Bonnaroo Review and Helpful tips for festivals

After emerging from the dust cloud and wet marsh for four days, people and visitors of Manchester, Tenn., were finally able to get a breath of fresh air. With more than 50 acts, several main stages, countless listeners and numerous vendors, Bonnaroo 2010 provided the crowd with something to look forward to besides the World Cup.

Eight years ago, the festival started as a means to bring art and music together, and since then, its attendance has increasingly grown. It’s hard to imagine the festival not growing, as it’s one of the few that brings musicians of all genres and also because Bonnaroo strives to become fully eco-friendly in the future.

Compared to Friday and Saturday, Thursday and Sunday provided more of a chill, laid back environment. However, on Friday, the highlight was a surprise visit from Conan “Coco” O’Brien when he introduced Tenacious D, Damian Marley and Nas. While lines to see O’Brien started late at night, it didn’t stop him from being seen, as his height and cowboy look did not allow him to blend into the crowd. The hardest decision that night came at midnight when the Flaming Lips and the Black Keys were playing at the same time. For fans of both bands, nothing was lost as both put on a show worth talking about past the weekend.

Just as everyone thought the night might have been winding down, Kid Cudi and B.O.B went on back-to-back at 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. The biggest moment, however, came Saturday night when Conan O’Brien introduced Stevie Wonder as one of the best entertainers around. Following Wonder, Jay-Z came on and played a solid two hours of music from Blueprint 3 and even some oldies.

Centeroo, which can be called the downtown to this little city, is the main area where everyone enters and exits, but mostly it’s only the beginning of what seems to be a never-ending campground. Whether it was camping or listening to the acts, listening pleasures were found for all ears.

From the big names like Jay-Z, Wonder and O’Brien, to the smaller stage shows such as Paper Tongues (who recently played at 97X Backyard BBQ), Umphrey’s McGee, and an acoustic set from Circa Survive – the festival was full of sleepless nights and dancing.

Next year is said to be the biggest Bonnaroo yet, as the festival will celebrate its 10-year anniversary, and attendees are already looking forward to it.

Whether you’re traveling alone or with groups, here are some pointers for anyone making the trek to Bonnaroo for next year’s festivities:

1. You can never bring enough water with you, but make sure to bring two water canisters so when they run out you can refill them at one of the water stations.

2. Make sure to bring wipes, as showers are not easily accessible. The humidity up in the mountains makes it impossible to stay as clean as you would like.

3. Carry as little as possible! Even though the festival’s website suggests bringing chairs and blankets to sit on – sitting will be the least of your worries – until, that is, the acts you wanted to see are done playing.

4. Hats can be forgotten because when you’re in the crowd, dancing around or trying to take photos, they tend to get in the way.

5. Make sure to bring enough money before entering the grounds, as ATM machines constantly have lines. While cash comes in handy for food, most of the vendors accept credit cards anyway.

6. Crocs or rain boots are the way to go as flip-flops and regular shoes are not festival friendly. Between the ankle-deep mud and water playgrounds all around, wearing water-friendly makes the day a little easier to get through.

7. Expect your phone to either die or just don’t bring it because coverage isn’t the great for many phone carriers. If you go in groups, it’s best to bring walkie-talkies or set up a time to meet after certain stage sets.

8. Make sure to go to Silent Disko, even if it’s your last night!