In less than 72 hours, a sweaty valley nestled between Nashville and Chattanooga will swarm with 80,000-plus stoners, hippies, jocks and crusty jam band babies. Some of you, including my 'roo coverage partner, Andrew Silverstein, are what I call roogins. Virgins to Bonnaroo that are eager to experience every sound and probably a few mind-altering substances in the process. Last year, I arrived in Manchester, Tenn. to the 700-acre farm excited but completely unaware of what to expect in the four days ahead. I learned most of my Bonnaroo lessons the hard way last year when I was but a mere roogin. For those of you who are roogins, this list will be a gentle hand to hold in the dark before your cherry pops and makes a bloody mess. It would be wise to take heed, young grasshoppers. [All photos by Jerrad McLeod.]
- Dont bother bringing anything in glass into the festival. They will chuck that $150 bottle of whatever without a moments thought. I spoke with a girl on the campgrounds whose RV crew tried to smuggle in hundreds of glass tobacco pieces and alcohol. They had to wait through the four hours of traffic all over again after the roo-police confiscated everything.
- If you go grocery shopping, dont buy too much food — you wont eat it. My Bonnaroo compatriot and I spent more than $100 on groceries. I still have some of those items in my cupboard now. Spend your money on bottled water, granola and snacks, but in all honesty, you'll probably end up buing most of your meals. The selection inside the festival is pretty good and fairly priced. In the campgrounds, there are tons of little homegrown setups. Bloody Mary stands, pancakes, sausages, grilled cheese, etc. The tent city selections are cheap eats, too. I got two Bloody Marys and three pancakes for $6.
- Alcohol purchases are, of course, up to you, but beyond Bloody Marys at 7 a.m., after three hours of sleep, when the sun hits the valley and it goes from 60 degrees to 100 in a seeming matter of moments, you'll find that it's just too damn hot to drink. I bought a 12-pack of Steel Reserve and some boxed wine, none of which were consumed while I was there. Besides kids, there are plenty of other substances available if you are looking to impair your judgment.
- Drink water — it is hot as Hades out there and people will be dropping like flies. Buy one of those giant packages of bottled water and take three or four with you when you head out each day.