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Bonnaroo is returning full speed as music festivals kick off the summer season in the U.S. While you may already be starting to pack your bags and figuring out what you need for your campsite (or glampsite), it’s best to take some extra precautions and coordinate a plan (which we assure you, is necessary).
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The annual fest returns after two years of cancellations, once due to Covid-19, and the next year due to massive flooding on the festival grounds. It’s been the longest absence in Manchester, Tennessee at the now renamed “Bonnaroo Farm” for the first time since 2002. But The Farm is back to being packed with hundreds of thousands of attendees again this year, even after fans sold out the majority of VIP packages.
Bonnaroo 2022’s update to its health and safety policies seems to reflect a growing trend in the festival circuit, with organizers lifting many of the previous years Covid regulations with no health requirements upon entry (Gov Ball had also lifted mask and vaccination mandates).
What Are the Covid Rules and Regulations for Bonnaroo 2022?
Just like many upcoming festivals, Bonnaroo’s Health and Safety policies require no proof of vaccination or masking while on site. Bonnaroo will also help you out if you happen to test positive right before the fest (it happens).
You can now send a copy of your positive COVID-19 test result, your order number and specific ticket details to firstname.lastname@example.org before Sunday, June 19 to receive a refund. Covid-19 Rapid Antigen testing will also be available at Bonnaroo at the Plaza 3 Medical Tent.
Do I Have to Wear a Mask at Bonnaroo?
Based on the latest advice from the CDC, Bonnaroo will no longer require masking during the festival. But by taking the right precautions (like getting fully vaccinated before you go), you can still mitigate your risk and have a rocking time. If you’re at a higher risk, or unvaccinated, it’s still recommended that you mask up (at the very least in indoor spaces).
How to Buy Tickets for Bonnaroo 2022
While VIP passes and packages for Bonnaroo are sold out on the official site, don’t panic and go to a sketchy website or hit up your cousin who totally “knows a guy” for tickets. Vivid Seats is the place to buy Bonnaroo tickets online, with everything available from four-day passes, single-day passes, and even VIP tickets. Vivid Seats guarantees the authenticity of its tickets or your money back, and you can find tickets right now for as low as $199.
Be sure to activate your wristband before heading to The Bonnaroo Farm for entry, but also to make cashless purchases at the fest and upload your emergency contact info. You can head over here to activate your wristband before the fun starts June 16.
Bonnaroo 2022 Lineup and Basic Info
So you’ve got the wristband in hand, and it’s been registered online — here’s what you need to know for the 2022 festival. First off, the event will be taking place over four days, from June 16 through June 19 in Manchester, Tennessee, just about an hour outside Nashville. The campgrounds, however, will be open to people with the proper passes from Tuesday before the festival all the way to Monday morning after the festival.
Gryffin, The Chicks, J. Cole, Illenium, Tool, 21 Savage, Flume, Stevie Nicks, Machine Gun Kelly and Roddy Ricch are expected to headline, with performances that also include acts like Disclosure, Lord Huron, the War on Drugs, Bleachers, Japanese Breakfast, Tove Lo, Arlo Parks, Billy Strings, Slowthai, Ashe, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Herbie Hancock, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard.
You can find the current map of the festival on their site, as well as information about reserving Vip and Platinum campground spots, as well as the JamTrack campground tram system. The weekend lineup has been officially posted here, although that may be subject to change.
How to Stream Bonnaroo Online for Free
Don’t worry if you’re stuck at home — Bonnaroo has followed in the footsteps of festivals like Coachella, Stagecoach, and Lollapalooza and is making it easier than ever to join in the fun from the comfort of your couch. You can livestream Bonnaroo free online, but you’ll need a Hulu subscription. Hulu subscribers with both the service’s ad-supported base plan and its ad-free package can stream Bonnaroo online free.
Don’t have Hulu? Read more here about our tips and tricks on how to watch the Bonnaroo performances online free.
What to Bring to Bonnaroo 2022
It’s important to remember that what you can bring into the ‘Roo campgrounds and Centeroo is different (there are fewer items allowed in Centeroo, the main concert space). But we’ve got you covered from clear bags to portable grills and everything beyond — here’s what we recommend you pack for Bonnaroo for jamming out and camping, all festival-approved in accordance with their 2022 guidelines.
1. Clear Festival Backpack
Festival rules about bags oftentimes widely vary from venue to venue, so it’s best to check beforehand so you don’t show up at the gates and get anything confiscated.
Bonnaroo requires that when you enter Centeroo, your bags be made of clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC and don’t exceed 12″ x 12″ x 6″. We like this clear backpack because it’s made specifically with festivals and stadiums in mind. It’s more structured than a drawstring bag, and less cumbersome than a tote, so you get more room to keep essentials like keys, phone, and extra cash secure. It’s even got mesh pockets for your water bottle (no backpacks with secret pockets here, sorry). Even though it’s durable, it’s lightweight and easy enough to carry that you’ll want to wear it all the way back to the campsite.
