on June 26, 2006
Bonnaroo is an annual four-day arts and music camping festival that takes place on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee – halfway between Nashville, Tennessee and Atlanta, Georgia. Bonnaroo presents over 100 live shows that feature many artists, including rock legends like Tom Petty, Bonnie Raitt, Radiohead, Beck, Ricky Skaggs, and Dave Matthews. If you simply can’t decide what show to see you can jaunt around Centeroo, which is a bustling village containing shops, outdoor eating, a cinema, a silent disco and a beer-tasting facility. Over 80,000 people of all ages and walks of life participate in the Bonnaroo festival.If you are flying to attend Bonnaroo, you’ll want to fly into Nashville International Airport (BNA). There is a shuttle that runs to and from the airport on Thursday, Friday and Monday. Their schedule is likely to change, so check their website (below) for more information.Tickets to Bonnaroo are limited so be sure to get yours early. There is a vast amount of information and visitor guidelines posted on their website at http://www.bonnaroo.com – be sure to read this in preparation for your visit. You can purchase your ticket at: http://www.bonnarootickets.com. General admission to the festival runs in the $200 range, and VIP admission is $1,000-plus. Despite the large size of this camping area, the grounds are laid out well and are very organized. There are stations marked with balloons that indicate where you are. There are emergency amenities, such as roadside assistance and medical facilities onsite to help guests in need, and there are “general stores” set up with reasonably-priced items should you forget something. In addition to the well-organized campsites, Bonnaroo also set up misting stations, water-filling stations, ATMs, information booths, lost and found, phones, a message board, many trash and recycling facilities, safety stations and handicap accessible viewing areas. To curb traffic problems, you cannot leave and re-enter Bonnaroo through the general points after Friday and before Monday—to leave you will need to go through a special gate. It is obvious that the organizers of Bonnaroo put much thought into organizing this event. However once you get there it will be difficult to find a staff member that knows anything about what is going on outside of the 6 square feet in which he or she is standing. While there aren’t many problems to warrant it, my group saw no police presence the entire weekend. Note that no open fires are allowed in the camping area, so bring extra blankets in case it is cool. Cameras with interchangeable lenses are technically not allowed, though many people had them. Bonnaroo is the ultimate in festivals and people watching experiences, but the logistics of your arrival and departure are nebulous at best. If you can’t figure it out on your own, the staff is unlikely to help you. Thus it is in your best interest to read all about Bonnaroo on the internet before you arrive, and allow time for the unexpected.
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