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Bonnaroo: More to See, More to Do

Never heard of ‘Roo? That’s a loss an shame for you! An ultimate culmination of unique arts and music, Bonnaroo attracted 70 000 visitors during its 2002 launch, and the numbers just kept increasing from there. Only a year after, Rolling Stones magazine placed the festival under “50 Moments That Changed Rock & Roll” in 2003. And in 2008, it got promoted to “Best Festival”, described as “the ultimate over-the-top summer festival” by Rolling Stones mag.

“Bonnaroo” is Creole slang for an awesome time, and was deliberately named as such due to its French roots roughly translating to “the best on the streets”. To find out more about the “Festival of the Decade” (Consequence of Sound), keep reading.

Bonnaroo, Who are You?

It is affectionately dubbed “the farm” by locals and regulars due to it taking place at Great Stage Park on a 280 ha farm in Manchester, Tennessee. This annual four-day music and arts festival genuinely married all genres into one epic music bash.

Multiple stages feature indie and classic rock, hip hop, jazz, R&B, country, reggae, pop, electronic, psychedelic, folk, and even gospel music! Performances kick off at noon, and some stages even keep the live beats pulsing ’till literal dawn.

Highlight Performances

Dennis Radaelli, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bonnaroo was destined for the stars. Aside from record-breaking ticket sales every year since its inception, this festival has hosted some real heavyweight legends. The Beastie Boys played their career-concluding show here in 2009, the same year Phish and Bruce Springsteen played their festival-firsts.

Elton John (2014), Eminem (2011, 2018), Paul McCartney (2013), Stevie Wonder (2010), Mettallica (2008) and Tool (2007, 2022) are only some of the big names that crossed the lineups.

More to Do?

Via the Bonnaroo Facebook page

At the site’s center is, well, Centeroo, where vendors offer food and crafts around the clock. Dance until sunrise to the party broadcasted to wireless headsets at the Silent Disco, or get loose at Yoga Roo.

Sample craft brews at the Broo’ers Festival, or keep it clean at Soberoo. You can even reserve a spot on the non-alcoholic camping grounds. On-site camping is a popular option and a children’s play area is provided, but the Ferris Wheel and Splash-A-Roo are fun alternatives. Go on the Roo-Run, watch the parades, or visit the Village market.

Legs sore? Time for a coffee break at the Roo Works Café within earshot of gifted Nashville nonprofits like Notes for Notes. The, bid on one-of-a-kind signed items from Bonnaroo artists at the Roo Works HQ or artwork in the Silent Auction.

Rooduse, Roouse, Roocycle

Recycling and sustainability are big at Bonnaroo. Their efforts were recognised by A Greener Festival in 2011, and since then they’ve initiated many eco-friendly festival activities. Food and refreshments are also sold in organic, recyclable materials to cut back on waste.

Additionally, every ticket sold means $1 invested in sustainability efforts like the permanent compost pad and solar panels, food recovery efforts and food bank donations. Money is also put back into green education for attendees at the Academy (make your own pickles!) and Learning Garden (plant your own pre-pickles!).

Bonnaroo petitions everyone to rooduse, roouse, and recycle. They have comprehensive “What goes Where” guidelines to assist attendees in disposing properly of cigarette buts, recycling, composting, and what is allowed to go to landfill.

Planet Roo

Andrew Jorgensen, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A sanctuary for wellness, sustainability and environmental consciousness – festivalgoers can come here to learn, rest, and gather inspiration to make a change.


Also a Planet Roo initiative, here you can get practical training from savvy farmers and versed volunteers on how to grow your own food!


This sunshine-powered stage is the pillar of Planet Roo. Swing by to learn HOW you can drive impactful change. And no, it’s not a pamphlet-pushing party! Information is presented through special performances, panel discussions, demonstrations, and classes for yoga, dance, and meditation.

Where’s my Ticket?

Stefan Klopp, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED via flickr

We know you’re chomping at the bit to go here, so we’ll put you out of your misery. Ticket sales are coming in red-hot and are guaranteed to sell out. Hurry up and visit the Bonnaroo official website to purchase your tickets for the show, camping, or parking accommodation.

Ready to Roo?

Watch this video for Bonnaroo camping tips and tricks!

What to Bring: Camping & Vibing

  • All camping gear (think of the elements!).
  • Pound it down: drive the pegs in solidly – nobody wants to see an UFT
  • Food and Drinks (vendors are available, but it can get expensive over 4 days!)
  • Medicine and Essentials
  • Clothing for all types of weather (again, think of the elements!)
  • Creature Comforts (chairs, table, a cooler FULL of water, fans, etc.)
  • A sturdy backpack or other carry-on filled with water, sunscreen, snacks, etc.
  • Hat!
  • Body Powder…

What to Leave

  • Weapons, explosives, glass
  • A bad attitude
  • Uncomfy, sweaty clothing and shoes (after 12 hours, no-one will notice the knee-high sparkly boots with heels for days)

Lastly, remember to be the tortoise, not the hare. Bonnaroo’s staying put, but you might bail out early and miss your fave if you try to rush through everything.

Looking for more festivals?

Inge Strauss