What It’s REALLY Like To Go To A Big Outdoor Music Festival [PHOTOS]
It's a marathon, not a sprint. And not everybody is on drugs. But yes, we're all dirty.
Music festivals may not be your "thing," and that's totally fine. But let me tell you this - it never hurts to try something new.
I never really cared for concerts. I definitely didn't care for crowds. And I was one of "those people" who didn't understand the hype behind a music festival. Camping for days, walking in the heat, being butts-to-elbows with strangers?
Pat went by himself in 2013 to see Paul McCartney for the umpteenth time. When he came home, he said, "You have to go to Bonnaroo with me. This place will change your life."
Yeah. Sure. I bet. You're gonna force me to try something new. *eye roll*
So, begrudgingly, I went in 2014. My only stipulation was this: are there showers? I don't care if I have to pay for them; I've been a camper my whole life. But I'm in my 30s and there NEEDS to be showers.
Yes, there are showers. However, you can shower three or four times a day and you're still gonna end up as a "dirty hippie." It's just THAT HOT. It's southern Tennessee. It's a farm.You'll sweat while you're drying off from said shower. That's why they have a fountain in Centeroo - a quick rinse down a couple of times per day will get you through until your shower.
Safety is a priority for everybody. This is a free-for-all, to say the least. People wear what they want and do what they want. But that doesn't mean that the fest organizers turn a blind eye. Health, safety and weather reminders are posted all throughout the festival and push notifications come through daily.
They also have "no questions asked" medical tents, where people can seek help without the fear of getting in trouble.
You're gonna be exhausted. Sleep is encouraged, pretty much anywhere that you can find a shady spot.
You'll meet people from your hometown, your home state, and people with the same interests as you. It's inevitable. So show off your pride! Wear an MSU tank top, carry a Pure Michigan totem, or wear your favorite band's t-shirt.
You can stay out all night. In fact, some people prefer it this way, because of the daytime heat. This was a sunrise set that we caught at the Kalliope stage.
There's something for all musical tastes. Country? Got it. EDM? Got it. Jazz? Got it. Indie? Got it. Big names? Got 'em. And when there's nobody in the lineup that you know, you discover new music.
Yes, there are some kids. Not a lot, but more this year than previous years. No, not every festival is family-friendly. Bonnaroo has a family camping area AND a sober camping area. We've been to several other music festivals, and this is definitely one that you can bring your kids to (or, like we did, just have a grown-up vacation).
This was my fourth year, and I can't tell you how much it's changed my life. It's a community for four days. People are kind to each other. We take care of each other. Wear what you want, be who you are. Nobody cares about that stuff. High-fives from strangers happen all day long. Need something? Ask your camping neighbor.
Again, music festivals aren't for everybody. I didn't think they were for me...until I tried one. And now, I'm hooked. It's a place where I can be me. I can dance like nobody's watching, strolling around in my swimsuit without judgment, and just have a great time.