The excitement of a first timers’ trip to Bonnaroo pales in comparison to those that fully understand what they are in for. The weekend warriors that have made the trip in the past for a June weekend of music, comedy, and varying levels of debauchery share prior experiences like war stories. The way they smile through tales of unrelenting sun-surface heat or restroom lines that resemble purgatory is enough to make a Bonnaroo virgin second guess the trek to Tennessee.
While one has many opportunities to turn and run throughout the journey to the 700-acre farmland in the middle of Manchester, those up for the challenge from the start are rewarded. Combining the best aspects of summer camp and Woodstock, Bonnaroo is a beacon for creative, open minds. Festival goers leave the real-world at the entrance and become friendlier. Your issues can’t find you when you have zero cell-phone reception. You can’t be judged for your appearance, because every person lays in the dirt and passes up a shower to catch a favorite band.
And the bands are the real reason to go. One endures the mud, the burns, and the lines for an opportunity to jam pack a weekend full of incredible live music.
In the outside world, it would take years and thousands of dollars to piece together the collective experiences from live shows in one weekend at Bonnaroo. Music starts Thursday at 4pm and lasts until Sunday at midnight, offering something for everyone at all hours in-between. The variables change person to person, depending on the threshold for the predictable-yet-punishing weather and preferences in the massive line-up. But the result is a personal collection of war stories to hold and to share forever (depending on what you remember).
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