June 13-16, 2013
Manchester, TN: I love Tennesse! Driving through the mountains on the way to Tennessee is so beautiful! Plus you have music city and music highway leading you right to it! It’s perfect.
Great Stage Park aka “The Farm”: Centeroo is pretty awesome! There are tons of stages, which really are not that hard to get around unless you are moving to or from the main stage. That needs to be fixed! It funnels and takes forever for people to cross either direction. There is a fountain you can dance under, and a bunch of vendors and sponsors to check out, and a post office surrounded by gardens and Planet Roo. Bonnaroo really does have so much to offer you! However, as beautiful as it is in Tennessee, there are hardly any trees inside the venue! You are not allowed to camp anywhere near the trees, they actually separate you from most of them with fences, which means no hammocks and no shade. Plus depending on where you are stuck camping, you can be at least a 45-minute walk away. That can kill your entire day! Also, there are not any permanent roads, and very few permanent structures, which is surprising to me for such a huge festival.
Eek prices are certainly up there, but I guess they feel like they can do that because they have so many acts and sell out every year!
- Price level 1: $224.50 + $26.30 service fee = $250.80
- Price level 2: $234.50 + $26.30 service fee = $260.80
- Price level 3: $254.50 + $26.30 service fee = $280.80
- Price level 4: $269.50 + $26.30 service fee = $290.80
- VIP Package for 2: $1449.50 + $80.90 service fee = $1530.40
- RV Camping Pass: $200.00
I’m not a huge fan of the camping set up at Bonnaroo. You can only camp in large open fields, with no shade or trees anywhere. Plus campsites can take up to 45 minutes to walk to depending on where you are placed. I was actually really confused on Wednesday night when they pushed all of the people arriving for general admission to Pod 1 camping, because it takes about 30-40 minutes to walk to Centeroo from there. Normally festivals reward you for arriving early and give you the best camping. My advice: arrive early Thursday morning! Those cars were given the closest camping, which is really all that matters for camping at Bonnaroo because there are no trees and not much to see except maybe Shakedown Street. I’m still giving Bonnaroo a couple points though just for having options such as Groop and Tent Only camping.Groop camping is for groups of friends to arrive and camp together. Tent Only camping is my personal favorite spot however and my secret to surviving Bonnaroo. They open it up Thursday morning and it normally fills up rather quickly. How it works is you leave your car wherever they direct you to camp when you first arrive, and then grab as much as you can carry and grab a spot in the field. It is literally the closest campsite you can be to the Bonnaroo arch—I highly recommend it!
Bonnaroo provides bus, plane, and car options for whatever you need!
Most people who fly use the Nashville International Airport (BNA) which is 60 miles by car to Manchester, TN. They provide an Airport Shuttle to and from the festival. Others fly into Chattanooga (CHA) which is a quick 80 mile drive to Manchester, TN, or Knoxville (TYS) a spontaneous 150 mile drive, or Atlanta (ATL) which clocks in at 195 miles to Manchester, TN.
Security was pretty crazy this year, but I guess that can be expected for a festival with 80,000 people. I was just amazed at how in depth they searched my car and bags when I first arrived. Normally festivals look for basically fireworks, weapons, and glass, opening your cooler and just feeling around your bags. But the security checking my car literally took all of my clothes and camping gear out of every bag, finding nothing of course. It took them 8 minutes to search my car, no wonder I waited in line for 3 hours! In and out ofCenteroo was not much easier, they took almost everything out of your bag each time you entered. And finally the Mounty’s! I’m not a huge fan of the Mounty’s. I’m not sure that anyone else calls them that or if that’s just what I have always called them, but the Mounty’s are security that are on horses and are all over the festival, in both the camping grounds and Centeroo. My biggest problem with them is that they are horses, so they of course poop everywhere, leaving nasty messes for people to step in—often people who are not even wearing any shoes. Plus the horses often look frightened by the amount of people around them, and horses can be dangerous!
All of the true FestiPeople at Bonnaroo were of course amazing as always! The difficult part of having a festival as large as Bonnaroo, is that some people are just not genuinely there for the music. I noticed a lot of people going around the campgrounds who clearly were just there for profit, whether they were selling their own illegal merchandise or perhaps bad drugs. There also seemed to be a ton of people that would just walk right into you, and not even think about apologizing, which I am totally not used to at a festival. Some people were just simply rude, and that made me sad.