Besides clear bags, Bonnaroo will also allow small clutch purses up to 4.5″ x 5.5″ and waist and fanny packs. Empty hydration packs with up to two pockets will be allowed, so we suggest getting a funky one meant for festivals rather than a rugged, outdoorsy pack.
2. Tent or Shelter
Trying to improve your camping experience? Bonnaroo is tied as much to the musical performances themselves as the campgrounds and community surrounding them. Bonnaroo will allow you to bring a ton of camping gear, and we’ll get more into that later, but if you’re going to be roughing it this year you’ll need to start with an appropriate tent first. We suggest you read the full guide on the Bonnaroo campsite here, which covers RVing, car camping, vehicle passes, rentals and more.
Coleman’s Sundome Tent is a tried-and-true option, with welded corners to prevent leaking in the case of a downpour, ground vents to circulate cooling air at night, and is rated to withstand up to 35 mph winds. We like that it’s available in multiple sizes (two to six people), which makes it a great option regardless of your festival group. The tent sets up fast in ten minutes, too, which is ideal if you’re planning on breaking it down and pitching it every day of Bonnaroo. There are two mesh pockets to hold your belongings, and an “E-port,” which allows you to snake an extension cable for your generator directly into your tent (yes, generators are allowed).
3. KN95 Face Mask
While it’s true that Bonnaroo takes place out on an open farm, there are still plenty of indoor activities that you might still want to mask up before you head in. There isn’t zero risk, especially with Omicron-fueled cases on the rise, so we still suggest you pick up a good, rugged face covering that can hold up to standing outdoors in the hot summer air for hours.
One of our favorite protective face masks is this KN95 mask from BlueBear. You could pick up any other disposable mask, but this one has four fluid-resistant layers that filter 95 percent of particles for up to 12 hours. It’s also lightweight and breathable, making it super gentle if you’re going to be showing up for the entire weekend-long event (although, if you want something more sustainable, Blue Bear also has great reusable masks).
4. Point-and-Shoot Camera
Venues can get really finicky with the cameras they’ll let you take in, even if the tech on your phone lets you get some pretty good shots. Bonnaroo’s rules are pretty standard — point-and-shoots only, or anything with a detachable lens less than two inches. Action cameras like GoPros aren’t necessarily banned here, but GoPro sticks aren’t allowed, so we advise not bringing either this time. If you don’t want to risk the memory of a lifetime getting ruined by an unintentionally grainy, blurred-out zoom picture from your phone, a point-and-shoot is your best bet.
We really like the accessibility and 4K quality of the Panasonic Lumix LX10 — if you need a portable way to capture your festival experience with the least amount of effort, this is the one you should get. The Lumix LX10 shoots in crystal-clear 4K at 30 fps (frames per second), and with DFD (Depth From Defocus) it’ll quickly establish a focus lock on faraway, moving subjects, you’ll get actual usable footage when you’re being jostled around by a raging crowd.
5. Portable Grill
Bonnaroo won’t allow grills in the main festival area, but if you’re looking to save a few bucks on pricey festival eats (and also make new campground friends) a portable grill is the way to go. In terms of fuel, you’re allowed 40 pounds of charcoal per grill, per vehicle (no grill, no charcoal). Or, you can bring a small (20 lbs or less) container of propane for a portable grill. Note that small, green Coleman-type propane tanks are limited to 2 per grill.
Weber’s Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill is compact enough to bring to the campground, yet roomy enough on the inside to feed all your new festival buddies. They hold a reliable amount of heat with their porcelain-enameled lid and base, with dampers that allow you to easily adjust the temperature. A big bonus over other “portable” grills is that you can lock this one into place with the pivoting legs and carry it around with one hand. The cooking area is 160 square inches, enough to hold six burgers.
6. Water Bottle
Hydration is a must, full-stop, no questions asked. While some festivals might make you suffer through sipping warm water all day from plastic bottles, Bonnaroo is letting you bring in one empty reusable water bottle per person (or sealed, purchased water under 1L). You’ll get the day-long, icy-cold crisp water from this Hydro Flask, and since there’s no volume limit, you can fill up at the water stations with a hearty amount to keep you well-hydrated.
This double-walled, vacuum-insulated bottle’s proprietary TempShield technology means your beverage will stay cold for 24 hours under the hot festival sun. A worthy concert companion, you can either get a quiet sport cap for one-handed drinking or the standard twist-off flex cap. It comes in a wide-mouth option as well as a variety of colors, bonus: it’s also BPA and phthalate-free.
You’ll need a way to power your campsite and electronics up after spending all afternoon walking around and using up precious battery life. Any generator smaller than 4 KW (4,000 watts) is allowed onto the campgrounds, although it’s limited to one generator per vehicle. You can bring along two 5-gallon gas cans or 10 total gallons per generator to help you stay charged throughout the whole weekend.
