When one decides to attend a music festival, they usually do so with an idea in mind that they are entering a safe place. This is why so many people feel free to express themselves and walk around in the weirdest clothes they can find (or no clothes at all.) Most taking part in festival culture assume that everyone lives by the same social contracts, a community almost. This is why the theft at Bonnaroo this year shocked many.
Bonnaroo claims to function off a code it calls “The Bonnaroovian Code,” a previously unwritten set of rules that all attendees at Bonnaroo should follow. They are as follows:
- Prepare thyself
- Radiate positivity
- Respect the farm
- Don’t be that guy (a catchall for a lot of issues)
- Stay true to Roo
According to the yearly Bonnaroo census, 88.2% of all attendees live by this code when on The Farm.
While on Friday all seemed well, the theft really started picking up Saturday, with many festival goer’s visibly shaken and swapping stories of things stolen throughout the weekend.
As we entered Centeroo on Sunday night for the Travis Scott concert, the staff checking bags warned our photographer to keep her bag clutched against her chest because people were stealing lenses and cameras during sets. [An inquiry to fest organizers regarding the warning has yet to be returned.]
On the festival message board, Radiate, attendees were posting horror stories of pick-pocketing and theft during concerts, as well as stories of people slashing tents and stealing/destroying belongings. While a quick search through Reddit will show you that theft at festivals (especially Bonnaroo) is nothing new, this year seemed somewhat worse.
Below are some screenshots of people from both Radiate and the r/Bonnaroo section of Reddit. If you are someone who goes to festivals to steal valuables from others, go somewhere else. While I can’t condone stealing in any form, go to a tailgate or something and leave our festivals alone. People are on a LOT of drugs at these things, don’t ruin their entire psyche by robbing them blind while the world melts before their eyes. If you really need something, these people will give it to you. Be cool.