HOT! But Bonnaroo is always hot, it is known as the hottest (temperature-wise) festival of the year. And there was hardly any rain. Nights were perfect!
HANDLING OF THE WEATHER:
Bonnaroo knows it is hot, and tries to do a lot to keep people cool! Other than the What and Which stages, all of the other stages are in tents or have shade. There are places you can go with air conditioning, plenty of water around, and a giant fountain you can dance under. Just beware of the fountain as the days go on – the water is recycled so it can get pretty gnarly!
Bonnaroo’s lineup is HUGE! They really do give you so many bands and plenty of options including comedians. I do wish there was slightly more jam bands and perhaps slightly less hip-hop, but that’s just me being picky.
The musical options are endless at Bonnaroo – just wander and enjoy! Gov’t Mule was a favorite for sure!
Sir PAUL McCARTNEY! I mean—how can you beat a Beatle?! I was really upset at Mumford and Sons having to cancel, but I wish Ted Dwane a fast recovery. Jack Johnson agreed last minute to play instead, and even wrote a song about the situation titled “Bonnaroo.”
LATE NIGHT SHOWS:
The music never stops at Bonnaroo! The superjams are some of my favorite shows at the Roo, be sure to catch all of them!
11 STAGES! How is that even possible?! Plus the names make me laugh because of the confusion behind them.
- What Stage: The main stage. There is a VIP section towards the side, VIP risers on the side of the stage for elevated viewing, a giant pit in the front for the serious fans, 2 screens giving you an up close view of the music, and a massive field to fit 80,000 people!
- Which Stage: Very similar to the What stage, just smaller. Still has a VIP section to the side, a giant pit in front, 1 screen, and a massive field.
- This Tent
- That Tent
- The Other Tent
- Bonnaroo Comedy Theatre hosted by IFC: Air-conditioned! Comedy! Real seats!
- New Music On Tap Lounge brewed by Miller Lite: This is really nice little area featuring newer, smaller bands. It almost always has music going, and it has wonderful little beanbag chairs to rest on!
- Café Where?
- Silent Disco: If you haven’t had the chance to try silent disco, it is great! Basically, it is always a DJ set and everyone puts on headphones and listens to the music and dances. It is hilarious to watch because everyone is going crazy dancing, but you can’t hear any music!
- Sonic Stage
- Solar Stage
Bonnaroo also has some bonuses, that are not exactly stages or part of the lineup, but they definitely deserve mention:
- Cinema Tent: Features different movies and the NBA finals. It is great if you need the air conditioning and a break!
- Planet Roo Academy: Features daily workshops in art, theatre, percussion, belly dancing, break dancing, mushroom growing, hula hooping, and gardening!
- Broo’ers Festival: 20 different breweries! Who doesn’t love beer?!
- Fiesta Garage tent: Complete with a stage and live performances, phone chargers, and a free bandana and shirt!
Plenty of stages are great, but I did notice some problems with them. At times the sound was not great unless you were right in front of the stage, and that shouldn’t be the case. Also, it was impossible to see most of the time because there were so many people and the grounds are really flat. Anytime I was in a tent, I felt like I was being bumped into constantly or at least really crammed in. With no real room to dance, how do I get my groove on?!
There was a new 5K they started this year called the Roo Run, although personally I couldn’t imagine running in that much heat! They also have The Wall which is full of art and creativity of all the FestiAddicts!
Bonnaroo has a ton to offer, but they could do more here. As I said there are hardly any trees. There are a couple of tented areas that have interesting lights, and the barn was themed with Christmas lights. They had some epic fireworks shows,
Noms!! Endless choices at Bonnaroo!
There are tons of vendors throughout the venue selling all sorts of clothing, art, and gadgets!
Three different types of yoga classes every day!
Bonnaroo has tons of workshops for you to learn and explore! Hooping and hoop building classes were just some of my favorites.
HELP THE ENVIRONMENT:
They did their best to recycle, and Clean Vibes was out cleaning up the grounds – but as a whole Bonnaroo creates so much waste and people leave a huge mess, both in the venue and in their campgrounds!