Tucked away in the lush fields of Tennessee, 80,000 music fans gather annually for four days of music, art and fresh air. Bonnaroo, a yearly music festival held on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tenn., returns this year to what might be more success than the festival has ever seen.
From June 7 to 10, campers will experience a modern-day Woodstock. Living out of tents and vans, lacking proper showers, eating crackers as if they were meals and drinking anything but water is the Bonnaroo way.
Since its creation in 2002, the best part of Bonnaroo — and the reason that so many people drive out to the middle of nowhere — is the musical acts. In the past, the festival has hosted acts such as Pearl Jam, The Police, Bob Dylan, The Flaming Lips, Jay-Z and Stevie Wonder. This year will be no different.
The stellar lineup this year includes recent Grammy winners Bon Iver and Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Kooks, The Beach Boys, The Shins, Foster the People, Skrillex, Feist, The Roots and Young the Giant, among others. This year’s lineup also features comedian Aziz Ansari.
Tickets to the concert start at $209.50 and go up to $259.50. Prices vary depending on when the ticket is purchased. However, as of Feb. 25 the lower price levels have completely sold out. Included in the price of each ticket is parking and a camping spot for one car.
Allison Cowett, an 18-year-old freshman psychology major, will be attending the festival for the second time.
Cowett and her friends will be completing their road trip with a pit-stop in Georgia and hours of waiting in traffic to get into the campgrounds.
“The traffic is unbelievable,” she said. “It took us hours to actually get into the festival, but once you get there it is so surreal.”
Though Cowett has yet to buy her tickets, she says she plans on doing so soon because of how quickly tickets sold out last year.
“This sounds corny, but it’s an escape from reality. It’s four days of awesome music and great friends,” she said.
James Fray, a 19-year-old exploratory major, will be attending Bonnaroo for the first time. He says he is most looking forward to “the location and people” because they “are so down to earth.”
One thing that makes Bonnaroo different from other music festivals is that it is literally down to earth. Bonnarroo promotes economically friendly ideals among its festival-goers. It encourages attendees to carpool to the show and maintain eco-friendly practices during their time spent in Manchester. People who attend the festival are even offered free fresh-drilled water, straight out of wells from the campgrounds.
Though this festival may sound like a whole bunch of hippies out in the middle of nowhere — and honestly, that isn’t too far off — Bonnaroo is much more than that. The campgrounds surrounding the 10 main stages become transformed into the hustle and bustle of a city.
The festival’s facilities include a general store, ATMs, craft vendors, art installations, medical tents and even a cinema tent, which are all monitored by Bonnaroo Ambassadors who basically serve as RAs for the living community.
Bonnaroo’s website, www.bonnaroo.com, claims it isn’t a festival, it’s a “spirit.” Based on the way campers flock to Tennessee to revel in the sun, the heat, the music, the greenery and the uncleanliness, the Bonnaroo experience certainly seems spirited indeed.