A Brief History of Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

Started in 2002 by AC Entertainment and Superfly Productions, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is a four-day gathering that occurs in early June of every year and is held in Manchester, Tennessee. As you can see from the picture above the festival draws an absolute ton of people that just want to have fun and get together to enjoy good music and the arts and crafts that people come to display. Personally since I’m not a big crowd person I don’t think this would be for me but I’m sure the experience for those that aren’t bothered by massive amounts of people would have a blast.

Bonnaroo is Creole slang for ‘a really good time’ and embodies the festival without a doubt. In the beginning the festival would host mostly jam bands and folk rock but over the years they’ve diversified and accepted a wide variety of musical acts as people have continued coming. The first festival only offered tickets online, but even then they were sold out in about two weeks. Since then AC Entertainment has been bought out by Live Nation Entertainment, who has been doing their best to keep the festival rolling by bringing in some of the hottest acts and keeping the talent up to date and on track. At one point in 2007 those responsible for the festival bought the land and created Great Stage Park, along with its many iconic features. In 2010 a permanent stage was erected as well. The only weak year that the festival has had as far as attendance goes was in 2016 when Live Nation Entertainment took over. After booking several more bands to come and play at the concert however the attendance rose back to a respectable 65,000.

The festival isn’t just about having a good time and enjoying oneself however since those that run the festival do a great deal for the county in which the festival takes place. The charitable organizations that are helped out and the revenue that is provided by the festival is very impressive since it gives Coffe County a very noticeable rise in the number of people that come to stay as close to the concert grounds as they can. Camping and parking grounds do exist around the festival and they are continually leasing more and more space to accommodate their guests and the stars that make their way to the festival.

This looks like an awesome time but it also looks very busy, almost too much so in some ways for myself. I can imagine a lot of people have a great time here frolicking about and seeing just what vendors and artists have to offer. For four days the festival is undoubtedly packed and even on the last day I can imagine that it’s still fairly busy even as people are taking down their wares and displays to move on to the next venue. I can just imagine the amount of work that goes into setting this up and the work that must go into breaking it all down again until next year.

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