There are plenty of people out there who will tell you that, after a certain age, there are things you just shouldn't do. Some of those things I agree with like wearing crop tops, getting things pierced other than your ears, and fist fights. Going to music festivals doesn't get marked off the Acceptable Behavior list for a good many years. You just have to adjust a few things. If you have made it this far in life and have never been to a festival then make this year the year! If you follow my guidelines, you will have a great time and leave with your dignity intact. Take Your Most Laid-Back-Fun-Loving Friends
This is at the top because it is the most important. When you have the right attitude you can really do anything. I have friends that have their pants pulled squarely under their armpits. I love them dearly but they have no business at Bonnaroo. You have to accept and get over the fact that it's hot, muddy, dirty, and that there are people there doing and wearing things that you don't approve of. Don't take the friend that would want to voice their disapproval out loud and frequently. You know who they are!
Make it a Day Trip
If you think you are past the camping stage then just go for the day. There is a day ticket and shuttle that leaves Nashville with two departure times at night. Taking a car isn't out of the question and you won't need a designated driver (which I'll get to in a minute).
Wear Comfortable Clothes
But don't think you have to dress like a festie. Wear your Tommy Bahama and your Merrels. No one is going to care. Remember what you wore when you took your kids to Disney World? Wear that.
Be Prepared for Lots of Sitting on the Ground
I saw a couple in their 60's in safari clothes who had folding camp stools. They were the envy of many 20-somethings. If you don't feel like carrying a stool around with you all day, then bring a blanket or towel or something suitable. That grass can get itchy. One thing I might add to the list this year is an umbrella/parasol. Half of staying cool is keeping the sun off of you. While waiting for a show to start you can get pretty roasted. Just make sure when the show starts to put it away!
Pack Light but Pack the Essentials
Since you are only going to be there for the day don't worry about packing water or food. Just make sure you have a camera, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, roll of camp toilet paper (the port-a-potties often run out), a flashlight (so you won't step on some poor soul's head after the sun goes down) and plenty of money. Nothing is cheap. You have a fully funded 401K so what do you care? They do have ATM's just in case.
Enjoy the Food
It's really pretty good but expensive.
Don't Drink Alcohol
It's hot, you are going to be there for a long time, and who wants to go to the port-a-potties that often! The good thing about being older is that you don't have to get drunk to have a good time. Limit yourself to one beer when the sun goes down. That will be plenty. Save your calories for a well crafted cocktail in town. On the same note, don't try drugs you've never tried before. Just in case it does happen and your friend who is so glad to get out of the house away from the kids that she decides to cut loose and get crazy; remember - what happens at Bonnaroo stays at Bonnaroo!
The Kids are Alright
If you have made the decision to let your teenager go to Bonnaroo with friends, don't hover. My son found me but only because he needed money. I don't think there is a magic age and every kid is different. Equip them with the necessary knowledge they will need and let them be. Besides, I really didn't want to listen to the bands he wanted to and vise versa. He made it back in one piece but in desperate need of a shower.
Make A Plan (There's an App for That)
Look at the schedule on the day you plan to go and lay out how you are going to do it. Lots of shows overlap so you may have to hang in the back of one show so you can leave easily to get to another one. We went old school and printed it out at home and marked it with a pencil. They do have an app with all the info on it but the signals can be spotty and who wants to use all that battery. Speaking of.....uploading to Instagram from the farm can be slow. Upload one picture but leave the rest to upload when you get home to the Wifi.
Most Importantly, Have a Good Time
Go with the flow. It's all good! You may not be able to go without a shirt or walk around with nothing but paint over your boobs but you still know how to have a good time!
The lineup for this year's Bonnaroo will be announced February 19th. Keep up with all the happenings and ticket info on the Bonnaroo website.
See you on the farm!