Editorial

10 Of The Best Hidden Gems To Check Out At Bonnaroo

Bonnaroo is known to be one of the happiest places on Earth. I know that when I’m there and the Tennessee sun is shining on my face without a care in the world, I feel the most alive I’ve ever been.

Bonnaroo is simply not just a music festival; it’s an entirely new way of living for four days. There are so many unique and beautiful things to do on The Farm apart from the music. As a seasoned Bonnaroo vet, check out my top ten favorite experiences that you can’t miss: 

1. Prance Around The Plazas

Bonnaroo is unique in the way that they set up their campgrounds. They utilize a system of “plazas” and each plaza has its own theme, food, and attractions!

Throughout the weekend, especially late at night, you can count on secret shows and celebrity surprises all over the plazas. I would highly suggest exploring your own plaza, as well as others around you. You never know what, or who, you’ll run into!

2. Realign In The Roo Run

Speaking of running, what better way to familiarize yourself with the festival grounds than a 5k for charity?

The Roo Run is a highly anticipated annual event. Whether you walk, run, skip or dance your way through the 5k, you’re sure to have a good time and support the Bonnaroo Works Fund which aims to “engage and inform our festival community to make positive contributions in all forms.” Costumes are encouraged and registration is required.

3. Find Prosperity In The Pride Parade

Bonnaroo just happens to take place during the best month of the year: pride month!

Every year Bonnaroo has a massive celebration of its own! Hosted by the House of Yes, the annual Pride Parade flows through the Farm, exploding with LGBTQIA+ light, love, and laughter.

The parade is a perfect way to celebrate pride month and connect with other festival-goers in the community. Keep your eyes peeled on the Bonnaroo social media and website for the date, time, and meeting spot for this year’s parade!

4. Spruce Up Your Style At The Shops

Bonnaroo has one of the best village markets I’ve seen at a festival. Scattered throughout the plazas, as well as all over Centeroo, lie unique shops with products that can only be bought at Bonnaroo.

Make sure to bring some extra mula in order to take home some hand-made harem pants or a wrapped stone pendant. The pieces at Bonnaroo really are one-of-a-kind.

5. Relax And Recharge On Your Roo-cation

For many, Bonnaroo is seen as a vacation. Not only a time to listen to great music and spend time with friends, but also a time to escape reality and relax while taking some much-needed PTO.

So, treat yourself right during this sacred weekend! Each day Bonnaroo will have opportunities for Bonnaroovians to practice yoga, participate in sound baths, meditate, and express themselves through arts and crafts.

I like to choose one activity each day to help recharge and set some intentions for the festivities ahead!

6. Own The Oasis

Oh, the Oasis. One of the best places to spend your time during the day before the music starts. Surrounded by palm trees and sand, the Oasis is a mini beach located right in Centeroo!

Bring a volleyball and challenge your campground neighbors to a friendly competition for who’s on grill duty that day or just soak up the sun with a Pina Colada in hand. Whichever way you choose to own the Oasis, I suggest getting there early to get a good spot!

7. Simmer Down and Splash Around

Summer days in Tennessee can get hot. Real hot. You can find Bonnaroovians taking advantage of the famous water mushroom in the center of the festival at all hours of the day.

Some dip their toes in, some fully submerge and some just use it as a photo opp, but whichever way you choose, make sure to stop by and check it out! If you’re an adrenaline junkie like me, the inflatable waterslide on site might be more your speed!

8. Dare To Drink

It’s no surprise that Bonnaroo will have a surplus of craft food vendors throughout the weekend, but special to Bonnaroo is the Broo’ers festival.

From IPAs to pilsners, ciders to sours, this festival-within-a-festival is bringing together an assortment of beers from over 20 different breweries. So, go ahead, let loose, and have some ABVs with your Island Noodles!

9. Marry Your Mate In The House Of Matroomony

My rave “mom and dad” (the most amazingly beautiful 40-something-year-old people that I met at Bonnaroo ’17, and still to this day go to Bonnaroo with) met at ‘Roo 2016, and while they didn’t get married on the Farm, it’s still the place that they met, fell in love and eventually got engaged.

Bonnaroo is such a special place for so many people. What better place to celebrate love than an out-of-this-world chapel in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by your best friends and even better vibes?!

Marriages that happen in the House of Matroomony are 100% legal, so grab your lover, sign the papers, and start your journey of forever right in the heart of Bonnaroo!

10. Soak Up The Sunrise

Last, but definitely not least, my absolute favorite thing to do at Bonnaroo is watch the sunrise. Unlike some festivals, Centeroo (where all of the music and magic happens) is open 24/7.

This means staying out, running around, and dancing with my best friends until 6AM, twirling around and looking behind us to see a deep orange glow spread across the fields, smiling faces suddenly becoming more beautiful, glitter shining around all of the stages.

It really is difficult to describe in words how life-changing these moments have been for me. The feeling of pure bliss during that first sliver of sunrise is something I will never forget. Plan on being present for those moments.

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival takes place June 15-18, 2023 in Manchester, TN. Get tickets here.

All photos provided by Bonnaroo on Facebook.

Written by
Kaitlyn Katuscak

Katie is currently working as a travel nurse with a specialty in Pediatric ICU but has a deep passion for electronic music. She's been going to festivals since 2017 and loves the free-spirit energy that comes with festivals. Her favorite artists are Zeds Dead and Subtronics. If you see her at a show, please come say hello!

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