OK, I promised you a more detailed post about how to maximize your experience at Bonnaroo. With only 5 days left (anyone else as amped as I am?), read through this post if you have any concerns about how to do Roo. The following is a list of frequently asked questions and important Bonnaroo subject-matter that I did my best to answer. These questions and answers can be translated and applied to whatever music festival it is that you are going to this summer, as well. There are still tickets available for Bonnaroo, so get your acts together and I’ll see you guys on the farm!
1. FOOD AND WATER
What type of food is available to buy?
Think about a community event on Main Street, USA. There will be rows and rows of food to purchase, most of it centrally located around what you can only call “Shakedown Street.” All the typical festival food is available, pizza and gyros and the like. There is indeed a good selection of veggie food for those of you who go that route. Check out the grilled cheese on Shakedown. There is a vendor called Bearly Edible. In 2010, I subsisted almost entirely off $1 grilled cheese sandwiches from this joint. They are the best grilled cheese sandwiches I have ever had in my life. You won’t regret it! Other things to check out are mozzadillas.
How are the prices for various foods/objects?
Not too bad actually. They will fall in the range of typical festie prices. Beer is around bar prices. Food on shakedown is cheaper than Centeroo food, but not a whole lot. These people have to make a living too. If you don’t want to buy food often, bring granola bars and a cooler and shit.
Is the water they give out for free alright for drinking?
It’s not bad at all, they wouldn’t feed it to you if it wasn’t safe. The water comes from a few central wells located around the farm. Chances are you won’t notice the taste anyway. It’s going to be hangin out in the 90′s all weekend; DRINK IT. You can opt to bring your own water from costco or Kroger or whatever… bring as much as you want. I’ve seen people walking around with milk jugs full of water. Look into a CamelBak.
2. SHOPPING AT ROO
If I forgot something crucial would I be able to buy it?
Depends on what it is. There will be a general store tent with “groceries.” Things like sunscreen, glow sticks, pens, notepads, girly products, and other necessities will be available. They will have condoms, tooth brushes (teeth brushes?) and the likes. Prices are pretty high for most things. Better to not forget important stuff.
How much money should I bring with me?
That’s entirely up to you. If you want to go cheap you can do it for around $100. If you plan on buying swag, party favors, etc. I would suggest bringing $300-$400. I’ll probably be hanging out in that range.
3. CAMPING QUESTIONS
How do I stay cool in my tent?
Some kind of fan is a good idea but the really elaborate fans will be too much. Those air-conditioning things that use cooler ice to chill you don’t work in the Bonnaroo humidity, so better to leave that at home. Otherwise, wear light clothing, drink lots of water. Avoid drugs and alcohol, or at least excessive use of either – they will raise your internal body temperature. You can also buy ice at Roo, and you can just pour ice water on your head every so often. I usually have a bandana that I soak in water and put back on every hour or 2.
Can I park a car next to my RV?
“The Companion Vehicle pass will allow an accompanying vehicle into a designated camping area next to the RV camping areas. Companion Vehicles will not be allowed to park directly next to an RV. The Companion Vehicle must arrive together with the RV so it can be parked in the appropriate corresponding area. Make sure you stay together as you approach the site. Companion Vehicles will not be allowed to park in the RV area fire lanes. Any vehicles or obstructions will be removed at the owner’s expense.”
How big can my tent be?
If you go the tent-only route, it can be as big as you want. Car camping is a little more cramped, but still not bad. You can still have a big tent, but be sure you don’t encroach on your neighbor’s space… If they need to get out, they probably wont hesitate to run all of your shit over! A lot of people bring shade tents and ez-ups. I plan on making tarp-city with the 4 cars my crew is bringing.
What kind of tent should I bring?
That’s up to you but make sure you seal the seams so its waterproof. Also, throw a tarp under it (this shouldn’t be necessary with a good tent, if you do use a tarp make sure that none of it sticks out from the sides of the tent otherwise it can collect rain and funnel it under where it will stay). Make sure you keep it closed up when you leave. Nothing worse than coming home at night to a wet tent.
