Bonnaroo Radiates Positivity And Good Times
By Croix Provence
This past weekend I was invited to The Farm to enjoy Bonnaroo Music And Arts Festival, known for its positivity, good people, and hippie feel. It did not disappoint. This weekend was incredible, to say the least, and has probably been my most memorable experience at a festival this year thus far! So many factors contribute to the never-ending awesomeness that is Bonnaroo; here are some of them, along with a shakedown of the festival.
Bonnaroo’s prices have climbed yearly along with the rest of the big festivals. When you expand so much and have so much to rent, how could they not climb? This year’s highest tier GA ticket ran guests around $360 after fees. Thank God for payment plans, amirite?
A damn good lineup, and a very strong one for this summer! Suffice to say it was not their best, though a strong contender. Here’s a look at the top tier acts for Bonnaroo this summer: Billy Joel, Mumford And Sons, Deadmau5, Florence & The Machine, Kendrick Lamar, Robert Plant And The Sensational Shape Shifters, My Morning Jacket, Bassnectar, Alabama Shakes, Childish Gambino, Flume, Hozier, Slayer, Spoon, Belle And Sebastian, Ben Harper And The Innocent Criminals, and more! Like I said: definitely a strong lineup, but not balls-out amazing.
Bonnaroo traffic is always insane on the way in, especially this year when they had eight lanes trying to merge in to one up beyond the entry gates. Last year, there was a significant difference in entering the festival with ease (though the line was definitely still there); can’t really put my finger on what the change was, apart from lanes merging way earlier and causing less mess. Congestion during the exit process of the festival can also be a pain, unless you know the right time to leave! Sneaky sneaky… Considering the fact that there is no traffic throughout the festival, since everyone is parked and camping, these are the only two factors that can really be considered. I’ll take a 3 hour wait to get in and a 5 minute exit over daily congestion any day!
It’s definitely there… but is it? Basically every time I went through security, they opened my fanny pack, looked at my phone, and said “Okay, you’re good”. I realize that this is the dream security for people who are bringing in things they shouldn’t be bringing in, so in that respect, rock on Bonnaroo! But there is another aspect of their security this year that I did really appreciate: the personnel on horses. I never saw them harrassing people, or being anything other than observant. Matter of fact, the only time I saw one interacting with a guest was when one of them spotted a girl laying face down in the grass and asked if she needed help. Of course, she was just “taking a nap”, but they left her alone one she responded, fully conscious. That made me feel as if the people on property are there to help rather than to criminalize, which can be the case at some of these. A refreshing atmosphere, and in this case I will say no to “F*** the police”; they really just want to help keep things safe.
Bonnaroo is a massive, spread-out, far out wonderland with boundless activities and events. When so many positive people come together, only positive things can happen! Such as classes and workshops on the daily teaching interested Roovians how to grow their own gardens, switch to veganism, do composting, or even learn yoga!
In Centeroo, there are boundless food, merch, and art options to explore. There are sponsored booths and tents from Garnier, GNC, Redbull, MTV, and other big names that want to contribute to the unique opportunity. Note: for those who consider having sponsor tents and things of this nature “selling out”, take a moment to realize your ticket would cost well over $500 without them. So instead of being judgemental of sponsorship and “the man”, thank them for getting your butt to Bonnaroo as cheaply as possible. I digress. Can’t forget to mention the Comedy Tent, the Bonnaroo Cinema, the craft beer area, Hamageddon (a giant metal pig that shoots smoke out of its big bacon-y butt), massive inflatable water slides, and so much more that I can barely fit in here. The centerpiece of Bonnaroo has always been the cuckoo clock tower, though, which was replaced this year with a massive disco ball!
Made for beautiful night views next to the ferris wheel. Other awesomess includes The Christmas Barn, Silent Disco, the Fountain, and art installations everywhere. Eye candy for days!
