I've come to the conclusion that I'm encouraging people to over prepare for Bonnaroo. It's four months out and I'm talking about solar powered tent fans. I've decided I am not going to research one, get the parts for one, build one, test one or post a guide for building one. I know I personally, and I think perhaps we as a group, have made too much of getting ready for Bonnaroo.
This may seem surprising coming from the guy who wrote the 'survival' guide and I really don't expect it to be a particularly popular viewpoint, but getting ready for Bonnaroo isn't all that big a deal. I admit that it is an seductive path to try and make sure everything is perfect before you go. Lately on this board I've been discussing the relative merits of solar powered electrical banks for running appliances at 'roo for Pete's sake. Honestly, Bonnaroo is about going to see a bunch of bands and hanging out with cool people and having a whole lot of fun. I checked the most recent version of my survival guide and it's I'll be damned if it's not almost four frigging single spaced pages. What I really wanted to get across to people can be summed up as: 1.Treat with respect everyone you meet at 'roo whether they seem to deserve it or not. 2.Wear sunscreen. 3.Drink a lot of water. 4.Have an unbelievably great time. Somehow I spun that into four pages. Now if you want to be prepared for almost everything, great, but it's not required. My first festival was Woodstock '94, I had a backpack, a tent, a lot of smoke, a couple of fifths of Jack, a change of clothes and $150. To this day I've never had more fun in a weekend. And this was at a festival that was at 200% capacity, in the rain and the last night we were there they announced that there was a hypothermia warning and we should do anything we could to stay warm. (We wound up breaking up some of the stages and using them for firewood, but hey, they did say anything).
A lot of people have come to the conclusion that having that unbelievably great time requires planning six months in advance, memorizing the survival guide, spending a lot of cash and competing for who has the best campsite. Nothing could be further from the truth. The MOST important thing you can bring is the “laid back” vibe. OK, so a confession, last year I started getting ready for 'roo about 12 hours before I left... not days or weeks, hours. Froze ½ a case of water, bought a metric assload of beer, dug out the tent, chairs, and flagpole, made some sandwiches and threw everything into the truck. Was everything perfect? No. Did I forget some stuff? Absolutely, I totally spaced and didn't bring my CamelBak, you know what? Not a big deal. So I carried a couple of water bottles in my pockets. Ruined my weekend? Not at all.
I want to be clear, I'm not trying to dump on anyone who is into preparing for 'roo. This is only an attempt to mitigate the idea that I think exists (and I fear I unwittingly have been encouraging) that you have to go all out to enjoy or 'survive' Bonnaroo. Check out Lucid's backpacking guide to Bonnaroo, I think it is still linked to on the left panel and is a great 'going light' guide. Bonnaroo is a vacation, very possibly the most fun you can have. Just cover the basics and you'll be fine and have such a time that your grandkids will be jealous when they hear about it.
That's just what I think. Am I wrong, completely off base, a total wanker? Let me know, I won't be offended.
EDIT: Thanks for all the comments, very good points. If you've just read my rant, I encourage you to read the posts below for some viewpoints that are perhaps better thought out (or at least less pissy than mine)