The excitement of Bonnaroo is spilling from the main stages to the campgrounds as the festival prepares to launch its 17th year this Thursday in Manchester.
More barns and performance halls have been constructed among the hundreds of camping acres at Bonnaroo to bring chefs, comedians, and even a New York nightclub to the 700-acre farm. The camping areas now include four permanent performance venues, up from two last year.
“Bonnaroo is trying to spread out the experience and not just have entertainment happening in Centeroo, but to extend it out and have it in the campgrounds,” said Bonnaroo promoter Ken Weinstein, who has been with the festival since its inception. “Bonnaroo is putting a lot of emphasis on the experience side of the festival and making meaningful connections that last for 365 days, not just four days. How does Bonnaroo stand out in the mix of all the festivals out there? No other festival is 24-7 and there’s no other experience like it. People want to come for the Bonnaroo experience because it’s so unique.”
The campgrounds are no longer viewed as a spot just to grab a few winks, but as their own communities. Festival-goers can select a campground that fits their lifestyle with activities that are planned accordingly.
One of the new permanent campground venues will be home to the House of Yes, the famed New York nightspot known for its dance parties that are combined with acrobatic circus shows. House of Yes will also offer theatrical performances that are ruthlessly blended with rock shows.
At another campground area, Matt Shultz of Cage the Elephant will be among the campers and he will spearhead a wide range of activities from painting to parties.
At another campground, comedy routines will be offered from 5 to 6 p.m. daily, along with late-night vinyl record sets.
Bonnaroo tickets are still available at Bonnaroo.com.
Since its start in 2002, Bonnaroo continues to be one of the most popular music festivals in America. Over the years, the Tennessee Highway Patrol has worked hard to minimize traffic jams, but the influx of thousands of festival-goers likely means there will be some delays around Manchester and I-24 beginning Wednesday afternoon.
Bonnaroo officially opens its gates Wednesday at 8 p.m. and state troopers will be on hand 24 hours a day patrolling on the ground and by air.
“The No. 1 goal of the Tennessee Highway Patrol is to reduce traffic-related incidents and fatalities,” said THP Col. Dereck Stewart.