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Bonnaroo festival adds variety and goes green

Music, art, camping and a diverse community are all part of the experience for patrons traveling to the Bonnaroo Art and Music Festival this summer.

Bonnaroo, held in Manchester, Tennessee on June 11-14, attracts students and others from all over the country, providing entertainment from music and comedy acts including Snoop Dog, Nine Inch Nails and Bruce Springsteen.

Patrons set up camp for four days of music and comedy acts on a 700-acre farm.

Bonnaroo, which began in 2002, features a multi-stage setup, so campers can catch a variety of groups at once while taking part in art classes and yoga sessions and listening to lectures.

Campers can take a break from the summer heat and sit in an air-conditioned comedy tent, watching headline performers Jimmy Fallon and Aziz Ansari.

Ansari, who performed at Bonnaroo in 2007, is known for his TV show Parks and
Recreation. He was also a member of MTV’s Human Giant, a comedy show of short film clips.

Ansari said he usually performs in small comedy clubs and venues but cannot wait for his performance at Bonnaroo this year.

“A huge crowd like that, there is this energy there that you know you get just from the sheer number of people,” he said. “I never got the chance to go just as a patron … but I have always had a really good time at the festival. It’s definitely one of my favorite music festivals.”

Along with comedy acts, fans will have the opportunity to delve into a recognizable music lineup, ranging from major hip-hop artists to folk singers.

Gregg Gillis, the DJ behind Girl Talk, said he is very excited that Bonnaroo will have more of a hip-hop influence this year.

“I like playing at festivals and at shows where it might be slightly non-traditional to play,” he said. “Playing something like Bonnaroo — or any other music festival — or playing at a rock and roll venue is something that I really like.”

Musical acts have left lasting impressions on previous attendees.

Family and friends that attend Bonnaroo can take care of their shopping needs with open merchandise shops at “Centeroo,” open 24 hours a day during the Festival. Campers can walk around and find a wide range of trinkets and food in the shops.

The Festival is also committed to maintaining a “green” atmosphere, despite the 100,000 or so patrons that will live on the farm for four days.

Students and others going to Bonnaroo become stakeholders in the push for green when they purchase their tickets — proceeds are contributed to the development and implementation of sustainable improvements in Manchester.

Attendees can also visit “pods” to receive information about going green and how to improve their efforts so that their carbon footprint can be more like a baby’s footprint. The use of 100-percent recycled paper (30-percent post-consumer) for all of the program and administrative needs is another way the Festival attempts to help the planet.

Vendors are also asked to purchse products from local farmers, help the Manchester community with large purchases of hay for horses, and use furniture from liquidation factories that is reused each year.

“It feels like everyone is being a part of (going green) at these large-scale festivals,” Gillis said. “You know, when you have (our companies) and festivals where everyone is pushing the same idea of treating the environment a little better, that goes on to impact people. I think when mainstream culture is pushing, that is when a lot of people just accept it as the norm.”

Bonnaroo participants are encouraged to carpool and receive VIP incentives for

Tickets for Bonnaroo can be purchased at for about $250, which includes a camping site.