This will be my second year covering the sights and sounds at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, and for many years we at NowPlayingNashville have been telling you Where to Go and What to Do On the Road to Bonnaroo. From twerkout classes to sunrise meditations, the festival has nearly 400 different activities and experiences! Now, we’d like to tell you some of the things to do while you’re actually attending Bonnaroo.
There are some NEW and cool activities that have been added, so keep on reading and let’s go off the beaten path for experiences, activities, beer locations, cool down spots and more.
First, download the Bonnaroo App, if you don’t already have it. It has everything you need, including interactive maps with how to locate these activities. It will be your lifesaver!
OFF THE BEATEN PATH AT ROO
Be in the Bonnaroo Yearbook
The Bonnaroo Yearbook (photobooth) is back! Did you have your photo taken last year? View it to see if you and your “friends” are featured. Missed out last year? Don’t worry — it will be back again this year near the bottom of the tower. If you attend, go take a pic, or it didn’t happen!
Bonnaroo explains it best: “Think of this page as a big ol’ family portrait, full of all your loving friends on The Farm (some you never met, but still love you loads). Some of them shared a smile with you by the fountain, while others were your dancing buddies at the silent disco. Some of them high-fived you by The Arch, and a few cried happy tears just a few rows away when the Killers played “All these Things That I’ve Done.” This is the family. This is Bonnaroo 2018”.
Take Part in One of the Parades
Bonnaroo 2019 will be the FIRST ‘Roo to host a pride parade by House of Yes. Come together and join the first-ever Bonnaroo Pride Parade in celebration of the diversity, sexuality and humanity.
Participate in the Bonnaroo Census
For seven years running now, Bonnaroo takes a census for the four days at the festival. It’s a way to share who you are, where you traveled from, and what’s important to you on and off The Farm. See last year’s results and tell Bonnaroo who YOO are. They have a new HQ this year near The Tower in Plaza 4. Get to know your fellow Bonnaroovians— near and far.
I would love to change the world “with my own two hands,” like Ben Harpers’ song, but in the meantime at Bonnaroo, I can become more informed on sustainability efforts and be more globally aware. Learn how to recycle. Exchange recyclables for merchandise at the trading post. Planet Roo is a space to relax and give back. Plus, there are normally interactive projects that get you involved onsite. There’s a lot of cool stuff like BonnaROOTS Community Dinners, Bonnaroo Learning Garden, and read more on other ways you can be environmentally friendly at Bonnaroo. Rooduce, Roouse, Roocycle!
The Broo’ers Festival is one of many favorites ways to cool off and get out of the sun. Here you will find 24 different breweries from all over the United States, with some local brews and ciders as well. Beer lover? Become a part of the Broo’ers University program, which offers Bonnaroovians a wide array of classes and discussions on the art of beer. I encourage you to stop here early in the festival so you don’t miss out on the classes.
Speaking of cooling off, Snake & Jake’s is another great place to do this. It’s a Christmas-themed barn in June! This legendary New Orleans dive bar features robe parties, DJ sets, brass bands and a lot more surprises to keep you entertained day and night.
This is one of my favorites! I know I have a lot of favorites, but it’s one of Bonnaroo’s top attractions, and the world’s freshest wireless dance party. Don’t by shy — everyone around you will look ridiculous dancing with their headphones on, but it’s an experience that you shouldn’t leave without doing. At the very least, stop by the Silent Disco and check out the hottest dance moves!
Bring your own 1-liter bottle, hydration pack or cup! This will come in handy because you’re going to need water. Staying hydrated is KEY at Bonnaroo. You can also purchase the Bonnaroo refillable beer cup. You get a stainless steel cup that keeps your draft beer cold. Cups are $15 and include a carrying strap for your backpack and a cold beer. You can purchase one of these and refill them at any draft beer location for a discounted fee.
The Oasis: Mixed By BACARDI
The Oasis is back and taking it up a notch. It comes complete with real sand, a tiki bar, a hammock, and a great escape from the Tennessee summer heat. Games of beach volleyball can be played here. Enjoy sitting in an island boat, all while sipping on a refreshing and tropical BACARDĺ cocktail. This is one of my favorites, because you’ll definitely feel like you’re at the beach while getting a summer tan. Plus you can dance along to some #SoundofRum beats!
Did someone say wine? If you’re not a big liquor or beer person, there’s wine for you. This is the first year for the Barefoot Treehouse, which is the perfect place to cool down after being out in the sun for hours. Kick back with a glass of Moscato in a backyard full of games and more!
Sanctuary of Self Love
Roo’s Sanctuary of self-love at Plaza 2 is curated by Hayley Williams of Paramore. This is a place to come love yourself and learn more about your mental health. There are many things that you can do at this plaza to treat yourself after hours of music and sun such as a spa day, an art project, or a new hairdo. The Sanctuary of Self Love will offer Flower Crowns, hair braiding, and more in the BougieRoo area. Who knows — maybe you can catch Hayley herself while you’re doing yoga!
The Ville & The Grove
For eight years and counting, “Whiskey Jam At The Ville” is curated by the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. and local maker-space Fort Houston. Bonnaroovians will have a chance to sample the best in Nashville’s live music, food, art and more. If you haven’t visit Nashville, then go to the Plaza 7’s barn for Nashville-themed culture and art. This is a local favorite with surprise performances from Nashville artists, some late-night weirdness and MORE! Cage the Elephant threw a secret show last year, so who knows what’s going down at Plaza 7.
