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  1. #1

    Default Bonnaroo or Bust 2011

    So a friend and I (maybe another person to make it 3) are planning on attending the Bonnaroo Music Festival in June of 2011. We will both be 18 by then and we are from a town in Minnesota which happens to be roughly 850 miles away (14 hours, 45 minutes approximately). We are wondering how much to bring altogether on this trip. We plan on bringing food, a tent to camp in, sleeping bags, some party favors, and whatever else. What would be a rough estimate for this trip including gas, our 200-250 concert ticket (each) and all other stuff listed above. We plan on camping instead of lodging at a motel/hotel to save some cash. Also, if you have any tips for some first time travelers, we are definitely open for them. We also plan on filming a Road Trip Documentary for this in a mind set of Carpe Diem. We feel a trip like this would be beneficial to the beginning of the rest of our lives and before we set off for college. Post thoughts below.


    Carpe Diem follower

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default building based on fact

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    The first thing you need to understand is the time estimates from Google/Mapquest assume you can drive at or above the speed limit for every minute of your trip, never stopping for gas/food/restrooms, never taking a break from the road, and never hitting a traffic or construction slowdown.

    In other words, the reality is that your 850 mile trip is much more likely to take you about 16 hours, and in any case, it is way too much for you to be trying to do in one day - especially for your first roadtrip. And no, having 2 or 3 drivers will not change that.

    You need to plan to spend at least a day and a half each way to do this safely and responsibly, and if you give yourself 2 days, you'll actually have time to make some fun stops to make this a great roadtrip, and not just a marathon slog. This will also be really needed if you want to videotape anything other than each other's faces and what you see out of a car window.

    As far as costs go, there is the fuel cost calculator on the top left corner of this page that you can estimate your gas bill. Camping will normally run you about $20 a night, if you stay at public facilities like state parks - however, I'd also expect that anything around the festival grounds will also be much more than that - Food will probably be about $15 a day each if you cook most of your own food, and more if you plan to eat at a lot of restaurants, plus you'll also want a nice extra chunk of money for extras - especially since you'll be surrounded by overpriced t-shirts, $6 bottles of water, and $10 hot dogs once you are inside the concert grounds.

  3. #3


    Thanks for all the words of wisdom. I have some other questions. Now, I don't think we will be stopping many places on the way down to Tennessee due to the graduation ceremony most likely being a couple nights before the actual concert. However, we do want to stop at quite a few places on the way back since there is no real rush of getting back. Any cool museums, night clubs, or other must-check out places. The cities we most likely will be passing through include a variation of Indianapolis, St. Louis, Madison, and Nashville.

  4. Default

    Hey man, I just got home a few weeks ago from Bonnaroo, and there is some stuff you need to know. Before I type a novel, reply to this in the next day or so and let me know you are still reading this thread. If so, I will give you all the advice I have ( and you want it, trust me). Bonnaroo is an awesome once in a lifetime experience but you want to be prepared for the crazy experience you're gonna have.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default useful info

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Even if the original poster doesn't stop back, I'm sure your information would be useful. Each year, we always have several people asking questions about heading to Bonnaroo.

  6. Default beginners guide to bonnaroo

    Okay, there's a lot to know. First is what time to arrive, and I guess this could change yearly, but in 2010 you definitely wanted to be the early bird. The shows started around noon on Thursday, but if you didn't arrive Wednesday night you were screwed in traffic. We arrived southbound from Nashville on I-24 at around 11:00 p.m. Wednesday and had a freak bit of luck: the south bound exit ramp at Manchester, which had been closed, was briefly opened. I guess this was a desperate attempt by the cops to alleviate the traffic problem. Anyway, we got to get off there right after they opened it and proceeded to the top of the ramp, where we got backed up in traffic. 45 minutes later they changed their minds and closed the southbound exit again, which forced everyone coming from Nashville to go to the next exit, cross over, and approach on the north bound lane. THIS SIDE WAS BACKED UP A COUPLE OF MILES in the breakdown lane, and had been even before I arrived. So like I said, crazy lucky break for me and DON'T expect the same thing to happen for you. I would recommend you arrive at the Manchester exit, or as close as you can get to it, before dark on Wednesday and just plan to spend that extra night camping. Next is the wait to get into the grounds. The state troopers are out in force to keep the traffic moving and you'll see a bunch of them. If you aren't doing something crazy like waving beer bottles out the window or something stupid they're not worried about you. Just stay in line and chat with your neighbors and give off good vibes and you'll be cool. We spent about an hour and a half in line before we got to the gate, but there were cars on the other side that spent much longer, and few old junkers were sidelined from overheating, so come in a decent vehicle that can handle idling and creeping along for a few hours. I heard from a few fellow campers that they had friends that showed up around 2 or 3 a.m. on the interstate and didn't get in until after lunch on Thursday, so EARLY IS BETTER. You don't want to have a fourteen hour drive from MN and then spend another ten hours in line. Get there early Wednesday evening and camp. Once you get to the gate, there is another obstacle. They do vehicle inspections to varying degrees. The single line of vehicles coming in are split into about five rows, apparently at random. It appeared that almost all inspections are done by event staff, and they are mainly looking to make sure you don't have any glass containers. If you do they will take them from you, and they are serious about this. We got split into the fourth row, and they asked if we had any glass. We didn't, all the beer was in cans and the liquor was in plastic bottles. They opened the coolers in the back of the truck and looked, and I rolled the windows down so they could glance in the truck and see the bedrolls and tents etc. and they were apparently satisfied and gave us the go-ahead after about 30 seconds. HOWEVER, there were cops there that pulled a couple of vehicles to the side for more detailed inspections. I don't know if this was random or they had some reason, but they were looking in bags, containers and looking through the vehicles with the occupants standing outside. As fast as they waved us through, it seemed to be a slight chance the cops would check you, but if you're bringing anything more stimulating than alcohol you need to use some common sense bringing it in. I didn't see any sniffer dogs and I didn't see them patting anyone down, and I didn't see them doing anything like taking the car apart so just don't have any exotic substances where they can be easily found in a quick search and you'll be fine. COMMON SENSE! The worst story I heard was a few people going to jail after being stopped while still driving on the interstate coming to the exit, so don't speed or anything stupid after you leave Nashville would be my advice. After the checkpoint, you are in Bonnaroo which is private property and there are no more cops for the rest of the festival, and you are home free. I am tired of typing now, but I will pick up where I left off tomorrow.