How’s the weather/what type of clothing should I bring?
It’s HOT in the daytime, make sure you stay cool. I hesitate to use the word “chilly,” but it won’t be 100 degrees at night. You can get a little bit chilled, so bring at least an extra layer or too. I recommend sleeping in socks (if your feet are cold, you are cold). The sun will probably wake you up by 8:30am.
Tent-only definitely sounds appealing…can you tell me more about it?
You have all the space you want, and its super close to Centeroo. The drawback is not having a car, and not being able to store valuables and lock them in a car, etc. The thing about tent-only that is not so fun is carrying all of your stuff from the car. Still, it’s probably worth it.
Can I bring a grill?
Yes, it used to be that you could bring a small charcoal grill, but no gas grills. However, in the last few years they revamped this policy and small gas grills have been deemed OK. Just be careful with it, and let your neighbors use it!
How is the trek from where you camp to Centeroo?
It varies from 3 minutes to 50. Learn the route as soon as you set your shit up. Don’t try to find your way home for the first time at 4am. You will probably get lost.
Is there a limit to how much stuff I can bring in?
Nope. There may be a limit of 3 cases of beer per person that you are allowed to bring in Bonnaroo in general.
How do you usually carry your tent, coolers, etc to tent-only?
Either with a friend, or a cart of some sort. Some people bring wheelbarrows or wagons. It’s up to you.
Are there plenty of bathrooms in the camp area or do I poop in the woods?
There are plenty of potties. Bring extra toilet paper, just in case! Please don’t poop in the woods…
Are there a lot of bugs at Roo?
I have never seen anything other than spiders, and this seems to be the general consensus that I have heard here on the board. Keep the tent zipped so you don’t have spiders in it, other than that, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Mosquito don’t do well in the heat and humidity. There may be some, and some gnats, but nothing crazy. Also, lightning bugs can make an appearance but they are awesome and if you are scared of them you shouldn’t be allowed outdoors anyway.
How easily will I be able to get my vehicle in and out of the camping area during the festival?
They park all the cars in super long rows, one after another, so unless you are on the edge (which is unlikely) you probably wont be able to get out.
Are there generally Internet or WiFi sites on the premises?
I’ve heard there is WiFi on the farm, but that it doesn’t work well. There should be a tent with computers to check email and the like, if need be, and probably a phone charging station.
What are you supposed to do with your trash?
They give you a trash bag when you go in, and they collect it later. Bring extra trash bags, and try to separate the trash from the recycling. If it starts to smell at your campsite, there are dumpsters on the outskirts that you can drop your trash off at. If you can, try and spend a little time cleaning up every morning, keep the farm clean!
Is there enough space in regular camping to have an ez up shade and a 2 person tent side by side?
Yes… probably. Be space-conscious and efficient.
What’s the best way of bathing? Is there a way?
Baby wipes!! Or a portable shower. There are also wash stations scattered around, where there is a trough and a zillion faucets. They work out okay for most people. Its drinkable too. There are usually mist tents around, too – they are cold, and crowded. There are also shower trailers that may charge as much as $7 for a shower. They water may not be warm after day 2. Seriously though, suck it up.
Can I cheat the system if I have a VIP pass and get all my friends in my car to camp VIP with me?
You must have a VIP bracelet for each member of your group, otherwise they will not be allowed into the VIP area. So, on VIP ticket per person, not per car.
4. CENTEROO QUESTIONS
What is Centeroo?
Centeroo is the main area where all of the shows and other official activities take place. There will be security to get into Centeroo (you walk in, so this security is entirely different than the security that checks yourcar upon initial arrival at the farm).
What kind of activities are there other than just the concerts?
There is a playground, art to view, the VW garage has instruments to play. It is all on the Bonnaroo website.
Is there cell service? I want to make sure I have a way to keep up with my group.
Personally, I have Verizon, and my phone worked well all the time. I have heard that T-mobile works well, but Cingulair can have some problems during the day. The other good way to keep up with your group is to have designated meeting places and times. Walkie talkies work, but are sketchy. If you use one, make sure it has a ton of channels, otherwise all you will hear is everyone except your friend.
