With four days packed with music, comedy and a ridiculous amount of festival activity in the works, Bonnaroo is a musical marathon if there ever was one. Whether camping on the fields or car-tripping your way in and out each day, there are some basic essentials to remember so you’re not left sunburned, soaked, separated from your friends or, worst of all, caught without toilet paper in the middle of the Tennessee wilderness.
The lineup is awesome, and we can’t wait to get back to The Farm. While set times will have you running all over to catch your favorite acts in time, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve got your bases covered going into what very well may be the best festival experience of your life. Needless to say, when it comes to baking in the sun at ‘Roo, aloe vera and sunblock are your only true friends in this world.
We’ve narrowed the list down to ten essential tips and updated our ongoing run of tips for this year’s Bonnaroo Pro-Tips Survival Guide, to keep things simple as you make your way to the fields of Manchester, TN. So plan well, prepare accordingly, and have yourself a blast at Bonnaroo 2016!
10. Ride Prep: Full gas tank & Playlists on point
No matter when you arrive, you’re going to be dealing with a sea of brake lights in the gridlock of camper arrivals and day trippers. The comings and goings of the vehicular masses are going to burn fuel like there’s no tomorrow, so make sure you fill up the tank entirely before heading out to the farm – and what good is a road trip without a good playlist or mixtape? Check out our Bonnaroo Playlist for a head start on artists playing this year. Set your Spotify playlists to be available offline, so you’re not gobbling data as you search for spotty streaming service in line.
9. BYOTP: Bring your own toilet paper
Look. It’s a gross detail, but you’re on your own with 100,000 other sweating, stinking people eating the same horrible festival food you are. History tells us that, on occasion, toilet paper can become the most valuable and desperately sought-after commodity… particularly at a weekend music festival. Do yourself a favor and don’t leave the most intimate necessities to chance. Bring more than a few rolls of toilet paper as backup – you’d be amazed at the gratitude and goodwill complete strangers will show just by looking out for your fellow man – or woman. Be prepared. And hell, take the extra leap for some wet wipes. Stay fresh.
8. Don’t drink till the sun goes down
Easier said than done, sure. But the fastest way to dehydrate yourself is to start throwing ’em back while the sun’s shining down on you. Add 90% humidity to that, and you’ll be horizontal & unconscious in no time. Once the day starts to cool off, you can partake in the glory of all the $300 drinks you like. But there’s a reason you see dozens of faceplanted fools down for the count before Day Two even kicks off – they lack self-discipline. Party when it’s time to party, and know what you’re getting yourself into.
7. Moderate your intake, and rethink the drink
Stumbling drunk into tents on the campground is no way to pick up chicks. Not only that, but it would be a good idea to steer clear of the temptation to moonwalk in front of cops while chugging a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. This isn’t a frat party, and you’re in it for the long haul. Plus, you’re not going to be feeling much of a buzz with the sweat pouring out of you. So consider the possibility of maybe not draining your savings account for the brew. But if you do, know your limits, and…
6. Get some sleep!
No matter what you put in your body, four days in the sun is gonna take its toll. With the late-night shows running until all hours of the night, you’ll be challenged to find a few opportune hours for shut-eye. Clock at least 5-6 hours of sleep each night, so you can be refreshed and raring to go in the morning. And by morning, we mean mid-afternoon.
5. Bring your own food
Don’t want to break the bank on festival grub? Grab a cooler and some dry ice, and pack your own food for the campground to save yourself some serious cash. But be warned: Bonnaroo has severely stepped up its chow game recently, having announced a barrage of specialty food & drink offerings for this year’s event and a special Bonnaroots dinner hosted by Oxfam and Eat For Equity.
4. Be smart about your stash
Don’t be flagrant about what you do decide to bring. While the freedom inside is glorious, security can get downright frightening when first getting into ‘Roo, and being casual about broadcasting your recreational plans could result in a very bad weekend for you. And no matter how good the deal sounds, don’t buy anything on the fields or at the campsite other than what grows naturally: you never know what you’re getting. Those wide-eyed kids freaking out in the first-aid tent? Yeah, that could be you.
3. Make a schedule, do your homework
Evil scheduling conflicts mean you will inevitably miss some performances you’ll wish you had seen, but if you plan ahead you can cut down on the missed moments. And though some tough choices will have to be made, you’re bound to have a blast no matter what your artist trajectory.
2. Charge up! Bring backup!
Your phone battery is going to deplete faster than you can say, “Wait, I didn’t finish uploading the fight video between Kanye & Jack White!” Twitter, Instagram and Facebook apps are energy vampires that will leave you digitally stranded in no time.
Keep your charger on you, and consider taking the cheap leap into the world of portable chargers. There will be charging stations for mobile devices set up in various locations. Use them as often as you can – you don’t want technology failing on you at the worst possible time.
1. Water Bottles!
It’s going to be hotter than hell itself out on the fields of Roo, and the humidity is going to have you sweating rivers. Even if you’re steering clear of alcohol and other recreational indulgences, you’re guaranteed to suffer a mean bout of dehydration and possibly even heat stroke unless you’ve got a steady stream of H20 entering your body. Free fill-up stations all around the park will save you some serious cash (and help avoid the sight of a billion or so disposable plastic bottles strewn everywhere), and keep you healthy all weekend. Got a camelback? Rock it.
See you on the farm!
Photo: Johnny Firecloud