TL;DR: Was a completely intimidated and worried about logistics. Turns out, Bonnaroo was amazing.
You’ve read how we got to Bonnaroo and what we did there. Here are some of my overall thoughts on the weekend adventure.
I’m also creating a page on this site called Bonnaroo VIP where I’m documenting things like what we brought, what we should have brought, what VIP offers, things that worked for us, things that didn’t, etc.. If you’d like to know what we’d do differently next year, that’ll be the place to find out.
I discovered that most of the research I’d done is from a General Admission perspective, and that is just not the same for planning for Bonnaroo VIP, and I’m hoping to do my part in helping new Bonnaroovian who’s sprung for VIP.
Some of my favorite moments and memories (in no particular order):
- Saturday morning’s What Stage sound check – My Name is Mud (Primus) blasted loudly through the farm at 7:30 in the morning.
- Following Jason and Nichole’s Ford Flex down the long road into VIP on Thursday morning. My heart was pumping with anticipation and excitement (rather than anxiety and stress).
- Sunday morning’s What Stage Tom Petty sound check was like our own little concert.
- Hanging out at camp, I noticed Molly’s awesome Dr. Who t-shirt. We started a little Dr. Who conversation which caused everyone else who was around to stop their conversations to talk about David Tennent versus Matt Smith.
- Cajun Cheese Fries and Wonder Waffle on Friday night after escaping the Paul McCartney chaos.
- Meeting 12 perfect strangers in a funeral home parking lot and it not feeling weird at all.
- The guy wearing nothing but a Speedo; and with absence of pockets, used the top of his Speedo to “store” things. So, his cell phone, guide book and map were all sticking out the top of his Speedo.
- Walking back to our tent from the bathrooms after Jack Johnson had finished playing. There were fireworks in the sky and anyone who was hanging out in their tents were standing out in the aisle-way looking up at the sky watching. It felt like all of Bonnaroo was stopped, watching those fireworks. And we were all sharing that moment.
- When Tom Petty introduced each Heartbreaker, slowly and with such respect.
- Every evening, as the sun started going down, the air became sweet and cool and made me want to go out and see more things.
- That last bit of time after the Tom Petty concert was over, sitting with my new wonderful friends, enjoying the last of the weekend.
Regret seems like a strong word, but I can’t think of a better way to describe it.
- I’m really sad over missing the Trombone Shorty encore on the Sonic stage. By the time I found it on the schedule (thinking it was at 2:15am), the encore was already well-passed over, so I’d have missed it anyway, but I spent most of the day looking forward to that show.
- Django Django and Alt-J. I wish we would have moved in closer – I feel like there was something in my brain that was keeping me from getting to immersed in the crowds; as if I was afraid to push my way into a good spot. I think there were 2 things holding me back:
- Afraid of getting separated from Nick and not being able to find him again.
- In big crowds at concerts I often find myself sandwiched between large dudes and staring at their shoulder blades while being knocked around.
- Paul McCartney. We should have made a better attempt to get to the VIP section to watch that show, and not left early to see The XX who was just terrible.
- Not researching more bands beforehand. There were so many bands that didn’t even register on our radar because we’d never heard of them. I’m sure we missed out on a bunch of great stuff.
- Reading Bonnaroo threads after we got home, we found out that there were VIP viewing areas at This Tent and The Other Tent.
- At the last minute before leaving home, I grabbed my small Canon point-and-shoot camera. But not the battery charger. I took a few pictures before the battery died. I took a few more with my iPhone, but its slow and not great. Wish I would have taken more pictures. Specifically, more pictures of people – the Reddaroo VIP group, Nick, me, Nick&Me and just random people. Its the people that make Bonnaroo what it is, and I don’t feel like I documented that well enough.
- Not walking under the Bonnaroo Arch. Not once. I really wish I’d gone under at night.
Summary and thoughts:
We make ourselves busy people. We work hard, we play hard. Our summers are packed with trips, bike races and events. Because we try to do so much, I have a hard time wanting to take vacations that require a lot of pre-work and pre-planning. Even though I knew Bonnaroo would be worth the effort it took to get there, there were parts of me that were absolutely dreading this trip. There were far too many things to think about – and I didn’t even feel like I knew what those things were. There were parts of me, though, that were very excited about this trip. I was going to see Tom fucking Petty – LIVE.
When Nick found the Camp Reddaroo VIP Facebook group and I read Jason’s plan – it was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. This group would help us navigate into the camp ground, find is a great spot, show us where the bathrooms and showers were, and just generally point us in the right direction as needed. We spent the weekend with some really great, like-minded folks who were all very different in real life, but so much the same this weekend. I’m sure I would have had a really great time had we not met up with Reddaroo VIP, but I just don’t think it would have compared to the experience we did have.
We were 14 complete strangers who fell quickly into great friendship that made for an amazing weekend. Next to purchasing VIP in the first place, hooking up with this group of people was absolutely the best thing we did for Bonnaroo.
Nick asked me, late Thursday if I’d go again next year and I said “I think, maybe.”, on Friday it was “I think, probably” by mid day Saturday, there was no more asking because the “Next year I want to … ” conversations had started.