  7. Default

    2010 was my first bonnaroo. And it was amazing! Great tips in the post above. The most important thing I took away from the weekend was to stay hydrated. Bring a camelback with you and fill it up constantly. The heat is close to unbearable and if you do not stay hydrated you will get yourself into trouble. If you don't bring food with you into bonnaroo the food vendors there are amazing. Everything I ate (fajitas, cajun chicken, pizza) was delicious and reasonably priced 6-10 dollars for a large portion.

    If I was roadtripping I might consider skipping Thursday alltogether. There really weren't that many bands on Thursday I had to see. We got in line around 5am and did not get in until after 6pm. My friends who came up on Friday didn't wait in any line.

    I live in Nashville so if you have questions on things to do here prior to the festival let me know!



  8. Default Beginner's Guide to Bonnaroo

    Ok, so once you're in they direct you to whatever campsite they're filling at that time. You don't get to pick. Some are nearer to Centeroo than others. They herd thousands of cars into these huge open fields leaving just enough space for each vehicle to have a small camping area at one end of it. There will be other vehicles and tents all around you and there is no way to drive out, unless you happen to be on the extreme edge of the field, which is unlikely. Once you get parked at Bonnaroo, YOU ARE THERE UNTIL everyone around you gets packed and ready to go which will be SUNDAY AFTER MIDNIGHT. Or your vehicle is anyway. If theres an emergency back home you'll just have to walk to the bus station and donate your car to Bonnaroo. For camping, you will want to bring one of those four-legged canvas awnings that you snap together for shade. There is no shade and the sun is brutal. We would have been screwed without it. We also brought a camp shower which was pretty sweet, although they do have real shower cubicles set up for like seven bucks a pop. We had a camp stove we really didn't use much. Folding chairs a must. I was pretty grateful for my borrowed air mattress, too. Our small folding card table was handy as heck, and so were the couple of battery-operated fans we had. Once you get all that situated, its all downhill. Just have fun. Like elros said, drinks LOTS of water. I saw people fall out right in front of me more than once because they did too much alcohol and whatever else in the heat while neglecting water. Everywhere you looked people were wearing camelbaks, but we just carried bottles of water in a backpack. But you need to drink at LEAST as much water as alcohol if you're drinking. As for the little costs that add up, bottled water and food in Centeroo are reasonable. This year, beer was six bucks apiece. Golf cart taxi rides to anywhere on the grounds were five bucks a ride and seriously worth it. Official Bonnaroo shirts and band t-shirts were 25 to 40 bucks apiece in centeroo, but there were people walking through the campsites selling counterfeits that looked awesome and were well done for fifteen bucks. Bags of ice are 3.50 apiece for what you would ordinarily get for a buck. The two of us probably spent a couple hundred bucks but alot of that was six dollar beers. When they've got ya, they've got ya. On one last note, you can bring in as much beer/water/liquor/soda as you want into the camping area. Bottled water you can even bring into Centeroo as long as they are unopened at the gate, because they want people hydrated. But alcohol or other drinks they want you to buy from them, and event staff search bags on the way into Centeroo. Some people start panicking when they see the bag searches in front of them. Do not. They are not looking for anything other than beers and Coca-Colas and weapons. They're not cops and they don't give a crap about your other habits. That's about all I can think of for now.

  9. Default dear

    this past summer me and my 3 friends went to bonnaroo for our first time
    we were a little apprehensive being 17 years old at bonnaroo alone but everything went fine
    and knowing what we know now bonnaroo 2011 is gonna be 10x better
    we figure everyones first year is a little rough but figure out where showers are, bring enough money, (total it cost about $500 including tickets, food, driving 6 hours and staying in a tent), and drink plenty of water!
    also me and my friends waited 7 hours and 40 mins in traffic before we got into bonnaroo so bring something to do
    for those slow hours and maybe a gas can just in case :)
    if you do end up going maybe i'll see you next year!
    hope this helps

  10. #10


    I would love your advice!

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