Your Bonnaroo Stories

The Tennessee Alumnus asked online readers to send their stories about going to Bonnaroo

“I have volunteered the last two years for the ‘More Than Music’ tent run by members of the Southern Baptists. We are open 24/7, offering free Wi-Fi services, free charging stations for phones, free snack foods, with lots and lots of doughnuts given out each morning with coffee, water, juice, fruit, etc. The ‘roonies’ come hunt our tent out of the crowds of tents each year. The most requested items needed by the ‘roonies’ are toothpaste/toothbrushes (most are either lost or not brought), sun lotion, water and deodorant. We offer these to them, along with other items and give them a cool spot to rest and listening ears for them. We let them know that they are welcome at any time to come back, and we have lines upon lines of waiting ‘roonies’ who are generally very respectful and thankful for the free no-questions-asked supplies. It is a wonderful way for the community to offer southern Christian hospitality to the attendees at Bonnaroo.”
Donna Milligan Berg (Martin ’79)

“It is great living in Nashville and having this event just down the road. It is an amazing international event that seems to attract a quality crowd by the artist chosen for the festival. I have never seen a bad incident other than the guaranteed unbearable heat. AC Entertainment has this event organized to the max. It is fan friendly, and I have seen all ages mixed in with the predominantly good kids of the Earth.”
Todd Binkley (Knoxville ’87)

“Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young … in Manchester, Tenn? Too much.”“Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young … in Manchester, Tenn? Too much. Bonnaroo is quite an experience — musically and culturally. You can pretty much count on heat, dust and aroma. Fun time. And, if you want to day trip in and out, as opposed to camping with the masses, daily parking and access is a breeze. My good buddies from college days gather together each year for a remarkable time. That alone makes it great. If you like live music, gather your friends and GO.”
Kyle Copeland (Knoxville ’79)

“I went to Bonnaroo in ’08 with a group of my friends from my hometown of New Lenox, Ill. I was first presented the idea of going by my friend who wanted mainly to see Metallica. As time progressed, we looked through the building lineup and realized there were other greats artists like Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, etc. So we went ahead and bought tickets. We didn’t just buy regular tickets, we bought the VIP package. By far the best experience ever! No line to get in, showers, and food for every day we were there. Nothing can explain the amount of friendly people and good music jam packed into one area for four (if you got there early) days. I encourage everyone to go to at least once in their lifetime. We are planning another trip, VIP of course, to visit the great city of Manchester again for another fun-filled weekend.”
Jordan Moffett (Knoxville ’10)

“My husband and I started going to Bonnaroo four years ago with a large group RV camping. We have loved discovering new bands to follow. As we have strolled from This Tent to That Tent, Which Stage to What Stage, we have stumbled on some fascinating performers, young and old. There is every type of music to be found for every taste. For that large a group, we have never seen a fight or a harsh word, and we are talking large crowds. The heat is almost unbearable, but somehow it’s all worth it. Music speaks to your heart and soul. This is an unbelievable experience to be surrounded by four days of constant music from noon to almost 2 a.m. each day. Some of my favorite performances have been well-known performers such as Stevie Wonder. When everyone in the audience is singing along with every word — that’s up to 60,000 people singing — what a chorus. Most are in their 20-30s. Can’t wait to see what new artist we will discover this year.”
Donna Crass Scroggins (Knoxville ’81)

“I have gone to Bonnaroo three years in a row. My first time not to go was this past summer. I loved the first year I went in 2008. My favorite memory is being front and center for Vampire Weekend. The first two years I volunteered, which had its up and downs. My last year (2010), I decided not to volunteer. But, sadly, Bonnaroo had become so big that it couldn’t even handle itself. I feel that they should not allow as many people as they do to the festival. It grows every year but the field doesn’t, making for harsh conditions. I love the music but hate parts of how the festival is run. But, if you have never gone to Bonnaroo and you have a true passion for music, you should at least go once … and before you get too old … because it won’t be easy … you are going to be tired and dirty and ready to go home when it is all over.”
Kassi Abney (Martin ’09)