Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bonnaroo 2012 Review by My Outdoor Festival Expert

Bonnaroo 2012 Review
My friend Jess came back from Bonnaroo last week.  She had many stories to tell, almost all of them great.  I took some time to ask her a bit aobut the festival.  Here is part one of two about Bonnaroo.

WMM: Was Bonnaroo staged well? Did things seem to move smoothly from one band to the next? Were the facilities easy to get to and was there enough of the important things?

Jess: This was my first time at Bonnaroo and the grounds were actually quite a bit larger than I thought they would be. There are camp sites that surround the main area where all the stages are which is called Centeroo and some of the camping can be quite far away. My campsite was about a 35-45 minute walk away from Centeroo. There were about a dozen stations spread throughout the campgrounds called 'pods' that had showers, ATM's, water fill up station and other necessities and there were port-a-potties all over the grounds so you were never too far from the absolute necessities. There were also many vendors and food carts and trucks all over the grounds that sold all different types of items, including camping supplies, jewelry, merchandise, glassware, etc. No matter how far away from Centeroo you were, you definitely had amenities close by which was definitely nice.
Once you are inside Centeroo though everything is pretty close, I would guess it is about a 10-15 minute walk from one end to the other. There were 2 large stages (the What stage and the Which stage) as well as several smaller tents (This tent, That tent, Sonic tent, etc) that all surprisingly had good acoustics. When you were at any one stage, you pretty much couldn't hear music from the other stages which was very nice. Inside Centeroo there were also many different food options, vendors and other activities including a Ferris wheel, a hair salon, a Rolling Stone sponsored musical instrument tent, air conditioned comedy tent and a HUGE water slide. Centeroo was set up well and there was plenty of free space to chill out in the grass or under trees or shade tents to relax between music and other activities.

WMM: You say that you slept outside most nights. Did you feel a sense of community when you did that, or was it just a matter of finding sleep wherever or whenever you could?

Jess: I have been to a couple different music festivals before (Primavera Sound, Lollapalooza, and Pitchfork) and I have always felt a sense of community at these multiple day festivals but Bonnaroo is where I have felt this most and I think that is because of the camping aspect. Bonnaroo honestly felt like its own little self sufficient world for the 4 days that I was there and it was so cool to see so many different types of people of all ages, races, backgrounds come together to see music. I felt completely comfortable sleeping outside wherever I could find a good spot, both inside Centeroo and throughout the campgrounds. I met a lot of really kind and genuine people so I think the positive community vibes were felt throughout the whole event. One example of this is that during one point, I had lost all of my friends and needed to find someone with a cell phone to try and call someone I knew and I randomly walked up to some people and asked for their help and they were more than accommodating to me. They let me hang out with them until I found my group and made sure that I was safe and sound before they left. It was so cool to be surrounded by people that all just wanted to have a good time and make sure their neighbors were having a good time too!

WMM: What did you think of the RF ID tag on your wristband?

This was my first experience using an RF ID tag, and I had mixed feelings about it. It was very convenient to not need any kind of ticket to get into Centeroo because I feel like I would probably have lost that pretty quickly, so the bracelet was very convenient. My RF ID was linked up with my Facebook page so anytime I checked into a certain stage or into Centeroo, it posted an update on my page. I also went to a photo booth at one point and scanned my wristband and that picture also ended up on Facebook. While I think it was a cool way to connect and share my experience with my friends back home, sometimes it was a little creepy to feel like I was being "tracked". It was also the only time I have ever experienced a line to leave a festival, because you had to scan your wristband to leave the grounds!

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