroo as GA attendees, though; and we thought we’d fill you in on what our trip was like. Note: we only brought a disposable camera because, unless you are press, professional cameras are not allowed. And, yes, we could have walked around with our phones; but nobody needs an expensive responsibility to carry around at a festival with 70,000 other attendees. Which reminds me: sorry this post is about 3 weeks late. I was without internet for a week following the festival. Then, it took a while to get the pictures developed. Is that enough excuses for you?
This year, the Bonnaroo experience became a whole lot easier. The festival was bought out by Live Nation. Because of this, we saw several upgrades in amenities this year:
- No more sulfur smell in the water
- Two giant bathrooms with actual stalls, sinks, and mirrors located in Centeroo–this is an extremely refreshing upgrade from the Porta-Potties.
- More showers
Despite the upgrades, Bonnaroo is HOT HOT HOT! This is an inevitable travesty, unfortunately. It’s Tennessee in the middle of June, so be sure to bring your bathing suits, bro tanks, WATER, and sunscreen. Having that said, I have a side anecdote:
Spray sunscreen was not allowed on Saturday. Sayer and I were naturally pissed. We are both pale and didn’t understand this debauchery. “We will get burned. Melanoma will ensue,” we exclaimed. Luckily, the decision to ban spray sunscreen was revoked only an hour later. Bonnaroo security recognized it as a miscommunication and moved on. Apparently, there was an issue on Friday night where adults were spraying sunscreen into other adults eyes. Later, we heard a rumor that what was being sprayed was not sunscreen. It was drugs. Yes, kids. Stay safe at the Roo. When at a music festival of this caliber, there will be bad people out there. Lock your shit. Hide your kids. Bonnaroo should not be an all ages festival. Note: this story is not from a reliable source. It is merely a rumor. I have no way of verifying it’s validity. But seriously, at any festival you should be cautious of strangers. There are some weirdo beard-os out there.
Secondly, there’s no right way to do Bonnaroo. That is, unless you are rich and can afford an RV and some VIP tickets. Let’s be real, though. I can’t tell you how many beers you should drink, what food you should eat, or what kind of tent you should sleep in. You will struggle to find a balance all weekend. Just stop. Don’t try. Bonnaroo isn’t about balance. As Sayer said, “it’s type 2 fun.” You just have to live with the fact that you will be hot, tried, and perpetually hungry.
Even though there is no right way to do Bonnaroo, I can give you a few tips and tricks to make your stay on the farm easier. Firstly, get to know your Clean Vibes Trading Post Tent. This is the best tent at Bonnaroo. You can fill up trash bags, recycling bags, or ziplock bags full of cigarette butts in exchange for prizes. One of the free prizes is meal tickets. I highly recommend this option. 1) Because food at Bonnaroo is expensive and, 2) because even if you bring your own food, ice is expensive. And if you don’t buy ice, you food will be “fucked,” noted Peaches (pictured with me below). Just make sure that as you pick up cigarette butts, you say to the cigarette smokers “no judgement,” with a smile on your face. Remember, Bonnaroo is all about radiating positivity. After all, cigarette smokers are giving hungry hippies a job. As far as I am concerned, that is economy stimulation. And that, my friends, is the American way.
Now, there’s music at Bonnaroo. Lots of music. And the best thing about it is there’s something for everybody. For example, I listened to Ellie Golding, Macklemore, and Lamb of God in the same hour. This year, LCD Soundsystem was easily the best headliner. Grace Potter (pictured below, but you can’t see, so what’s the point) was a close second. But don’t take my word for it because Sayer and I missed all of Sunday. Yes, the heat got the best of us. We are quitters. As a consequence, we missed Death Cab for Cutie and Dead and Co. But I still stand by it, LCD Soundsystem was the best headliner at Bonnaroo. They really gave it their all on stage. Considering the heat and the size of the crowd. That isn’t an easy thing to do. The proof lies in all of the half ass shows we saw. J Cole, for example. Love that guy, but his set just could have been better. My favorite show had to have been Lizzo. She is an amazing hiphop artist with lots of attitude. If you haven’t heard her music or been to one of her shows, do it. DO BOTH! Check out her Soundcloud HERE!
The best thing about Bonnaroo is that there is so much more to do than listen to music. You can, ride the ferris wheel, slide down the blow up water slide thing, buy souvenirs from the vendors, or visit the amazing comedy tent. First things first, don’t waste your money on the ferris wheel or the stupid slide. That’s for yuppies who want to take selfies and use lame hashtags on Instagram. And you’re no yuppie. You’re a Bonnaroovian. As for the vendors, wait until Sunday. Everything is on sale on Sunday. Just bear in mind that when you support vendors at Bonnaroo, you may be directly supporting small business; but indirectly and ultimately, you are supporting the man. Nobody likes the man. Support the vendors, though. Like a true hippie, I bought tie dye scarf, shirt, and dress on a buy 2, get 1 FREE deal. The comedy tent is the best attraction Bonnaroo has to offer. From the amateur, to the professional comics, you are sure to imbibe the best medicine–laughter. Beer helps too, if that’s how you roll at Bonnaroo. If you’re not sold, I’ll tell you this: the comedy tent is air conditioned.
If you’re the motivated type, guess what? Bonnaroo has something for you too. Bonnaroo reminds us all the we are just people and really, the only thing separating us is our personal interests–whether that’s meth or running or marathon, Bonnaroo is the place for you. No judgement. Positive vibes. Bonnaroo has fitness classes, including yoga and dance classes. There is even a 5K on Saturday morning. Be sure to poop beforehand!
And one final tip. If you find yourself at Bonnaroo, be sure to visit the Jesus Tent, located in POD 9. You will find free Bibles, ice water, coffee, lemonade, crackers, chips, and fruit. It doesn’t get better than that, my friend. There is also a worship service on Sunday with some pretty nice bluegrass music, might I add.
Hope to see you on the farm next year, folks.