Bonnaroo campsites

Beg, Borrow or Steal

to be prepared at Bonnaroo, otherwise you'll find yourself spending money you don't have on things you could've bought for half the price before you arrived.

Here's a list of some of the things I think are important. For more information, check out the 2008 Bonnaroo Info Guide, a 1.4 megabyte PDF.

  1. Bug spray with DEET
  2. Canopy for shade and rain protection
  3. Factory-sealed bottles of water
  4. Extra rope or cord
  5. Duct tape and/or electrical tape
  6. Toilet paper (bring more than you think you'll need)
  7. Food (no glass containers!)
  8. Can opener, pots, pans, plates, utensils, etc.
  9. Ponchos or other rain gear
  10. Chairs for your campsite
  11. Earplugs. Bring some or you'll be sorry

I think what's most important, though, is that you come determined to relax and have a good time. Bonnaroo is inconvenient, period. But it's amazing. I saw some of my favorite bands, discovered new favorites, etc. etc.

1. I realize the folks at Bonnaroo specifically urge you to bring bug spray without DEET, but it works. You might also want to look for a repellent with Permethrin, which is safe for use on clothes.

2. Trust me on this one. The campsites are tightly packed and spread across a massive field with no shade. Since there isn't a whole lot of shade in the main festival area, you're going to want an occasional respite. Some people just hang out in their tents for shade, but it's sweltering inside and you'll want to feel the full force of every breeze that comes along. Canopies are also extremely convenient for cooking and eating under when it's raining.

3. You're allowed to bring factory-sealed water into the main festival area, or you can bring empty bottles in and refill them once you get through the security check. I find the water in the main area disgusting. One word on that: sulphur. It's disgusting. The smell isn't so bad, but taste really ruins the refreshment factor. I preferred to drink my factory-fresh water, then refill the bottles with sulphur water to pour on my head and cool me down.

4. You'll never know what (or who) you'll need to use this on.

5. Ditto on this. I used tape to help remedy my canopy's shoddy construction, to help mark tent stakes and to help keep my garbage bags upright.

6. There wasn't usually any toilet paper in the port-a-potties near the campsites. You can imagine why you might want to bring extra. I also carried some in my pocket when I went to Centeroo because the toilets there also rarely had paper.

7. Seriously, don't bring any glass containers unless you have a really good hiding place in your car--they're searched pretty thoroughly as you enter the farm. Don't forget to bring all the basics, because although you can buy essentials there, they cost double what they would anywhere else. But they do have everything from can openers to flip flops to tents in the general store. You can buy pretty much any kind of food you want, including cheese fries, hamburgers, shish kabobs, shrimp alfredo pasta and fish sandwiches. Plus there are all kinds of desserts around. I was often tempted by what I saw in the vendors' stalls, so plan to bring some extra cash for a few culinary indulgences.

8. See number 7.

9. It rained while I was at Bonnaroo, and I was probably more annoyed by it than you would be because our tent leaked. Still, you'll want something to keep you dry if you have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, if the wind pulls up one of your tent stakes or if you really want to go see an awesome band but don't feel like being cold and miserable.

10. Chairs are great! I like to sit, and hopefully you do, too. Some people might be happy in the grass, but I'm allergic (no joke.) Plus the grass was at least two feet tall when I was there, so I also put down a tarp covering the entire area under my canopy so I could walk around without breaking out in a rash. You'd probably be annoyed by the tall grass even if you're not allergic, so be prepared to trample the weeds.

11. My neighbors liked to wake up at 6 a.m. and enjoy a power breakfast of beer and pot. Translation: it was noisy. Remember when Kanye West didn't take the stage until sunrise? I was trying to sleep, but as angry, obscene cries damning West crisscrossed the festival, I joined in. He had woken me up by going onstage late. And as people trip over your tent cords and pull up your stakes while searching drunkenly for their tents after a 2 a.m. set, you'll hear them stumble past. You'll mumble and groan that they'd better not have screwed up your tent yet again, even if you're wearing earplugs. But I swear they help.