This summer our schedules aligned marvellously with Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. Bonnaroo took place from June 12th to June 15th. Neither of us had ever been and we were looking for a little adventure before our cross Canada trek. So we thought what the hell and went for it.
We shared the experience with our good friend, Chris Tworzyanski. From where we live in Ontario, the drive was twelve hours without stops. We had some extra time to play with on the way down so we decided to camp at General Butler State Resort Park, located in Carrollton, Kentucky, which was about eight hours into the drive.
We bought alcohol, visited the local Wal-mart, and even got some firewood in Carrollton. The small town was quaint and full of life. Carrollton has a population of just over four thousand. We didn’t realize how far south we were until we were greeted by a kind woman with her southern accent at Welch’s. “Are all y’all from Canada!?” That saying would be repeated fondly along the trip a few (hundred) times. It’s a marvel how much can change in just eight hours of driving. With our supplies packed up, we returned to our campsite. For the rest of the evening we shared some beers and laughs before calling it an early night. We would be up for the final four hour stretch at 6am the next morning, which would be Thursday, June 12th.
At the end of the road we were greeted by the following view.
We were not sad at all. After so long in the car we were ecstatic to arrive. A short wait ensued but soon enough we were at our camp site and met our neighbours for the weekend – Laurel + Kim, friends from California and Carl + Ashley, a couple from Philadelphia. We set up camp and began our weekend of shenanigans. Bonnaroo really impressed me by having something for everyone. There were planting and foraging workshops, sessions on how to eat healthy, a cinema, an outdoor screen that showed the NHL and NBA finals, as well as the World Cup. We did yoga every morning. There were shops setup where you could buy blankets, clothes, and guitars. The food offered spanned almost every American classic and also included Greek, Thai, Chinese, and Italian and the like. My personal favourite was Spicy Pie pizza (thin crust with jalapeños and pepperoni). There was even a fountain to cool off in as well as a water slide to enjoy.
The silent disco was a great time as well. As you walked up to it, you saw hundreds of people dancing – but no music. You quickly realized that everyone was wearing headphones but it’s a bizarre sight at first. After many highlights including Phoenix, Grouplove, CHVRCHES, the Naked and Famous, John Butler, Chromeo, Arctic Monkeys, the Avett Brothers, and Elton John, we were exhausted.
Before the weekend ended Jasmine and I had the chance to get on the ferris wheel.
Due to our last semester of business school for Chris and I, we had to make it home Monday for some exams and project deadlines. Twelve hours of driving plus stops for gas/food and the border made it a fourteen hour day. I can honestly say that every hour on the highway was worth it. Bonnaroo was an experience I won’t ever forget. It’s such a departure from the real world – a true escape. I would recommend it to anyone looking for some adventure and music.
Our flag and our little patch of paradise.