We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment. ~ Hilaire Belloc
Bonnaroo Music Festival 2007
You have to get into Manchester a few days in advance to get into the long line which just gets you into the campground.
The Wal-Mart in Manchester is enough of an experience that I couldn't wait to get into the show. RV's of every type, from VW Buses, to RV of all types to tents and then there was people just sleeping on the ground.
They say the event brings in a few million dollars in revenue for the 4 days it's in town, so the local people just deal with it. I'm sure many of them probably leave town to get away from the hordes of people.
Then there is getting into Bonnaroo which was wild enough. For the simple fact that we travel full-time in our 25’ Travel Trailer, when we heard they didn’t allow dogs, bikes or motorcycles; we already had 3 strikes against us and we weren't even at the gates yet, this was going to be a bigger ordeal than we had planned.
We found a kennel in the
small town of Manchester Tennessee to house our
two dogs for the weekend and we knew
that was a good idea.
The temperatures we soaring around the high 90’s and with us
wandering around a 700 acre farm, which was the festival grounds for the
weekend, we were worried about the dogs well-being anyway. The
motorcycle was dropped off at
local shop to get some needed repairs and two of our 3 strikes were
taken care of.
They told us we wouldn’t be allowed in with them, and after pleading with a supervisor who was called over, we came to an agreement that if we took off our wheels and locked them to the fence at the entrance, we would be allowed to enter with just the frames left in the bed of the truck.
This was a good thing since
we had just waited in line for multiple hours
just to get to this point. Some weren’t so lucky and were turned around
to get rid of what ever contraband they had hidden in their vehicles.
We were told by one guard that they were looking for drugs and weapons.
“No need to worry if you have personal consumption, we’re looking for
pounds and kilos!” he said to us with a smirk on his
RVing is a must, and bring more water than you think you're going to use is an understament. They actually have a Surviving Bonnaroo section on their site that lists all the required gear you'll need. Things like Sunscreen, a light weight long sleeve shirt to keep as much of your skin covered, a bandana to cover you mouth during the dust, a wide brimmed hat to keep your head out of the harsh sun...etc Any of the high quality fishing shirts that are made of very lightweight, breathable material will be your best bet to staying comfortable.
Sitting in our campsite, we
could count 10 rental units within eyesight. One person we talked with
told us every RV Shop in the state was sold out of rental units for this
weekend. If you want to rent one, you have to make your reservations
several months in advance.
One couple was sporting
some of the longest dreadlocks I’ve ever seen on man or woman. They must
have been growing them out for decades. In the debilitating heat the
Tennessee summer had in store for us, the
clothing was very scarce if any at all on many of the
participants. Some guys were stripped down to their
tightie-whiteies, and one girl was in a bikini carrying all her clothes
folded on her head! Many just chose to go topless with their bodies
painted, and some were covered from head to toe with cloth
and only their eyes showing.
Dierks Bentley was the only country music artist at the show, and had one of the biggest audiences of any band of the weekend. His performance with Sam Bush was fantastic and one of my favorites of the weekend. Dierks put on such a stage show, I cant believe he kept his voice in tact!
The Fire Cracker Jazz Band
performed such an energetic show in the sweltering heat; it was just
amazing that none of them fell off the stage from heat exhaustion.
You would have thought there was a water hose attached to there heads
from the amount of water flowing down their brows.
Then there was The Police!! What else is there to say about this band other than "It was just amazing!" For me, I was never really a big fan of their music when they were popular in their hey-day, but with years of different music tastes coming and going, you just know they are classic.
Cindy and I
both commented on how much musical sound came from
only three guys on stage. Songs went on for 8 to 10 minutes with
reggae, rock and blues all mixed into one. I know this show was one for
all attendee’s, as you couldn’t fit another person in the grounds!
Who doesn’t like to scream out “Roxanne”, and twist the name as high pitched and long as your voice allows? It was very comical to hear everyone around us belting out their own rendition.
We found a few new bands we had never heard of who now will be added to our portfolio of hits. We also heard some of our long time favorites that we’ve been listening to for years. Some people we talked to had a specific list of must see performers, while others just picked a stage to hang out at and who ever played, that was the show they enjoyed.
For us, it was all about the People Watching and that funky atmosphere. Everyone who attended has their own story of Bonnaroo, but for our first time, we loved every minute of it. I’m not sure how long it’ll take to get the smell of skunk off our trailer, and we never ran one over, but this event was one wild party!!
Like I said before, for many, Bonnaroo is a place to come and loose your inhibitions, for others, it’s just being surrounded by great music and good friends. Anyway you look at, there is nothing but fun to be had.
yourself a favor and bring an RV and a Generator, because there are no
hook-ups and it's the middle of the summer in Tennessee. It can
your neighbor a favor and make sure your generator has one of the
exhaust pipes that exhausts the gasses above the RV's and not into
the neighboring camper.