Bonnaroo 2019 – Preparing for the 1,000 Mile Road Trip

Bonnaroo 2019 is quickly approaching. This time next week, I’ll be relaxing in my campsite, bracing myself for the Tennessee mid-day heat. Before I get there, however, there’s a lot of preparation that I have to get done. In this post, I hope to outline a few of the most important items for any Bonnaroo fan to bring and things that I forget every year.

First of all, register your wristband. That’s key. I also decided to sign up for the auto-payment feature through Paypal so that I don’t have to fuss about having my card on hand during the festival. Once the basics are established, then it’s time to pack for the road trip:

  1. Cooler: Although our Bonnaroo plan involves creating a large group camp, we still need to bring a cooler for ourselves while we’re on the road. We purchased a cooler on our trip to Maine last month, so that’s what we’re going to use this year. Our travel companions will be carrying the larger cooler for our campsite.
  2. Tent: We don’t plan on using our tent for Bonnaroo, given how hot it can get in the morning with or without a canopy. However, it is still essential to have some sort of shelter if all else fails. Also, who knows what might happen if someone needs to borrow a tent.
  3. Solar Shower: Sometimes it’s worth renting a motel room just to get a good shower. Othertimes, there’s a solar shower. Live Nation has done a great job to increase the quality and access to showers in Bonnaroo proper, so this may not come in handy during the festival, but it is a great way to save a few bucks either way.
  4. Bed: Since we’re driving down in a van, we’re assembling a bed in the back to give us a nice place to sleep on the drive down to Bonnaroo. Thankfully, with enough ventilation and a canopy to keep out the heat, the back of the van becomes a cool little hideout to escape from the hustle and bustle of Bonnaroo.
  5. Snacks: Although we usually pick up food for Bonnaroo itself at the Manchester Walmart, we always bring plenty of snacks for the drive down. Although the GSP says it’ll take ~16 hours, it’s more like 20-22 if we include stopping to eat, sleep, and pee. We’re going to want to bring a lot of snacks that I can eat, given how little I’ll be able to snack on at Southern gas station pit stops.
  6. Medicine: Gotta always take your medicine.
  7. Extra Car Supplies: Although I’ve tried my best to ensure that our vehicle is prepped for the trip, it is always wise to prepare for the worst. In our case, we bring a spare tire (not a doughnut), puncture repair kit, and some extra rags and tools if need be. Worst case scenario, we have AAA and festival insurance in our back pocket.

Now that the van is packed, the next step is to ensure that I have everything packed for my time at Bonnaroo. Usually, I try to pack light and load up on luxury items like food and comfortable clothes. I’ll be bringing mostly shorts, with a few pairs of pants and sweat pants for colder nights, mostly t-shirts or light button-ups, my raggedy pair of Nikes I bought to bring to Japan two years ago and my knock-off Timberland boots in case of Mudderoo. Always be prepared.

As mentioned previously, we also plan to bring a reflective tarp to act as a canopy over our van during the day to help keep it cool inside. We’re bringing sheets and other tapestries to hang from our easy-up as well. Solar lights wrapped around the campsite will help keep the place illuminated at night. Unlike previous years, I think I’ll be bringing a small propane camping stove to heat water for morning tea, coffee, oatmeal, etc. Fingers crossed.

I was tempted to bring my guitar this year, but given its sentimental value to me, I don’t want to chance anything happening to it. That being said, I recommend anyone with musical talent to bring their instruments and get things going back at camp during off hours.

My girlfriend and I are very excited to make it down to Tennessee again this year, but at this point, it’s just a case of making sure we have everything we need to bring before we ship out. Once we do, it should be smooth sailing from there.

There’s a chance I get another blog post out before we leave, but it’s slim. Better chance I publish something on the road. Thankfully, there’s a lot yet to discuss! Stay tuned here, on my Instagram, and on Twitter for more updates, blog posts, and musings.

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