I’m fascinated by the culture that has been built up around Bonnaroo. It’s not just a festival, an event, a place. It’s a sense of community. An identity. An escape. A self-contained culture.

me enjoying Bonnaroo culture
Key elements of the Bonnaroo style:

  • hair in two braids or two buns
  • intense sunburn (why have these people not mastered sunscreen yet?)
  • tattoos, glitter, body paint
  • floral prints & tie-die 
  • fanny packs & bandanas
  • spectrum of neon colors
  • free-hanging breasts
  • high-waisted “cheeky” shorts
  • pierced belly buttons 
my Bonnaroo look
As you might notice from that list, the women of Bonnaroo adhere to a more defined uniform than the men.
Other characteristic elements of Bonnaroo:
  • high five-ing strangers
  • varying levels of drug-induced trances/dances 
  • fried foods & plastic cups of beer
  • heavy clouds of smoke & dust 

As you can probably tell from the anthropological notes, I just got back from my first time at Bonnaroo. I was there from early Thursday morning until late Sunday night as a “vendor,” volunteering at the Porch Writers Collective booth in a nonprofit area called Planet Roo. 

my Bonnaroo view
Strangely (to me), a lot of Bonnaroo attendees never went to Planet Roo. I learned during the weekend that many people hang out at their campsite all morning, usually drinking/smoking with their “Roo Croo,” until they feel drunk and/or high enough to go to shows (which start early afternoon). This realization made me ponder how happy I am to be confident in my personal values and priorities. Personal health is a high priority for me, so I don’t like smoking or heavy drinking. Exploration and awareness are high priorities for me, so it seemed natural for me to familiarize myself with every area of “Center Roo” (the festival’s main campus). Clearly not everyone shares these values, and therefore lots of people “did” the festival differently than me. Hike your own hike.
The Head & the Heart – one of my favorite shows all weekend

Sweet Crude – a band from New Orleans that I LOVED

Mandolin Orange <3

classic Roo: a penis inflatable (complete with a sheer condom), emerging from a pink-frosted donut inflatable. Next to a unicorn inflatable. My group used this as a landmark to find each other before Lorde’s performance Sunday night.