The following review is for everyone. It is not just dedicated to Bonnaroovians and it is a reflection of my own personal opinion concerning Bonnaroo and the events that unfolded during this time. I am going to complain, you are fair warned. It is my understanding that only some, not all of these things, can be found within the responsibility of the festival itself. Overall, Bonnaroo was not my absolute favorite this year. The line up was not stacked, but did include some acts that I could not miss. Most everyone that I met was a returning Bonnaroovian, with of course many exceptions considering the size of this particular festival. Our campsite partners turned out to be two of the greatest humans. We still keep in contact with them and plan to camp together at future festivals. A fantastic friendship was born the moment we pushed our EZ-Ups together. The idea of taking part in something so large that so many have been a part of before you is the greatest part about Bonnaroo. The worst was the heat partnering up with the lengthy walk we had to make to the festival grounds. The heat is out of the festival’s control, but how they react to said heat and the options they provide for you concerning your wellbeing lies fully in their hands. There were water stations, but not nearly enough considering the amount of people that make it to Bonnaroo every year. Navigating the grounds was not easy. I still do not know how many stages there were, the titles of said stages, or their location. I followed and held onto my friend’s backpack everywhere we went. I was scared to go off on my own. I did not fear for my safety, but I did fear being lost for the entire evening. All my friends are in love with Bonnaroo, but why? I met many amazing people, but what is any of that for if you are dehydrating mid conversation and have to remove yourself from the group to hike 2 miles to a water station? I met quite a few shitty people as well. This was unusual for me. The people carrying around bad energy obviously do not make it close to me at other festivals that I attend, because I did not know it was possible to be an ass hole at a festival. The staff was nice, but they were not incredibly eager to help you. The rail watchers at Keys N’ Krates tried to kick us out because we were head banging on the rail. I had always heard that Bonnaroo was all about freedom and happiness. I just saw a lot of sweaty people in a rush to get somewhere. One of our camp mates got very sick during Adventure Club. She was located in the back on the grass. We ran to get help and it took them a solid 20-30 minutes to get to her and provide her with help. Those that took her on their vehicle to the medical tent were only making her paranoia worse, ignoring things that she was attempting to say through a tight jaw line. They asked her questions intensely over her own voice. The women in the medical tent were not nice to us, but the woman in particular that helped us was very understanding and kind towards our sick friend and that was the most important thing at the time. She was also very kind to us and appreciated the fact that we were okay with hanging out with her inside the tent. Our camp mate was safe and got some well-needed/desired rest after they hydrated her once again.
The general consensus that I gathered from our campsite and those that I met over the course of the week was that the music was not what people expected from Bonnaroo. It is true that every year when I see the Bonnaroo line up come out I see people get so incredibly hype. This year was not of the same caliber. The best artist I saw the entire time was without a doubt Grateful Dead and Company. John Mayer and The Dead took the stage on the last night of Bonnaroo. There was a lengthy delay due to weather, but it subsided within an hour and everyone was invited back into the festival. They played almost four hours, elevating my thoughts and me to another dimension. If you are interested in reading more about my Dead experience, you can find that piece on the previous page. Other than the Grateful Dead and John Mayer, Pearl Jam, J Cole, BORNS, Griz, Keys N’ Krates, Papadosio, Hermitude, and Ellie Goulding melted my heart over and over and over again. There were many fantastic acts, do not get me wrong. The line up was not worth $500 dollars to fry in the hot sun and not be able to see. My friends have asked me if I am going this coming year. Unless the line up is made of gold, which it possibly could be this year considering the complaining that has taken place, I will not be in attendance. To all of my committed Bonnaroovians, I salute you. You are much stronger than I. If you are attending this year or any time, please do not forget to bring your tarp, an EZ-Up, blankets/tapestries to cover your tent, a small (or very large) piece of carpet to lie on under the EZ-Up during the day. You might also want to send that piece of carpet to your local carpet cleaners when you arrive home. It is going to get dirty.
Overall, I think that the idea of Bonnaroo is much better than Bonnaroo itself. The history held within the festival grounds is what fuels the ticket sales and artistic interest.