Manchester – To some who attend it annually, Bonnaroo feels like one part religious experience, one part coming home. Who would have ever thought that for four glorious days, Manchester would become the epicenter of the music world? But this weekend that’s exactly what will happen as 80,000 fans descend on a 700-acre farm just off Interstate 24 in Coffee County.
Headliners Radiohead, The Beach Boys, Phish, Alice Cooper and The Red Hot Chili Peppers will all hangout just 25 miles up the road. They’ll be joined by over 70 other name brands and up-and-comer plus a full line-up of comedians and film screenings.
Once inside, there’s no shortage of experiences to be had from discovering a new art form to learning about living a green lifestyle. Vendors gather in long rows spanning outward from a large (sometimes lifesaving) water fountain at the center of the festival. As you wander in and out of booths, it looks more like a New Delhi street market than middle Tennessee.
There’s also a plethora of change-agent activities going on like the One For All Clothing Drive. People trade in donated clothes for festival rewards and the items are either donated to local shelters or turned over to a textile recycling plant where your old clothes can be turned into new yarn for new clothes.
There’s also a ton of eclectic, just-plain-fun stuff like the Silent Disco, morning yoga or getting your hair washed and the Broo’ers Festival featuring over 20 different kinds of beer.
One of the most amazing things about Bonnaroo is that in a little over a week after it’s over … you’d never know they were there. Like the National Park Service motto of years past, Bonnaroo seeks “to take only memories and leave only footprints.” Each year, it diverts millions of pounds of recyclable and compostable material produced at the festival from the landfill. Festival-goes actually earn rewards for recycling that can be immediately used to buy things you need. The cans and bottles become a currency of sort, and the more recycling you collect, the more valuable items you can purchase.
If you go >> Take Highway 55 in Tullahoma until it dead ends into Highway 41A. Turn right and go less than one mile to the intersection of South Jackson Street and East Carroll Street. Turn left and continue on Highway 55 in Manchester. Look for signs directing to the festival grounds.