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Bonnaroo Pre: Year 3

For the third year, LML is taking on Bonnaroo, though this time Aubrey is handing over the reigns to me as she takes on an epic 3-week northeastern road trip with Andrew. I’ve gotten lots of advice from them and other friends about the dos and don’ts of the fest, so I’ll preview a few of those and then list out the can’t miss sets of the weekend. Fingers crossed that the weather holds up (after, like, the rainiest spring in years) and that I don’t feel too old to be there!

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How to live your best Roo: 2019

As mentioned, I have yet to attend the festival, so these are (A) on the advice of others and (B) from previous much smaller camping festival experience.

Set up that canopy over your tent. Pronto.

It’s true, June can be iffy with the weather. But it is Tennessee, so prepare for it to likely be hot af. I’ve looked ahead at the weather and honestly it looks freezing Thursday night, but you know that even then, when the sun comes up, it will feel like an oven in the tent. I’ve been advised to bring multiple tarps/tapestries and position the car to provide more shade. We’ll be in the Le Bon area so not sure about how that will work exactly, but looking forward to the adventure!

Bring multiple sets of earplugs.

A nighttime set and at least a few extra daytimes pairs. Depending on your camping location, you might be right on top of the late night stages (where the partying goes literally all night long), you might have some tipsy neighbors coming in late, or you might just hear everything because tent “walls” aren’t exactly soundproof. So the nighttime ones are a must for sleeping. For the shows, bring at least a couple of pairs – you’ll probably drop one – because we’re at the point where we realize we want our hearing into our old age.

Shower early.

I could go all weekend without showering when I was 22, but no more. Also, since you’ll be up at the crack of dawn when the sun hits your tent, might as well shower then and skip the line.

Is it really worth it to wait in line for pit access?

If you’re prepared to be surrounded by children and stuck in the same spot for hours, do the pit for your favorite band. I’m thinking it won’t be for me (I would definitely need to pee and would also feel claustrophobic) but it’s probably fun and you’d be able to get some dope visuals.

Plan your pee breaks.

It’s looking like a big ass crowd this year, and tbh I’m not sure what the toilet situation is going to be like, so I’m preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. Lots of extra toilet paper are in the works and a flashlight for the late night urges.

Prepare to wait in the car line.

I’d like to not be sitting in the car line for hours, and you can only help by not bringing in what’s on the ‘forbidden’ list. Aubrey didn’t have to go through this either year, but I’ve heard of folks waiting for like 6 hours. OY.

Comfortable. Shoes.

You could be anywhere from 5 minutes to 35+ minutes walking distance from the Centeroo entrance, so be prepared for whatever you get. Don’t bring just that new pair of Chacos with you! Have a solid pair of sneaks on hand for when those toes get weary.

Take a break from the big names and go see some smaller sets.

Some of my favorite sets end up being the early/middle of the afternoon artists at any given festival. Aside from the fact that it’s usually hot as death, you often get to see a rising band play with not that many people in the crowd, and that’s pretty cool.

Wander the camping area and make friends.

Isn’t there something like 20+ camping areas? I imagine each one has a different personality based on who’s staying there. Your phone is going to die anyway, so go talk to people!

Sometimes the shortest food line is the best.

When it’s 5pm and the hunger sets in, the 1 hour wait in the artisan pizza line is probably just not worth it. In my experience, the shorter lines tend to be Mediterranean, Asian, or vegetarian options – all of which are probably healthier and more flavorful anyway!

Hydrate.

Imbibe with alcohol if you choose, but try to stick to that 1:1 ratio of brew:H2O.

Have fun! It’s Bonnaroo, after all!

You’re probably reading this and going to Roo because you want to have a darn good time, so don’t let any negativity get in the way of that. Enjoy yourself!

Who’s on our radar?

We always try to outline a few sets to not miss out on for each festival we cover. See below for the ones I’m most excited about.

Cherry GlazerrThis Tent – Fri. 2:45-3:45p

I don’t know too much about her, but I did recognize her name and then became hooked once I really started listening. I have a feeling this will be one of my early-on shows. I anticipate it will help kick off the weekend on the right foot!

Childish GambinoWhat Stage – Fri. 8:45-10p

This will be twice that I’ve seen DG in Tennessee, actually. I’m curious the difference between seeing him at an arena vs. headlining a festival – I have high hopes, Roo! I think he’s arguably one of the most talented artists today and feel pretty lucky to witness two Gambino performances in less a year.

SolangeWhich Stage – Fri. 10-11:15p 

I’m a little nervous for how it will be going from Gambino to Solange because I have a feeling the energy level will be drastically different, but I am very excited about her set. I’m expecting a dramatic performance, Solange!

Kacey MusgravesWhich Stage – Sat. 7:30-8:30p

Country music may not normally be my #1, but Kacey Musgraves has the voice of an angel. I think she has also avoided falling into the too poppy/too trashy kind of country that dominates a lot of the airwaves and I appreciate someone who sings about something real.

The New RespectsWho Stage – Sat. 5:30-6:15p

They keep on popping up on my Spotify recently and I’m into it. The soulful rock vibes from this young crew (they can’t be older than 25) are just what you’ll need for your Saturday afternoon.

Cardi BWhich Stage – Sun. 7:30-8:30p

I keep telling people I’m excited about Cardi and keep getting “really?!” and I’m not entirely sure why. The woman has been pushing all kinds of boundaries in the male-dominated rap world and I’m here for it.

PhishWhat Stage – Fri. 11p-1a and Sun. 8:30p-12a

These guys are legends in the festival arena and it’s pretty awesome that they’re playing both Friday and Sunday. I usually can only handle jam bands for so long before I start getting sleepy – especially true for Sunday’s set when I imagine I’ll be exhausted and they’re playing for nearly 4 hours – but all of the musicians are always so talented and the improvisation is spectacular.

For a full musical preview, check out the fest’s official Spotify playlist below.

That’s all for the Roo preview this year – check back after for updates!

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