When I graduated college in 2014, I promised myself that I would be more accepting of new experiences and opportunities. I was going to say “yes” more and see what happened. Almost immediately after deciding to follow this path, my older brother walked upstairs and announced that we were going to Tennessee.
Fast forward to 2017: I had already attended Bonnaroo twice by the time that I suggested the trip to my girlfriend. She was hesitant at first, given that we had only just started dating and the fact that it would be her first big road trip without her family, but soon warmed to the idea and began gathering things to bring with us.
We planned to leave a few days early to visit family on Long Island and get a headstart on our caravan companions so that we could stop along the way. It didn’t take us long to realize that there wasn’t going to be much reason to stop through Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia or the small slab of Georgia we snuck through. We made it to our destination in Tennessee in record time and ended up renting a motel room instead of sleeping in our Kia Sedona so that we could shower and chill before our 5-day stint in the tent-city music festival.
Relaxing in Tennessee is undoubtedly one of my favorite parts of the Bonnaroo experience. Each year we coordinate travel plans with our group of around 8-10 people and converge on a small motel to prep for the festival and enjoy some of the luxuries that the surrounding area has to offer. While it’s easy to get dirty looks as a new-age hippy, nevermind a Yankee, in the South, Manchester has always been welcoming to us.
Next week, I will go over what happened on Wednesday, the day before the festival officially starts. My goal is to have a post for each day of the festival and then one for our trip home.
For those curious, here are a few items we brought with us that came in handy (I will be writing more about how to make music festivals as hassel free as possible soon!):
- A Solar Shower: Although Live Nation has made Bonnaroo a much more hygienic experience in recent years, it’s always nice to have a solar shower with you in case you’re desperately in need of a warm shower.
- A Reflective Tarp: Tennessee is HOT in the summer. We used a reflective tarp to help keep the sun from warming up our tent area and car too much during the hot days and offer protection from the inclement weather.
- A Hammock: Although I thought I would have more opportunities to use it in Bonnaroo itself, I found the hammock really useful for finding a quiet place in the woods to relax. Thankfully, Bonnaroo already has plenty of hammocks set up throughout their campsite and festival grounds so this may not be as necessary as other items.
- Lots of Bungies: While I hope our sleeping situation is better designed next year, we used lots of bungies to keep our supplies and luggage from falling on top of us while we slept on our mattress in the back of the van. Once we arrived, the bungies were great for setting up camp and keeping things from flying away.
If you’d be interested in reading more about my experiences traveling and visiting music festivals, feel free to shoot me a comment to let me know.