This portable 2350-watt generator has an automatic fuel shut-off, which is a neat feature if you want the most bang for your buck. The generator actually uses up the remaining fuel from the carburetor before automatically shutting down. This’ll expand the generator’s lifespan far beyond festival season. The 39-pound body and compact design also make it to move this generator from your car to your campsite.
If you want to vibe out to Bonnaroo’s lineup without suffering from that ringing in your ears for days afterward, protecting your hearing is as important as packing the best sunscreen.
Consider springing for these high-fidelity earplugs from Vibes, which are designed with live music in mind. These earplugs reduce damaging decibel levels in noisy areas without hurting sound quality, so you won’t have to sit through a muffled version of your favorite songs. Made of form-fitting silicone, these are also more comfortable (and less bulky) than typical earplugs.
9. Cooler (and Beverages)
Bonnaroo is one of the few music festivals that will let you crack open a cold one with your buddies on the festival campground site. In fact, they even suggest you bring a cooler to enjoy some pre-performance tailgating with fellow attendees (ice is available to purchase on the campgrounds). Alcohol-wise, you’re limited to two cases of beer per person, and two boxes of wine and 1-1.75 L of hard liquor per person, per car. We have our own recommendations on beers and canned wines, but you’re going to need to carry them somehow.
Yeti’s Roadie 24, is a highly-durable cooler, and while it isn’t the largest hard-sided cooler you can get, it’s still work for your festival weekend, or even on your road trip to the campground. The PermaFrost insulation means that fruit, snacks, bottles of water and yes, beers, stay cold for days without needing any extra ice. It’s still small enough to fit in the back of your car and sturdy enough to stack all your other camping gear on top — no leaking or damage here.
Blankets, sheets, towels — good news for you, Bonnaroo allows them in both Centeroo and the campgrounds. Of course, you’ll want to be comfortable no matter where you park it at an outdoor festival, but you also don’t want to look like you just grabbed your bathroom towel before heading out the door. Slowtide’s Haven Blanket is the answer, especially for this music fest.
The two-person blanket is made with microfiber, so you won’t get to sweat spills, and there’s a bottom DWR layer for laying down on everything from grassy patches, to slightly muddy hills. But Slowtide is a real festival winner because of its storage capabilities: you can easily fit your phone, keys, or sunblock (non-canned, 3.4 ounces, according to the rules) within the blanket’s corner pockets. The Haven also comes with a convenient carry bag for travel.
Other approved camping gear: There’s an extensive list of what’s allowed for camping on their website, but some notable inclusions are sleeping bags, lanterns and flashlights, camping chairs, camping tables, rain gear, biodegradable plastic bags, toilet paper, small luggage locks for your tent, portable speakers, and radios.
What not to bring: Bonnaroo does have some hard “nos”. For Centeroo, that includes weapons, selfie sticks, single pocket drawstring bags, outside alcohol (Centeroo), inflatable couches, wagons, chairs (Centeroo), bikes, scooters, or skateboards, strollers with pockets. For the campgrounds, they’re not allowing glass, wood fires, kegs, drones, fireworks, bicycles, professional cameras, pets, glow sticks, box trucks/tractor trailers, laser pens, or non-camping tools.
How to Stay Safe at Bonnaroo: Rules, Restrictions, Health Checks
According to CovidActNow, the Coffee County area currently only has a 53.2 percent vaccination rate (of at least one dose), but luckily, the Covid-19 risk level is classified as being “low” right now. That being said, if you’re currently vaccinated, you have a much higher protection level than someone unvaccinated. Travel is explicitly discouraged unless you are vaccinated.
The CDC just announced new guidelines that even if you’re vaccinated, you should still be wearing a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. Continue masking up if you’re going to be tightly packed indoors next to others for a long time.
But Covid-19 isn’t the only health concern with going to a big festival, since you might have to contend with the usual incidents that come along, like sunburns, heat exhaustion, cuts, burns, food poisoning, etc. Bonnaroo will have trained medical staff at two medical tents located in Centeroo and others in the plazas too.
In addition, Bonnaroo will have increased hand sanitizer stations on site, and cleaning crews that will do frequent cleanings in high touch areas. If you do get sick, you’re just a few miles away some local hospitals, including Unity Medical Center and Ascension Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital.
One way to give yourself some reassurance is with a little travel insurance: AXA Assistance USA is a service we like that provides coverage so you can prepare for the unexpected. Their insurance plans, depending on the tier, can include benefits such as trip cancellation, emergency medical expenses, accidental injuries and illness coverage, and baggage delays to help give you peace of mind before and during your festival excursion. You can get a quote or file a claim on their website here.
Of course it goes without saying, but if you are experiencing any severe symptoms, you should always go see a doctor or head to the nearest hospital to get checked out.
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