a lot of people together dancing and celebrating life at the bonnaroo music festival Tennessee

Now that Coachella 2017 has officially wrapped, we can focus on the biggest happening to hit the southeast this summer: Bonnaroo. If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, the good news is there’s still time! Grab a Nashville shuttle package or a full four-day (June 8 to 11) General Admission pass before they’re all sold out. But we’ll get to that later, procrastinators. If you’ve already got your tickets and are planning your flowered, fringed outfits, look no further. Here’s everything you need to know about all things Bonnaroo, from how to get there to the artists you won’t want to miss.

How to Get There

Before arriving to the magical land of ‘Roo, you’ll have to overcome what may be the biggest hassle for all festival goers: getting there. If you’re road-tripping it to Manchester with a bunch of friends, enjoy General Admission Camping (which is included in your festival ticket price if you are not bringing a vehicle). Every car, truck, SUV, mini van, or other standard vehicle will need a Car Camping Pass or Day Parking pass in order to get enter Bonnaroo through the Tollbooth.

If the #CampingLife isn’t for you, don’t fret: there are plenty of other options. Drive to the fest each day and stay at a nearby hotel instead. If you want to explore more of Tennessee while you’re in town, fly into the Nashville airport (BNA) and book a hotel or AirBNB for the weekend. Nashville, just an hour north of Manchester, is the perfect place to retreat to when you want a break from the magic. The festival has teamed up with the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, where they put together a daily round-trip shuttle program that will take you from Nashville to Bonnaroo and back in the same day. Talk about convenient!

Where to Stay

Your campsite will be your home away from home for the weekend, so get comfy with the tents and decorations of your choosing. Campsite sizes are roughly 20’x20’, so expect to be getting real cozy with your neighbors because you’ll likely be around them when you’re not at Centeroo (the nucleus of Bonnaroo where the shows take place). You can also buy Le Bon Tents (formerly known as Tent City) — Bonnaroo volunteers will pitch your tent for you and stock it with souvenirs that you can keep (including the tent!).

Speaking of Centeroo, you’ll have to walk from your campsite to get there each day, so keep track of where your car is parked by snapping a picture when you get there. And if you want somewhere to relax that isn't your own tent, you’ll want to look out for the closest Pod to your campsite too. Pods are community centers located throughout the Bonnaroo campground, fit with showers, bathrooms, water, security, an information booth, and medical centers.

Which Artists to Catch

With more than 150 performances on 10 different stages, you’re bound to hear some of the best performances of your life. Once you’ve had your fix of U2, check out the Red Hot Chili Peppers for the ultimate rock and roll performance. Big names you’ll want to see are The Weekend, Chance the Rapper, Lorde, and Travis Scott. Or maybe you’re into the alternative rock style, which means Cage the Elephant, Glass Animals, and Cold War Kids should be on your radar. Want to hear music’s next big breakout stars? Up and comers Coin, Bad Suns, and Leon will get you ahead of the game.

Comedy nerds, unite. If you’re looking to get a few more laughs in, don’t forget to check out the Comedy tent. Hannibal Buress, Hari Kondabolu, and Sabrina Jalees are notable acts to hear when you want to switch up your entertainment for a bit. If you want an accessible ‘Roo resource for the whole weekend, download the Bonnaroo app to get a sneak peek at artist showtimes, food vendors, FAQs, and more.

What to Eat

Although the performances are the main attraction at any festival, the plethora of food choices come in as a close second. Bacon lovers, your prayers have been answered. Swine and dine at Bacon Land to indulge in your favorite pork plates. Or maybe you want a little bit of everything, in which case you’ll want to (frequently) visit the sea of food trucks at Centeroo and try something new at every meal.

You don’t have to feel bad about indulging, either. Bonnaroo is a festival centered around sustainability and treating our planet with care, which is why they compost everything they can from the weekend and donate $1 of each ticket to global causes. Our inner Phoebe Buffay is glowing with pride. 

What to Pack

Although Bonnaroo isn’t quite as notorious for its #festivalfashion moments as Coachella, you’ll want to be sporting your best threads for all the photo-ops. Check out Lulus and Tobi for fashion inspo and prime staple pieces, or Carmar Denim to find your perfect pair of denim shorts. If you want to set up your campsite for the most Insta-worthy moments, pack a tapestry from Urban or some beautiful towels from Sandcloud to bring the good vibes to your tent space.

The most important thing when planning your outfits: it’s going to be hot. Between the Tennessee humidity and the sweaty, sun-baked crowds you’ll be navigating through, you’ll need more than just the essentials. We suggest a purse, backpack or fanny pack with sunscreen, a reusable water bottle, tissues, hand sanitizer, sunglasses, a hat, portable phone charger, advil, cash, and gum. Also, you may want to think about ditching your usual wallet, or leaving it in the car while your roo-ing. Just have your ID and money handy in a coin purse or smaller wallet so you’re not risking losing all of your valuables.

What VIP Gets You

If you’ve got that cash money to dish out, VIP may be the way to go. You’ll get to watch performances from exclusive viewing areas, enter through special VIP entrances, attend a pre-event party on Thursday night, and hang in the lounges in the VIP courtyard. Did we mention you’ll get special shower and restroom facilities?(!) Plus, you can take free yoga classes throughout the entire weekend if you need a little me-time.

For those of us not balling on a budget, Platinum tickets get you all the VIP perks plus guaranteed front-row seats at your favorite performances, a reserved camping location within the VIP campground, and access to the exclusive Platinum Hospitality Lounge.


Ready to get in the music festival mood? Check out our Coachella coverage!