SO many options. SO many different locations where food can be found, and at all hours of the day/night. Outback Kate’s offered amazing burritos. Hippie Dips served up healthy paninis and smoothies that blew my mind out. Amish Bakery never fails with their human head-sized donuts. Not to mention all of the other places lurking in there serving up delicious teriyaki bowls, vegan selections, grilled cheese extravagance, and then some. No pictures to share with you, seeing as I was finished eating by the time I sat down. Too good. Festival prices are tough, though, especially for a bottomless pit like myself. Make sure what you’re getting, size and taste-wise, is going to be worth the price and will keep you happily filled until the next awesome festival meal (avoid Strawberry Fields [or whatever] smoothies; they charge $10 freaking dollars for your generic small smoothie).
Can’t win ’em all: Bonnaroo’s bathrooms are notoriously gross (unless you catch them literally moments after they have been cleaned and restocked). Think of the numbers here: 90,000 people sharing roughly 1,000 bathrooms. Add in alcohol, drugs, and just nastiness in general, and you get Bonnabathrooms. Bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. And shoes. And breathing mask. Or just go out in the woods and hide it; you’ll be happier that way.
It’s the friendly festival! Especially on Hi-Five Friday, when your hand gets slapped so hard by so many enthusiastic Roovians that you almost wish it would stop, but you still want those sweet, sweet hi-fives.
Everybody wants to hug you and tell you your outfit is awesome. People offer you water and shade when you’re looking a little ragged. Whether you’ve bumped in to this stranger on accident, or wanted to strike up a conversation, every single person there is a new friend. Sure, there’s your occasional poopster, but they are so incredibly few and far between that it’s like the goodness of Bonnaroo sent them back their unfriendly poopy caves. Artists, lovers, and future friends galore! I will return to Bonnaroo every year until I die because of the people, and the environment, regardless of the lineup, and that’s saying something.
SO. MANY. GOOD. SHOWS. Most notably Earth Wind And Fire, who have been pumping out crazy funk for more than forty years. These guys rocked so hard!
They played continually, never stopping for applause until the end of their two hour set, because they wanted to cram in as much awesomeness for the audience as possible. My Morning Jacket sent The Farm into a psychadelic haze with their mindblowing show teeming with jam sessions and screaming high-pitched vocals. Alabama Shakes destroyed my soul and got real as hell with their set; Brittany Howard’s pain and experience drips from her voice and goes tearing in to you, whether you like it or not. She is a musical goddess, backed by the bluesiest gods this side of the Mississippi. An upcoming band called Nothing More blew rock fans out of the water with their guitar antics and clean hardcore sound. Childish Gambino and Slayer fought for attention on polar opposites of the musical spectrum, but both delivered shows worth watching. Basically, every time you turned around, another bad-ass band was making bad-ass live music for the bad-ass people attending bad-ass Bonnaroo. Not sure if I could have put that more factually, or eloquently.
Apart from some sad bathrooms, Bonnaroo offers you everything and more when it comes to the festival experience! How does this festival fall on the Croix Scale from Bad to Bad-Ass?
Price – Not Bad
Lineup – Sweet
Traffic – Cool
Security – Awesome
Atmosphere – Bad-Ass
Food – Sweet
Potties – Eh
People – Bad-Ass
Shows – Bad-Ass
Overall – Sweet
The mecca of music festivals succeeds once again! I encourage everybody alive to go to Bonnaroo, as I feel it’s the closest our generation will ever come to Woodstock. The positive people, the atmosphere, the music, and the experience in general are unforgettable, and always surpass expectations. Thanks for the sweet weekend, Bonnaroo! See you next year on The Farm!
Croix Provence, abridged: Singer. Actress. Model. Dork. Snack enthusiast. Freelance writer. Music lover. Comic Con freak. Adrenaline junkie. Short sentence sorcerer. Follow @CroixProvence on Twitter and Instagram, and like Croix Provence on Facebook.