TRAVEL GUIDE: Bonnaroo

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every year, I make the annual 18 hour pilgrimmage, by car, to Manchester, Tennessee for Bonnaroo. Bonnaroo is heaven. No joke, if I died and it was full of a blend of hippie-dippie hoola hoopers, the best musicians in the world (I'm talking to you R Kelly and Paul McCartney), Southern frat boys, ravers, and costumed fools like myself, I'd be so totally happy to know that this was why I was nice to people on earth. 

Bonnaroo is a lot to talk about in a single post. Like most music festivals, it's kind of a way of life. And that's a lot to handle in this text box, so I'll stick to the travel guide element of it. How we do it. What we take. Etc. 

Bonnaroo is a four day fesitval, Thursday through Sunday. We leave on Wednesday night from Miami, around nine p.m., and drive straight through the night, in shifts, through that monotonous hell hole of Florida highways and into Georgia by the early morning. We stop in Gwinnett, GA, a suburb of Atlanta where people go to buy cars, fix cars and generally do anything that has to do with cars. Fun fact about Gwinnett, GA - it's probably one of the most culturally diverse places in America. There are Dominican hair salons next to Korean churches down the street from good ol' Grandpa's General Store. It's bizarre. Especially when you haven't slept much. Let's not dwell on Gwinnett - we just pick up the RV there and stop at Walmart and fill 'er up with all the goods we need. 

You should know that our Bonnaroo trip is something of a glamping situation. We set it up real nice. We spare no expense at that Walmart, indulging in necessities like 89 cent hot sauce (Valentina - yo, go for it), and everything we need for one good meal in the morning, and late night snacks. Our signature morning meal is probably breakfast burritos with keilbasa, fresh corn salsa, pineapple and Bloody Marys or iced coffee. If you read this blog enough, you know that's how I roll. Sleeping in an RV is no reason to starve, folks. Late night munchies include prepared dishes that we cart up in a cooler like Asian Peanut Noodles and Lisa's Mom's Killer Orzo (we actually saw another girl with a giant ziplock of Orzo inside the festival - are we onto a trend?!). 

After a few hours of navigating the Tennessee mountain roads in the RV, we pull off the highway onto a farm in Coffee County, where Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival owns the grounds that puts on crazy shows for 80,000 campers once a year for a weekend in early June. I told you guys, heaven. 80, 000 smelly people who haven't showered and share pot. That's what you have to look forward to. 

I'll run down some of the acts for you from this year's line up (let's not even get into the time we saw Eminem or The Beach Boys) - Paul McCartney, R Kelly, Wu Tang Clan, Wilco, David Byrne and St. Vincent, The XX, Alt J, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Django Django, Cults, The Vaccines, Bjork, Wilco, Animal Collective, Empire of The Sun, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Portugal. The Man, Pretty Lights, Tame Impala, Nas, Passion Pit, Grizzly Bear and so, so, so, so, so many more. Just Google the whole line up already on another tab. If you don't know what it's like to see about ten concerts in one day, you've gotta put it on your bucket list. It's the most draining and amazing experience. It feels as good as a concert always feels, all day and night long. 

And when I say all day and night I mean it. The music starts around noon and ends around... well... sometimes around 6 AM, sometimes 8AM - Roo legend has it that Gogol Bordello played until 9 when they were like, Dude we have to set up for tomorrow, I mean, today. Artists love to play Bonnaroo. It's part of what makes it so, totally nice. It's hearing Florence change the lyrics from Who's got the love? To Bonnaroo's got the love. 

It's about a million degrees outside the whole time you're there. Like a hot summer day in Miami with no breeze and no shade but free water and really good iced coffee and craft brews. You don't need bug spray but you may want to take a bandana to use as a mask for the dust on a dry year or rain boots for a muddy one. Take a tailgating tent for shade. And a hat. Make a flag. Ours said Coño. We also two flags to mark our campground amongst the sea of campsites, one was a Conch Republic flag and the other said Cuba Libre. 

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our campsite's shade tents. 

 

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my friend Clara's tent. She has the rain tarp on because it rained right when we pulled in and when we were packing up to leave. 

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some of the breakfast burrito goods set out on a folding table. 

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sometimes, a girl needs binoculars and temporary tats. 

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friends in shirts with cats. 

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here I am with the Coño flag. Mad props to my friend Clara aka Swiss for hooking it up with the painting skills. 

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a unicorn needs directions. I was happy to help him out. 

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we spend a pretty good amount of time pretending we're a girl band. This is "The Santeras" debut album cover. 

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an iced coffee stand off the main stage. 

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reppin. 

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the vaccines. 

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R Kelly. 

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This Tent during a Super Jam. 

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My main man protects himself from the dust. 

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Cults. 

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the mushroom fountain. every year the art on it is different. 

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this is Clara, she's a costume designer. We grew up in local children's theater plays together at the Coral Gables Youth Center. 

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