A couple of questions/concerns that have come up lately;
How much space do we have to camp?
About 10 ft x 10 ft. It's the width of your vehicle (+ half the distance to the next one) by 10 - 15 ft deep. There aren't lines painted on the ground or anything like that, make nice with your neighbors (really, very first thing after you get out of your car, walk over, introduce yourself, offer them a beer, whatever. It will pay dividends, plus it's the personable thing to do), it should be fine.
What's the story with Tent Only?
Tent Only is an increasingly small area very close to Centeroo where you can haul your stuff and set up your campsite. You have to carry (on foot) your gear over there. It has gotten more popular every year, and every year they make it smaller (got to make room for "Groop Camping" and "Tent City", etc), so it has gotten somewhat packed. It is the only place at 'roo that I camp; the best scene at the farm. If you are interested in it, go over to inforoo.com forums and check out the threads about it.
Help, I've never camped or anything like that!
Camping isn't hard, especially at a festival like Bonnaroo. Some important things in no real order. Practice setting up your tent at least once at home before going to 'roo. This is my 9th year going and I still do this; I've saved myself from the "oh crap, the tent stakes are still in my basement" moment. Water, water and more water (did I mention drinking water?). Comfortable shoes are an absolute must. You'll do more walking than you expect at 'roo. Sunscreen obviously.
I generally don't decide who I'm going to see ahead of time so I like to put together a schedule w/ a quick description of the general type of music each band is playing so I can choose based upon what I'm in the mood for at the moment. I've put them online and people have liked them, here's this year's;
- or a preformatted pdf with one page per day
I got most of the genres from this great post on Inforoo. Any mistakes are probably mine, please feel free to comment or email any corrections/suggestions.
So, what footwear to bring to Bonnaroo? This is actually pretty important, you'll do a lot of walking at 'roo. Your campsite could be a 20 min walk from Centeroo, there are 5 main stages, a handful of smaller ones, official vendors, Shakedown Street, etc.. A lot of places to be and your feet are your transportation. So, in no particular order.
Great sandals, very good for festivals. If I was only going to bring one pair of shoes to Bonnaroo, it would be my Tevas. They are light, comfortable, sturdy and have very good tread that doesn't slip in the mud. Your feet will get dirty, but honestly, so will the rest of you. Just remember to put sunscreen on the top of your feet.
Fine if it is dry, but bad choice if we get rain. They are comfortable but absolutely shite in the mud, which can very often look like this;
If you walk through mud in flip-flops; you put your foot down, it get sucked into the mud, you pull your foot up, the flip-flop gets stuck, it pulls loose, it flips mud up your back, repeat.
I've never worn them, a lot of people swear by them. They seem to work fine for festivals.
Sneakers (or trainers for the UK types)
They are OK (the above survived Woodstock '94). They can get waterlogged, that can get uncomfortable. Wear good socks.
My favorite shoes. If you like going barefoot these are great. If you have a pair you know how good these are. One word of caution, the KSO's (and any others with slick razor siped soles) will slip in the mud. Shouldn't be a problem with the knobblier soled ones.
Boots are great for when and if it rains. The past few years we've been lucky and the weather has been dry at 'roo. I still keep a good pair of waterproof hiking boots (and good socks) in my truck just in case we get another 40 day flood in Manchester.
...I was wondering what time I should get to a stage to see a band at a relatively close distanceThe answer to your question is a big "it depends". Last year at the main stage I got right up to see the Beach Boys getting there about 20 min beforehand. I've also seen people getting in line for Phish at 11 am (for a 9 pm show). It depends entirely on how popular the act is. For the smaller stages I'd start working my way towards the front when the previous band is still playing, then hustle to the front when the place clears out.
Just came across another survival guide. I don't know who wrote it but it goes into more detail about some things (drugs) than my guide or blog does. Worth a read. Favorite line,
The campgrounds look like a cross between an unusually well fed refugee camp and a giant block party.
Here's another question I get frequently:
Can you give me some tips on parking multiple cars together? I'm going to be traveling down with at least one other group and we want to make sure are parked next to each other. Can we just ask the security to have us parked together?It shouldn't be much of a problem parking together. Make sure you keep the cars together going through the line to get in. Have all the cars go through the same booth driving in, make sure to wait for all the cars to get through before continuing on. From what I've heard the security and parking staff are cool w/ keeping groups together, just let them know. Just make sure not to get separated, if you get sent towards different lots there is no way you'll be able to get back together.