the bonnaroo 411 (guest post by my favorite guy)

bonnaroo is here, and in the dukes household we are a fan.  well, i've been one day out of the eleven years it has been going on - but i married a man all things music, so the two become one thing makes US bonnaroo fans.  wahoo!  today i asked brad to guest post and give us a heads up if we are headed to 'rooo (i think that's what the cool kids call it and i try to be cool) this year or any other festival when it's hotter than hot outside.  take it away babe...

The Unofficial Survival Guide to Bonnaroo!

the 11th annual Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, TN is here!  It’s my favorite time of the year, and I feel very lucky for it to be my 8th trip to the farm.  Also, I have 6 of my best buddies coming with me – whereas I’m used to having only 1 or 2 friends along for the ride.
Sure, Bonnaroo is the greatest music festival on the planet – but what if it’s your first time?  There are a few things you just absolutely have to have for survival.  And if you aren’t among the fortunate to arrive in style with an RV, you need to prepare, and I’ll show you the ropes, kid.  I’ll show you the ropes.
To make this easy, we’re going to go in order of importance:
1.  Glass.  Don’t bring it.  Especially bottles of liquor!  The security/safety staff WILL search your car when you enter, and they will dig through your coolers like crazy looking for it.  In 2007 my friend Aaron and I grimaced as the staff confiscated our fresh bottle of Patron tequila.   Not a good memory.
2.  Water and Sunscreen.  Bring lots of this…it is usually a humid 90 degrees (atleast) throughout the weekend and if you’re going to even think of drinking a beer before the sun goes down you better be hydrated.  I have teetered on the edge of passing out from heat exhaustion in a port-a-potty once upon a time.  Not a fond moment.  Because then?  I jumped in the mushroom fountain to cool off.   That is desperation, folks.  Also – if you get a sunburn during the first couple of days, it’s going to be brutal the rest of the way.  Trust me.
3.  Shelter.  Next most importantly BRING SHELTER, preferably a canopy for you to hang out under while you eat breakfast, laugh with your friends and drink a few morning beers.  You will need a break from the sun from the time you wake up at 7AM until the music starts cranking on the stages around noon.  Do you really want to bake in the sun for 5 hours before the real party even starts?  I did it in 2004 and it was downright miserable.  Furthermore, I have brought a canopy to actually sleep in – using tarps to block out the sunlight as I sleep on my cot in the shade.  Using this method, I can usually sleep until around 10:00AM or later if I’m really lucky…which is crucial if you’re going to be dancing like a fiend in the silent disco tent or rocking out to Skrillex until 4AM.  For me, it is not even worth bringing a tent to sleep in.  Keep in mind – if you sleep in a tent, you WILL wake up at 7AM on the dot as you fry like a little egg. It is like clockwork.  I also recommend a battery powered fan to set near your face to keep you cool as you sleep – this also goes a long way!
Also, I was walking around the sporting goods store and discovered they now have portable misting systems!  which should cool the air by 30 degrees, as advertised.  I saw one for $50 I’m going to try out.
My system with the cot and canopy has worked well, but this should be a great addition for optimal comfort, considering the circumstances.  My system also will prevent further misery if it rains like crazy.  If your tent floods, you might be sleeping in the damp car –, i.e. 2004.
4.  Rain Boots.  It tends to rain every other year at Bonnaroo, and by rain I mean muddy madness.  It’s impossible to walk in it with sandals, and any shoes you like will get RUINED walking around in the mess.  Cheap water socks have also worked for me in the past, but they aren’t so cool looking.  I spent $20 at Tractor Supply years ago and it has been a great insurance plan.
5.   Food.  Food isn’t that expensive at Bonnaroo, but keep in mind you are doing A LOT of walking and burning a ton of calories and energy in the sun.  I eat like a maniac from the vendors at Bonnaroo (hot dogs, ice cream, burritos, oh my!) but preparing in advance can save you some big time money.  Same goes for beer.  I tend to bring in a few Clif Bars, beef jerkey, and a couple pieces of fruit to snack on during the day.
6.   Schedule your day!  There’s an app for that, too!  There are so many incredible acts playing at any given time and it’s kind of a chore to figure out who you’re going to see.  How is a guy like me supposed to choose between The Shins and Bon Iver on Sunday?  It’s not fair!  But at least I can plan it out so I don’t miss too much of the fun.  If there’s a band in particular you really really want to see, I suggest showing up early for a good viewing spot.  Also, some of the best times at Bonnaroo is the chance to discover a new favorite band you’ve never heard of.
7.   Make friends with your neighbors at camp.  You never know when you might need a favor, plus they will look out for suspicious activity at your camp.  And just be smart – I’ve never ever had a problem with anything getting stolen from my site, but play it safe and don’t leave anything valuable in plain sight.
A few other vital items to remember:
Baby Wipes (crucial! Especially if you don’t shower for 4 days!!)
Gold Bond powder (trust me)
Camping chairs
Phone charger
Coolers (ice is available onsite, at a reasonable price)
Beer/mixers/soda/liquor (and I repeat: not in glass bottles!!)
A flag/kite/something to identify your site from afar…or just remember a flag that’s close to your site..there’s tons of them
A good attitude, rain or shine!
oh…and don’t bring babies.  you’ll get dirty looks.

1 comment:

Kassi @ Truly Lovely said...

Sounds like 2004 was a rough year.... hahaha! Loved this! If I ever go to Bonaroo (or any similar event), I will keep these in mind! I just want to visit Nashville! :)

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