Here’s another item to add to your checklist of things to do at Bonnaroo – take a hot shower.
As the festival celebrates its 15th summer in Manchester, shower stalls are one of the many new luxuries in place this year. The showers join flushable toilets and two-person cabanas as items which allow visitors to take a step up from roughing it.
“It’s all part of the upgrades to make Great Stage Park the premier entertainment grounds in the country,” said Jeff Cuellar of AC Entertainment. “We’re continuing to look for events to have here outside of Bonnaroo.”
Great Stage Park is the name that’s been given to the 700-acre farm where Bonnaroo is held. Despite long-discussed efforts by promoters to have other events there throughout the year, Bonnaroo has been the only major draw thus far.
“Bathrooms and showers aren’t the sexiest thing to talk about,” said Cuellar, “but it’s another thing we’re doing to enhance the Bonnaroo experience. We’ve found people want options and we want to give them those options while still being true to the integrity of Bonnaroo.”
When AC Entertainment and Superfly Presents joined forces to launch Bonnaroo 15 years ago, most visitors pitched a tent or slept in their car. Now when asked if a hotel might be in the works for the Bonnaroo grounds, Cuellar laughed and said “anything’s possible.”
Bonnaroo has grown to offer 12 different camping options. That includes renting an air-conditioned cabana complete with two twin beds.
Also new this year is a souvenir camping tent that’s set up and waiting for you when you arrive. It includes two air mattresses and two sleeping bags. At the end of the festival, you pack it up and take the souvenir tent home with you.
“Bonnaroo is very inclusive,” said Cuellar. “We want to cater to everyone. This includes grandparents coming with their grandkids.”
The addition of flushable toilets shows people can still get excited about plumbing. Bonnaroo now has 300 toilets in two separate facilities. They won’t completely replace the universally hated port-o-potties, but they will reduce their use.
Tennessee Department of Tourism Commissioner Kevin Triplett says Bonnaroo is the primary reason Coffee County has been able to grow its tourism dollars from $46 million a year to $84 million.
“From a plot of farmland in Manchester has risen not corn or tomatoes, but another crop for which we also are famous – music,” said Triplett.
As for the Bonnaroo music lineup, the festival is without a jaw-dropping headliner this year. Dead & Company and Pearl Jam are the two most well-known acts and they have both played Bonnaroo in the past. Ticket sales are normally not released until after the festival, but they are said to be down this year.