Ready, Set, Roo!

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Phish's Trey Anastasio

June time means Bonnaroo time, which means you’ve only got a month left to get ready if you’re considering ’Rooing it this year. The Beach Boys, Radiohead and Phish are just a few of the big ones this year, though The Pulse’s fancy is just as tickled by the little guys on the bill (hello, Kurt Vile, White Denim and Punch Brothers). You can find the full lineup here, which is still growing, and below you’ll find just a few suggestions for enjoying Bonnaroo 2012 to the fullest.

1. Know the right exit

First things first. Last year, there were a few issues finding the entrance for RV-less, fancy badgeless, plain old regular-ass folks. If you’re coming via I-24, there are multiple options, but I’d take 111 or 112.

2. Bring water

Lots of it. And then bring even more, because you or a friend will need it. Getting drunk at a music festival is funny. Getting dehydrated is not, and no one else wants to deal with that either. In the least serious of cases, there is puking and discomfort involved, so fill the cooler and avoid the water fountains.

3. Volunteer

Donating a few hours of your time can score you a free pass; enough said.  There are volunteer shifts for before, during and after the festival, and you can even request to work with any friends who are also trying to earn their ’Roo tickets. There are two divisions of volunteer opportunities; General volunteers may be assigned to work toll booths or pods (festival community centers), while Clean Vibes volunteers will be involved in the waste/recycling program. Get the details on volunteering here.

4. Be green

A dollar from your ticket this year goes toward reducing the Farm’s carbon footprint, but you have the option of donating more. There are lots of other ways to green it up at Bonnaroo, or just do some good. This year, Sustain U, a company that only produces clothing that uses 100 percent recycled materials, will be holding a clothing drive at the festival’s Clean Vibes trading post. You can donate clothing here and be eligible for prizes. Same goes if you carpool with three or more.

5. Group camp

There are all kinds of upgrades you can purchase with your ticket for RVs, food, etc. For the first time this year, you can reserve an area for you and your friends to camp. It’s guaranteed no matter what time you arrive, but the spots are limited, and in fact, already sold out. If you missed out this year, it will likely be an option to consider for 2013.

The Beach Boys

6. See the oldies…

The truth is, a lot of the, ahem, younger (in terms of age) bands will come around again and probably a lot more frequently. You’ll have another opportunity to see them, and in the case of the smaller acts, you can see them another time for less cash. While you may be a bit sorry you missed Arcade Fire, you won’t regret seeing Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (for example). Plus, who knows how much longer those old dudes will be around?

7. …But support your local newbies

It’s incredible to see a band who you’ve supported since their dirty basement show days score a set at Bonnaroo. You may have already seen the band play back at home a million times, but they’ll be giving their first ’Roo show their all. JEFF the Brotherhood, for one, blew the roof off last June, and so did their fans (they kind of bent the little railing between them and the stage). It was a happy time for us all.

8. Bring a charger or batteries for your camera

You’re so close to the stage, you can almost touch Jim James’ furry boots. You raise your camera to get a shot, and it dies. Don’t let it happen.

9. Swing by Sonic Stage

Sonic Village’s Sonic Stage is where Bonnaroo artists are going to be doing intimate acoustic performances and interviews. Hang out there, and you may get a chance to meet some of your favorites.

10. See other things

Of course you go to Bonnaroo for the music. But there’s other attractions like the Comedy Theatre, which gets better each year. This time around, you can catch “Flight of the Conchords’” Rhys Darby and “30 Rock’s” Judah Friedlander in there.

11. Check out the posters

The American Poster Institute collaborated with Bonnaroo to create the Bonnaroo Poster Art Exhibit, which will feature limited edition handscreened posters by countless talented designers and illustrators. Many posters feature Bonnaroo artists.

Kurt Vile

12. Pee in the grass

Even the cleanest of port-a-potties are horrifying for the claustrophobic. It’s just a cramped, dark telephone booth with poop in it instead of a phone. So go find your car and pee next to it in the grass (ladies, I’m talking to you). If anyone sees you, it’s fine–that’s definitely not the weirdest thing happening at Bonnaroo.

13. Wear comfortable shoes

A lot of people do flip-flops or just bare feet, but I wouldn’t. Depending on how far away you’ve parked, how many shows you’re planning on cramming into each day and factoring in the general sludge that collects after a day or so in certain parts of the field, you may want to stick with old sneakers.

14. Wear deodorant

It’s the simplest way to respect your neighbor.

15. Be nice and talk to people   

There are 80,000 other people at Bonnaroo with you. Be friendly and talk to some of them–it’s the spirit of the festival, and furthermore, a lot of those people are in the music industry. If that’s your bag and you’re really lucky, you could end up talking to one of them and finding an “in” if you’re looking for one. It happens all the time. You never know who you’re going to meet.


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