Gearing up for Tennessee: Festival Edition

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is officially three weeks away. Oh yes, 21 days from now I will be in Manchester, Tennessee with the best people in my life, getting dirty in a field with thousands of others from around the country.

The time schedule of each artist’s set was released on Tuesday afternoon and with that, the frenzied reality of my road trip set in. Now, this is not a Caribbean getaway, so the highly anticipated pre-takeoff shopping extravaganzas are unnecessary. I need stuff, but not the stuff I normally need.  

Right now in Tennessee it is 80 degrees and sunny, but in three weeks I bet it will be a little warmer. Like hot as hell, actually. Also, the gang and I rented an RV, so staying properly equipped for six days of road-trippin’ and festi-life is important. Beer, water (lots of it), snacks, and toilet paper are essential. So what is Sarah packing in her personal stash? Besides the chapstick, sunscreen, deodorant and sunglasses, these are the festi-must haves I am squeezing into my bags.


1. Glowsticks. I am the Glowstick Queen. Seriously. I want to be covered in them. Ebay sells them in bulk for cheap. Holler!

2. Smartass tee. As a fan of the television show Eastbound and Down, this shirt seemed only appropriate. Oh it reads, “Summer Fucking Tour.” Phish and Kenny Powers baby!

3. Tie dye. Lots of tie-dye, and all handmade by me!

4. Festi-bag. I bought this bag on Etsy.com with Bonnaroo in mind. It is handmade as well and will fit what I need when I am in the crowd.

5. Shield the Tennessee sun. Cheap, funky wayfarer sunglasses.

6. Crocs. Thanks to all the Roo forums, I have learned that Crocs and Telva Sandals are the ideal footwear. Not flip flops. 

7. Cliff Bars. Obvious choice for a lightweight, midday snack.

8. Music. A small, portable music player for our barbecues and late nights on top of the RV.

9. Headgear. I made one from JoAnn Fabrics for under $10 bucks.

10. Mini flashlight. Thanks past Rooers for the heads up, you are probably right, portapotties in the dark would suck.

Maybe I will not be the most stylish in Manchester, but does it matter?

There have been handfuls of forums from past Rooers who have helped tremendously in my planning process, such as this one. The best advice I have compiled from all of the masses of websites I read yesterday are as follows:

3.  Construct a flag or use strong glowsticks to find your RV. Seems logical considering the enormous amounts of RV’s there will be, but I would have totally overlooked this had I not done some research. This site says to do the same for tents.

2. Invest in some dry ice. Enough dry ice will last the entire festival and will keep all the oodles of water we bring cold- even enough to turn into ice which is super useful- and the beer on top of that. Great advice.

1. Forget the cell phones. This may prove hard for me normally, but I do not plan on using it at all during the day or night unless I am about to go to sleep and want to play around. There is no need to “Check-in” every five feet. Again, this is not a Caribbean vacation but it is a retreat. A much needed retreat.

So if you have been to any festival, what do you always pack? What is the most and least important item to bring along? If you are going to Bonnaroo, I will see you on the farm!

12 thoughts on “Gearing up for Tennessee: Festival Edition

  1. Sarah- I went to the ROO last year (first time) and it was an experience to say the least! It will be much hotter in 3 weeks time-but it looks like you’ve done your homework in terms of prep!

    As long as you go with the mindset that you won’t shower for a week, that portopotties smell, you won’t be anywhere close to a stage for every act you want to see and that Roo is more of an experience than musical journey you’ll have a ton of fun!

    Most important thing to bring-
    1- waterbottle to fill up constantly throughout day
    2-sunscreen/hat/sunglasses
    3-moist toweletts and body spray/mist/something lol
    4-bug spray
    5- good people to share the experience with

    Can’t wait to read what you think of it! As for me- goin a bit closer this year at Firefly in DE :)

    • I’m okay with no showering as long as everyone else can’t shower and we all stink together! Good call on the water bottle and everything else you mentioned. I would have forgotten bug spray for sure.

      I’ve got #5 down. Thanks for commenting. I can’t wait to post about it when I get back!! Also, Firefly looks great. I love the Killers! Have fun :)

  2. You still have some time to have some stickers or cards printed up with the name of your blog on it. Put some value on it somewhere – like a coupon or who knows – and hand it out. Inexpensive way to get more visitors. :-)

  3. Sarah, I love your blog, although I don’t necessarily fit the “young” part of your target audience! At 48, semi-retired in a mountain town in Panama, I couldn’t have a lifestyle much more different than yours – which makes it all the more fun for me to read what’s going on with you. Enjoy Bonnaroo – one of my sons and some of his friends have been a few times, apparently it’s a great experience!

  4. Looks like ya ’bout got it covered, as we say here in Tennessee. You may want an umbrella to keep the sun off after too much of it, or maybe even the rain. And don’t forget something to keep your hair off your neck. Swing by Chattanooga if you have time, it is a city worth seeing. Have fun!

  5. Haven’t been to Bonnaroo, but I am hitting Lollapalooza in August this year. I’ll be hijacking a good chunk of this list for my festival needs! Thanks!

  6. I live about 15 miles from Manchester – in addition to what you already have listed, you ought to have something to cover your head. It gets hot here and humid. Be prepared for the bugs that will come out in the late evening. I hope you have a lot of fun!

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