Are late nite acts scheduled or just by chance?
All of the acts are scheduled. The only one that remains ambiguous is the superjam.
What is the Superjam?
The Superjam is a chunk of time set aside where we don’t know who is playing. It tends to be a bunch of random artists from the bigger bands at Roo, who get together and, well, jam.
Is there a security checkpoint on the way into Centeroo?
Yes, it’s not too bad. They will allow you to bring in sealed water bottles and small snacks. Alcohol is not permitted into Centeroo. They want you to buy their beer. If they start to take too long and search really thoroughly, the crowd tends to be restless and start to push a little. Don’t quote me on the easy security though. Don’t bring shit in that will get you in trouble. I’ve seen bad things happen. Also, security will pick up after the initial surge of people heading in for the first big band of the day. Once the majority of people are in Centeroo, there will be smaller lines and less restlessness, so the security can search for a couple of extra seconds. Don’t do anything stupid.
Are you allowed to bring in any beverages to Centeroo? What about food?
Snacks are okay, and so are sealed water bottles. Everything else is a no-go.
Can you bring folding chairs to shows, or just use them by your tent? Is it a pain in the ass to lug them around?
They are awkward to carry, and most people leave them at the camp. You can take some into centeroo if they are low ones (I forget the height requirements, but not much taller than a crazy-creek). There are also little stools and things that are easier to carry.
Are there vendors close to/inside the camping area that sell ice?
Yes, or freeze your water bottles and drink them later. Dry ice is an option too…
What about my Camelbak? Can I roll into Centeroo with it filled? Should I take it up there empty along with a sealed gallon of water?
It really depends on the line that you get in… I have seen people go in with their camelbaks unchecked, and I have also seen people being forced to empty those (and water bottles) out onto the ground before entering.
5. DRUGS AND ALCOHOL
Where can I buy drugs and alcohol?
Well, that’s a fucking stupid question. Drugs are illegal, and State of Glow does not condone the use of illicit substances. Alcohol, on the other hand, is found in abundance at Roo. You can buy it from vendors or the guys in the tent next to you. You can purchase your own booze ahead of time and bring it onto the farm, but you can’t take it into Centeroo, and you cannot bring glass into the venue.
I like beer, but what if I want to drink wine or rum. How do you recommend bringing it in without bringing it in glass?
Will plastic containers work for both wine and rum?
Bonnaroo’s official stance is that no glass is allowed anywhere on the festival grounds. Use your best judgment, and recycle all your empties.
They sell beer in Centeroo… do you have to drink it in the beer tent, or can you carry it around?
Yep, go for it. They only thing you can’t do is take it from the camp to Centeroo.
6. GETTING IN AND SAFETY
How early can I arrive?
They’ve opened the gates at 7-7:30 Wed each year. Whether it’s out of convenience for them or as punishment for the early-birds, the Wed night arrivals seem to be stuck in the SE corner of the farm. Whether this is good or bad, its hard to say. It’s a pretty far walk to Centeroo, but it’s closer than the NE corner at least.
Is there a map of Bonnaroo available?
Yep, here are maps of Bonnaroo and Centeroo:
Does it matter what time you get there?
Everyone has a different opinion on this…
How much do they search one’s car upon entry?
All vehicle entering the grounds are subject to search. There have been reports from folks who had little or no search at all, to those whose vehicle was torn apart.
Is there a shuttle from the airport?
Yes there is. I hear its around $55.
How safe is a woman traveling and camping alone at Bonnaroo?
You should be fine, Roo is a big family! But still, be careful.
How safe are my possessions?
Most of the people at Roo are nice, and wont mess with your stuff. That said, use your common sense, keep anything valuable out of sight and in your car, and ask your neighbors to look out for your site, and offer to do the same for them. You should be fine.
Got a question? Leave me a comment! I’ll answer everything before I take off on Tuesday (driving cross country for Roo). Any of you SoG-ers going to Roo? Let us know! See ya’ll on the farm!