Since we are now bonafide Bonnaroovians, we thought who better than ourselves to put together a first-timers guide to ‘Roo? Our first time at Bonnaroo was incredible, life changing, and overwhelming.
The festival covers 700 acres and it’s almost impossible to see and do everything…which is why we're committed to coming back next year! Following are some tips and tricks to make your first time at 'Roo a little more successful. Enjoy!
1. Buy early, buy often. At times Bonnaroo has sold out. Not always and not every year, but it has happened. It’s crazy to say because roughly 90,000 people descend on Manchester to take part in the 4-day festival, but you don’t want to wait until the last minute and be without a ticket. If you can’t afford to drop the whole sum in one installment, you can opt into a payment plan. Payment plans are only available for tickets purchased early. If you’re really lucky (and vigilant) you can score discounted early bird tickets.
2. Plan. This is actually a part of the Bonnaroo code: “Prepare thyself!” Being truly prepared for Bonnaroo takes trial and error. There are things that I will adjust for next year, but here’s what we can tell you.
Wear Sunscreen. It is hot. You will sweat. Bring extra. If you're camping, plan out your site. What kind of tent will keep you the coolest? Do you want to make a flag to easily identify your site?
Make sure you pack enough food and water. Food at the festival can get very expensive. Are you going to bring a grill? You’ll need charcoal.
Have others in your group look over your list to make sure you’ve got everything you need to have a successful weekend. Bring shower shoes and money for the showers. Bring extra toilet paper and hand sanitizer with you in your backpack when you head into Centeroo or when going to the port-a-pottys .
There is nothing worse than working up the nerve to head into one of those and realizing that there’s no TP and no way to clean your hands.
Don’t forget to read the code and the rules before you leave home. You don’t want to have to leave anything outside the festival because it’s a non-approved item.
Items in my Centeroo Backpack:
Empty reusable water bottle
Moisture wicking towel
Baby Wipes/Nature Wipes
Extra hair ties
3. Clothing. Wear a hat. A big, floppy hat will keep sun out of your eyes and keep your head from burning. Dress for comfort before fashion.
I know I’ve said it before...but it’s so hot. Loose clothing will feel better when you’re sweating. Shorts, dresses, skirts or anything that will get you a breeze will be a lifesaver on these long days. If you’re a lady who’s worried about flashing everyone, you can wear spandex shorts underneath your dress. This will also help to prevent chafing! When it comes to shoes, you’ll hear a few different opinions. I will tell you from experience that gym shoes were a lifesaver. The first two days I wore nice flip flops and by 2 am, I was covered in blisters. You cover a lot of ground at ‘Roo, and wearing comfortable shoes with moisture wicking socks made me much more comfortable.
4. Food . Bonnaroo lets you bring small snacks in to Centeroo, but not full meals. We brought nuts, granola bars, and other heat proof snacks. The food is delicious but expensive, so plan accordingly.
If you’re camping, you can always walk back to your site to cook up some grub, but if your site is a far walk or you’re a daytime visitor, planning for meals is important. There are tons of food options and the wait isn’t ever more than 10 minutes. If you want to avoid a line, look for food at non-peak meal times. Visit Food Truck Oasis for an amazing variety of local businesses delivering tasty grub.
This year, our favorites eats were:
Puffs of Doom Dave’s Mini Donuts at the Who Cafe Arancini Bros. Phat Daddie’s Cajun Roti Rolls King of Pops
We ate a lot. Seriously. The food is so insanely good. If you plan on eating two meals a day, bring at least $35 for each day. If you plan on buying snacks, alcohol or drinks bring $50-75.
5. Music. Navigating the daily music schedule was the hardest part of ‘Roo as first timers. It’s not that the stages are that far apart; you can walk from one to another in anywhere from 5-10 minutes, but rather that there were quite a few overlaps of bands that we wanted to see and actually making our daily schedule was a bit difficult. I wouldn’t recommend going into the 4-day festival blind.
Make a schedule of who you must see, who you want to see and who you’d like to see, and then plan all your other activities around that. ‘Roo is about so much more than music and you want to have the time to experience it all.
Some tips - at the end of a show on the big stages (Which and What) there is a mass exodus, making it difficult to get to your next stage quickly. If you don’t want to miss any of the next band, leave a few minutes early and miss the crowd.
6. Take it all in. ‘Roo isn't just about the music. Bonnaroo isn’t a noun, it’s a verb. It’s something you do.
Enjoy the music, the people, the food and the atmosphere. There’s a comedy tent and even sing-a-longs. People are friendly and helpful, so if you have a question don’t be afraid to ask a random stranger. They likely know the answer, and they’ll be happy to help because now that you’re here, you’re a Bonnaroovian. Family for life.
To view our entire Bonnaroo 2015 Gallery, click here!