The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Bonnaroo '08: Four Days of Music, Art and Hippies Grooving in a Field

3 min read


Every June since 2001, Manchester Farm, a 700-acre plot of land in Tennessee, has been host to some of the largest names in music and comedy.

Bonnaroo is a four-day camping and music festival attracting fans from the farthest reaches of the country. This year’s upcoming show will be no exception.

The 2008 music lineup according to includes Metallica, Pearl Jam, Jack Johnson, Kanye West, Robert Plant and Allison Krauss, The Allman Brothers Band, O.A.R, Ben Folds, B.B. King and many more performers.

In between concerts, there are enough non-stop attractions to fit everyone’s fancy.

Centeroo Village is a 100-acre village and community center holding around-the-clock side attractions and booths. This includes but is not limited to:  Solar Stage in Planet Roo, Yoga classes, Broo’ers Festival, The Silent Disco, The Bonnaroo Comedy Theatre, the Art of Such N Such, Bonnaroo Buskers and more.

The Solar Stage in Planet Roo is an environmentally friendly stage completely run by solar power and operated with eco-friendly speakers.  Bonnaroo has teamed up with Rock the Earth,, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to bring together an experience that is good for the environment and good for the ears.  In addition to music and dance performances, speakers, scientists and activists will be speaking on global warming and other issues facing our planet.

“When all that festival fun takes its toll, wake up to a body-and-mind-limbering yoga blowout, Bonnaroo-style!” declares.  Yoga classes will be offered in Centeroo to get you in the right state of mind for all the festivities. Bonnaroo resembles a 21st century Woodstock.

The Broo’ers Festival is one of Bonnaroo’s most popular attractions for those over 21.  In this booth, makeshift breweries bring together some of the finest beers and ales from around the country. There will also be live entertainment and no excuse not to stop by if you are of the age.

The only thing topping the Broo’ers Festival in popularity is the Silent Disco, the world’s loudest silent dance party. Wireless headsets are issued at the door and a live DJ spins music into your ears late into the night while others recharge from the day’s festivities.

Harrison Lyman, a freshman at Mary Washington who plans on attending Bonnaroo this summer, attended Bonnaroo in 2005 and attended the Silent Disco, albeit by accident.

Lyman said he stumbled onto the booth while looking for his sister, but he was glad for the stumble.

“The Silent Disco was really cool and completely surreal,” Lyman recalled.

Centeroo even offers a booth for the younger generation to enjoy. Recycling art projects, games and activities will be offered to kids accompanied by their parents.  Kids will also be able to rock out with their very own instruments, while parents enjoy a cold drink in the shade.

Bonnaroo 2008 has something for the entire family and yogi to enjoy. The first wave of tickets hit the market Feb. 16 for a special price of $209.50 each and increased with time. Currently, tickets are at $244.50, so hurry and get them now or forever hold your peace.

Ticket prices never deterred Lyman and he looks back on Bonnaroo as one of the biggest moments of his life.

“Bonnaroo was the best time of my life,” declared Lyman, who also loved the sense of camaraderie and dirtiness he found with the other festival-goers.

“You are forced to use Port-a-Potties and a watering hole and it forces you not to care,” he said.

Lyman recalled how dirty everyone became and how it never dampened anyone’s spirits, even if it rained for 1.5 days straight.

“Everyone mellows out because they’re all in the same spot,” he said. “They’re all there for the common reason—to hear music.”

Lyman recounted that one of the most memorable moments was when he was about to pass out during one of the concerts when a woman he had never met before came to his aid.  Lyman woke up in a tent on a rug with the woman feeding him apple juice and granola bars. This sense of family really touched Lyman and only made the festival more memorable.

Peace, music and saving the earth are the ingredients that, mixed together with a little southern comfort, compose the most fundamental, exhilarating and community-building festival event this summer.