Photos by Lauren Simpson
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival has only been over for a few days and I’m already wishing I was back on the farm. I understand now why everyone falls in love with this wonderful place. From the minute I entered the festival grounds, I knew that the energy here wasn’t like anything I’ve ever experienced before. The only thing asked of you once you get there is to radiate positivity and that’s exactly what every Bonnaroovian did. It’s an amazing thing when over 60k people from all over the US and other countries with different backgrounds, ages, beliefs, and ethnicities can come together to form a community for a weekend of good vibes, great music and endless high fives.
The Good Stuff
Once I got home, I discovered that the word Bonnaroo is Creole slang for “the good stuff” and that’s exactly what this festival is. Everything about it was good! Throughout the weekend I witnessed countless random acts of kindness, throw down dance parties, excited friends reuniting, and so many genuinely happy people. In the campgrounds neighbors came together to share food and stories of their past festival adventures. In the festival grounds there were a wide variety of food stands available to satisfy those munchies and a couple bars including a massive craft beer tent serving ice cold drinks in the hot summer sun. Not to mention all the unique and beautiful artwork painted on the walls all weekend long. That’s the good stuff right? That and all of the fantastic music performed all weekend long!
Throughout the weekend everyone was constantly talking about how Bonnaroo felt like home and how free everyone felt being there. After spending my first weekend on the farm, I would have to agree with them completely! The camping communities played a big part in that. Neighbors were willing to lend a helping hand to help set up/ take down camps and by the end of the weekend everyone knew each other or at least had some interaction with each other. Camping areas were marked with giant numbered balloons called PODS to help people find their way back to camp. These areas became close communities that people were proud to be apart of and no one was ready to leave. I know I wasn’t!
Once you enter the festival grounds you find the perfect escape from the real world. You forget about all the stress that every day life brings and let loose for a great weekend with your friends. No one judges you here and no one ever feels out of place. For four days we danced like no one was watching, loved without limits, and laughed until it hurt. There is nothing more freeing than knowing that you don’t have to be afraid to be yourself. Life gets hard sometimes, but it’s a fantastic feeling knowing that a magical place like Bonnaroo exists.
One of the main reasons everyone was able to have such an enjoyable weekend is because of all the amazing volunteers working hard to make sure everything ran smoothly. There were hundreds of volunteers throughout the festival grounds helping direct traffic, picking up and separating garbage, cleaning up the bathrooms, and so much more! Surprisingly for the large amount of people that were here the bathrooms stayed very clean! There were people with their own personally decked out pedicabs equipped with lights and music ready to give people rides from the festival grounds back to their campsites after a long day of walking. Every volunteer there had a smile on their face and welcomed newcomers and returning squads back to Roo with open arms. On behalf of every Bonnaroovian, THANK YOU!!
This weekend will no doubt forever hold a special place in my heart. I reunited with old friends and made even more new ones. I was able to watch a few of my favorite bands and discovered so many more new ones. This weekend really taught me what it means to be a Bonnaroovian. It means to radiate positivity, to treat others with respect and build each other up, but most importantly to be yourself. I’m so grateful for this amazing experience and can’t wait to see you all next year on the farm! Happy Roo Everyone!
Here are the official Bonnaroo day by day recaps!