The Grove is one of the most relaxing shaded retreat with beautiful art installations, hammocks and more. Grab your favorite beverage, soak up the music and cool off in one of the many hammocks while seeing the lovely tapestry work of Yanira Vissepo.
Where In The Woods
“Where In The Woods” is BRAND NEW to Roo this year, and it’s Southeast of Plaza 2. Music in the woods will transform your campground experience in the forest to a magical late-night fun and day-time escape from reality. The Where Stage will feature multi-genre music mixed by DJs with different themes for each day. Thursday is Throwback Thursday, Friday is Future Friday, Saturday is Beach Vibes, and Sunday is R&R. Drop by any time to release your inner forest animal on the dance floor and crazy parties in the woods!
Nature-Roo, Pizza-Roo, Taco-Roo
Tired of hearing or seeing the word Roo already? Well it’s just the beginning! Visit any of these food stands for FREE snacks or food. Yes, you heard it — it’s all FREE! The Nature Valley stand will be in Planet Roo from 11 am-2 pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday. While you’re there, contribute on the interactive mural that’s open until 8 pm.
Totino’s is bringing their mini snack mix for the first-time ever in the WORLD with Mini Mozzarella Bites, Garlic Bread Bites and more. Stop by the Christmas Barn from 8:30-11:30 pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for a late-night snack!
Lastly, Old El Paso is giving out FREE Taco-Roo bowls during happy hour (4-7 pm) for any taco lovers. Enjoy some tasty Cheesy Nashville Nacho Tacos and Vegetarian Bonnaroo Taco bowls near The Other Stage! Don’t miss out on free food!
Align your mind, body and soul on The Farm at Yoga-Roo. Classes are free and open to all levels. No mats required. Times on the Solar Stage are 8:45 am or 10 am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. New this year, YogaRoo classes will be themed to music for your listening pleasure. If you’re looking for a more upbeat workout option, join the dance classes at the Solar Stage starting at 10:45 am or 11 am. Get those dance moves going every morning for the rest of your day.
Participate in the Seventh “First Annual” Roo Run x ASICS. It’s a 5K race across the festival grounds, over the hills and through the woods. Make sure you dress for the occasion. Bonnaroo encourages you to wear headbands, high socks, and fairy wings, along with your required athletic shoes. The Roo Run is open to runners, walkers or just partygoers for the sidelines. So, if you want to join in on this run, REGISTER AND LEARN MORE HERE. Don’t be a slacker and wait until last minute, because you might not get a spot in this amazing race!
The 2019 Grand Marshall is ultramarathoner Charlie Engle, the guy that ran nearly 5,000 miles across the Sahara and is planning a run from the Dead Sea to Mt. Everest later this year.
Here are my other top nine tips on Bonnaroo:
- Bring Your Positive Attitude and Good Vibes
Seriously, no whining allowed. You smile. You meet random strangers. You chill at this festival. You enjoy the overall good energy of being at Bonnaroo.
- Be Yourself
Bonnaroo is totally a judgement free zone. Wear whatever you want, do whatever you want and just have fun! This is one of many reasons why I love Bonnaroo. You can be yourself and enjoy music just like everyone else around you. You’ll see the weirdest or coolest outfits, but honestly no one cares! You’l just get compliments. It’s going to be extra hot on the farm, so dress light.
- Give and Receive High Fives
High Fives are a nature of the Roo. Don’t be THAT person that doesn’t return a High Five. Give and Receive many High Fives! You’ll laugh and smile more. Trust me.
- Bathrooms are Clean & New inside Centeroo
Bonnaroo built permanent restrooms onsite, and they are spectacular. Way better than a Porta Potty. Take an extra roll of toilet paper or tissue, ladies — just in case.
- One Sunscreen Bottle is Never Enough
You’ll need more than one bottle of sunscreen for the whole festival. Although some of you might want to get a tan, trust me — the sun is scorching!
- Hydration is Key
Be sure to bring that refillable bottle, cup or Hydration Pack. I advise bringing a CamelBak, because you’re not going to want to carry anything! You will need to hydrate frequently, and Bonnaroo provides free refilling stations. Boozing it all weekend is never a good idea, so save the alcoholic beverages for sundown and be sure you hydrate as much as possible.
- Bring a Bandana
THIS IS A MUST! When it’s super hot on the farm, everything turns into dust. The heat makes everything dry and you’re going to need it to wipe your sweat off or cover your mouth/nose. I say this because at the end of the day there’s going to be a lot of dust in your nose that you inhale! I usually have one tied around my neck at all times.
- Bring comfy shoes
Be prepared to walk a few miles a day, because you’re going to be walking a whole lot. I know some of y’all want to have cute shoes, but you’re not going to have a fun time with your feet hurting. I recommend some old sneakers or chacos/sandals. Although with sandals, your feet might get super dirty. They’re going to get dirty anyways, but bring shoes that you’re comfortable in. Also, if you’re camping, you’ll most likely have a long walk to Centeroo and other different stages.
- Bring your own snacks & alcohol
As for anywhere, food and alcohol is expensive at Bonnaroo! Bring peanut butter crackers, granola bars or dry foods. When you have you those midnight munchies, you’ll thank me later. Although you might want to sip on cute cocktails at The Oasis, you’ll want to bring most of your alcohol with you to Bonnaroo. You have to be age 21- and-over to consume alcohol beverages, of course, and there are limits to how much alcohol you can bring from home, and where you can drink it. Read the Bonnaroo Health and Safety Rules and Tips before you go.
Follow the Bonnaroovian code, and you’ll be solid. Just have fun because this will be an unforgettable, lifetime experience. Other than that, I’ll see you at the Roo and have your High Five ready!