The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is almost upon us, and with just four days of fun on the horizon, we’re wondering how exactly to pack it all in. That’s why we turned to our guest bloggers Charles Post and Megan Haywood-Sullivan, who managed to stay calm, cool and totally collected at the Tennessee bash last year (and discover the ultra-cool bands we wish we’d skipped the headliners for). Here, their tips for doing each day of Bonnaroo right.
Most mornings start with those subtle waves of warm summer music that pour across the intersection of your nighttime dream state and the impending musically inspired adventures that lie ahead. You’ll be up with iced coffee, orange juice and a refreshing breakfast on your mind. The heat that comes with a Tennessee summer makes sunscreen, sunglasses, strawberry popsicles, lemonade, and fresh fruit a treat worth their weight in gold.
Tip: One less than glamorous note for your morning ritual: Bring toilet paper and plenty of hand sanitizer. You can thank us later.
A breakfast of granola floating in a sea of coconut milk sprinkled with raisins, local honey, and blanketed in a thin spread of sliced Georgia peaches will get you started on the right foot. Just like your mom always said, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Take it from us: with a full day of music, dancing and adventures ahead, you’d better fuel up!
After gradually making your way into the beating heart of Bonnaroo, spread out your festival map and look over the schedule of the day’s performances. Those concerts that we can’t live without seeing are boldly circled in red, their times and stage locations Sharpie-d onto our forearms for good measure. Once we accomplish this vital step, we celebrate with some hammocking and peach iced tea found at the craft and food booths, where you’ll find a sea of delicious food and amazing tents dreamt up by an eclectic assortment of brands who’ve created epic marination stations for you to refuel, kick back and relax in.
With the bulk of the day’s shows on the horizon, there were two options worth perusing: either get to the show early and hold down some prized real estate right in front of the stage or find a vantage point further from the action. The benefit of the first option is obvious since you’re in the epicenter of the action. Yet, sticking to the periphery has benefits as well; you can find your own space to spread out and dance, and if you want to split for a quick drink, phone call, or bathroom break, you’re not surrounded by thousands of people, a virtual human wall.
Tip: If you have friends coming to meet you, it’s much easier to link up out on the edges. We saw a few folks who brought balloons, filled them up and placed a small glow-stick inside—think of it as a signal to help your friends find you. Make a DIY Bonnaroo flag to help your friends find your tent at the end of the day!
We quickly learned that bringing drinks, glow sticks for night adventures, dancing props, and some food was crucial simply because navigating your way through a few thousand gyrating festival-goers can be tedious. Also, be sure that you and your crew have a contingency plan if folks get split up. For instance, we would always plan to meet at the big fountain or back at the tent if separated for more than an hour. Having this back-up plan will prevent you from running around aimlessly.
By dinnertime, you’ll want to hit the eject button and run back to the campsite for a quick bite and rehydration. We brought along some freeze-dried camping food which was super easy to whip together for an early dinner (especially convenient when you’re in a rush and or fatigued after bouncing around for six hours already). All you need is a small camp stove and water and you’ll be feasting in no time.
As the headliners start to plug in for their highly anticipated shows, we found that often times a lesser-known yet equally amazing band will be playing on one of Bonnaroo’s many smaller stages, often overshadowed by the louder, bigger headliner playing just across the field. Go check out those smaller shows! We discovered our favorite band at one of these, and had a chance to watch them with just about fifty other festival-goers. To this day, it was the highlight of our festival going career.
Regardless of how you choose to schedule your day, remember that slow and steady wins the race. If you take on each day with some strategy, good food, enough water and naps (if you’re a napper), you’ll be out there dancing your heart out until sunrise. You don’t want to be one of those guys or gals sleeping during your favorite show because you went a little overboard the night before, or didn’t eat that bowl of fresh strawberries for breakfast. Here’s to the best Bonnaroo yet!
Shop all of Meg and Charles’ festival sandals at Teva.com!