Bonnaroo Music Festival Profile

Concert Crowd Silhouette
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The Basics:

  • What: Music festival Bonnaroo
  • Where: Manchester, Tennessee, USA
  • When: Annually over four days in June (exact dates vary)
  • Founded: 2002

Bonnaroo History:

In terms of music festivals, Bonnaroo is still a baby, but it's made a big bang in its short life. After it's 2002 launch, Rolling Stone magazine bestowed upon the festival the accolade of being one of the 50 moments that changed rock and roll.

The festival was initially conceived as a jam band extravaganza, but the programming of the festival changed quickly after the first year to include music from a huge variety of genres.

Bonnaroo was initially held on a 700 acre privately owned farm in Manchester, TN, but in 2007, the festival organizers purchased over 500 acres of the farm, including the main festival areas.

What To Expect at Bonnaroo:

Bonnaroo is held over four days, and camping on site is allowed. There are two main stages:

  • What Stage - this is the largest stage with an audience capacity of 100,000
  • Which Stage - the second largest stage with room for 30,000 fans

There are several other stages around the site with varying capacities.

Centeroo is the "main street" of the festival, which is in operation 24 hours a day. There are several different attractions here - disco tents, a beer festival, stand-up comics, a place for downloading music and various vendors.

Musically, Bonnaroo runs the gamut from rock to reggae and everything in between.

Community Activism:

Bonnaroo is heavily involved in giving back to the Coffee County community that hosts it every year and has donated over $1 million and counting to local organizations. The economic impact on the county of the influx of fans every year has been enormous as well.

According to a 2005 estimate, as reported in a Bonnaroo press release, the festival has brought $14 million of additional income into the area.

Bonnaroo - Eh?:

The unusual name for the festival was inspired by a Dr. John album called Desitively Bonnaroo , but the world itself is a Cajun word that means "good time."

Apply to Play at Bonnaroo:

Getting a gig at Bonnaroo can be tough. Like most music festivals of this size, it is very competitive, and most bands are chosen either for their proven track record of drawing a big crowd, a proven big buzz around the artist, or a well-placed label, manager or agent that can pull some strings. If you're interested in seeing if you can get involved, contact Superfly Productions, the organizers of the show. The contact email address is