If you describe Bonnaroo to anyone who hasn’t been there themselves, it invariably sounds like hell. For four days, 90,000 people from all over gather in a 10,000-person town where, by mid-June, the temperature is regularly hitting 90 degrees. There, they pitch campsites that, by morning light, become sweat lodges. There are no toilets. It costs about $7 to shower. If you want to go to bed before 4 so you’re ready to rise with the sun at 6, you should prepare yourself to feel Skrillex pulsing through the campgrounds and down your spinal column like a stampede of buffalo who’ve just dosed on MDMA.
If you speak to most anyone who’s been to Bonnaroo, though, you’ll hear those same exact things in a positive light. These are not delusional people (for the most part). They just genuinely love Bonnaroo. That’s because in the abstract, Bonnaroo is a nightmare. In reality, it’s saved by its audience and the stories they bring to the farm (and it’s still kind of a nightmare). These are the people you meet at Bonnaroo.