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)
Post by sparklybecca on Feb 20, 2009 2:14:10 GMT -5
i understand where your coming from. i will never forget my first roo (05) i was in the walmart parking lot talkin to some random olddddschoool hippies, and they said to me these wise words which ive kept with me through the years: "if you dont have what you need by now - you may as well say Quack IT!!!"
so true. honestly if you forget something, you will survive. bring essentials. the less you have to worry about the more fun you will have and thats my .2cents
I try to keep stuff to a minimal too, I dont want all the luxeries that I have at home, thats part of camping. I'll spoil myself in other ways instead of spoiling myself with a fan or a generator. Some cold beers and PB&Js are all ya need haha
I do think I am over preparing for my first Roo this year, but I think a lot of people will agree with me that we aren't worried about having a bad experience by being underprepared as much as passing the time until Roo gets here.
We still have 4 months but last week I went shopping for a tent for Bonnaroo. It was fun as hell. I was standing in the aisle at target looking at all the mini models of tents imagining it among a sea of tents on the farm. I walk into the next aisle and see cheap camping lanterns on clearance! Preparing for Bonnaroo makes it feel like it is a lot closer than it is. I had a really rough year and don't want to be reminded how much longer I have to wait. is it June yet?
Last year I was 3 deep in a little Toyota so it seemed like we over packed but we under packed so we could fit in. This year i'm 6 deep in an SUV with this (see pic below) so at least we'll have a comfy ride and we can pack comfortably
Last Edit: Feb 20, 2009 4:39:03 GMT -5 by Guest - Back to Top
Leo, Thanks for the 'Surviving the survival guide... Guide'. To a great extent I agree with you wholeheartedly. Bonnaroo is just 4 days out of the entire year. You'll be setting yourself up for disappointment if you think about it every day of the week, every hour of the day for months on end.
That being said, your survival guide is essential reading for the newbie or really, for those that you know, don't camp otherwise. Many of us have an entire closet or section of the garage dedicated to camping gear and we can within 12-24 hours freeze up some water, buy some beer, load up the truck, and be on our way to self-supported good times. I myself do that at least 5 times a year (Good times being a music fest only one of those times).
For those that are making their first pilgrimage to the TN mecca, your guide is essential. For those on their 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th trip should reference it since they're bound to have a 'oh yeah' or 'great idea' moment. For those of us that travel, camp, tailgate, party on a farm or in the woods multiple times a year... Your advise today is great. Don't overthink it. Don't overplan. Go with the flow (and check your gear before you go.... but that's a no-brainer isn't it?)
edit* I am guilty of overplanning, BTW, so thanks for the reminder. I just bought a new tent and ez up, battery powered lights and coffee pot. Sometime next month I'll start hitting the specialty beer stores and randomly buying six packs of canned goodness to spread the cost out. I'll set my entire camp once in the backyard sometime in May to test ease of setup and practice for the 'landgrab'. I even had a dream last night about seeing Phish at a non-phish festival..... but.... I've got it bad.
Last Edit: Feb 20, 2009 8:05:12 GMT -5 by Guest - Back to Top
Seeing as how there have been approx 500 members and 2000 guests on this board in the last 24 hours, I'd say we've all been a bit guilty of over-planning (or at least being a bit too preoccupied.) That's all part of the fun. Once the tickets go on sale most of us spend 4 months thinking too much of Roo.
I embrace my Roo obsession.
That being said, planning/obsessing is not mandatory. For those of you with busy lives, you could show up at Roo naked and broke and people would help you out and you'd have a great time.
People do over plan, but I don't think it's a bad thing. Newcomers need to know that so much planning isn't necessary and everything will be alright if you forget a few little things.
I do over plan a bit, but I sorta have to with my health issues. I have to stay organized because if I'm not I can have a very sick Roo. I'm actually buying my own gear this year and as I'm totally freakin' poor I'm treating everything (down to the very last glowstick!) as an investment. Last year was a few weeks of planning because we had to track down some gear. This year should be a grab and go once I get everything and pack it in tubs.
Ever since 03, when I didn't prepare for that monsoon, I've been guilty of overpacking. I think if you remember the essentials: Shade, water, sunscreen, gold bond, appropriate footwear, tp, a warm hoodie, and a rain poncho, you should have a good roo.
I think there's a difference in spending a lot of time planning and becoming obsessive. Home-built solar powered tent fan is probably taking it a bit too far.
But then there's also something to be said for spending a good amount of time planning. After 2007, I made notes about what worked and what didn't. Then almost as soon as I bought my ticket for 2008, I started revising my list of things to bring, both clothing and supplies. I narrowed both down to what I'd really need and use and thus avoided over-packing and over-buying.
My first year, my sister and I read almost every thread and compared lists and sent emails back and forth. The guys in our group laughed at us - until they arrived and then were grateful that we brought extra sunscreen and made them freeze their water.
But yeah, if you show up naked, you will get taken care of. That first year we camped next to some college kids who had jumped in a car and bought a small tent on the way. So we let them crowd in under our shade tent and use our coolers and it ended up being a better weekend for all of us.
I know I over prepare, but I enjoy doing it. I have an unnatural love of spreadsheets and lists of things. I'm one of THOSE people, without actually being as anal as all that. Besides, people liked my little chandelier thingy.
Post by aquariumdrunk on Feb 20, 2009 15:32:50 GMT -5
I've gotten lighter and lighter with each passing year. From a van packed to the gills in 2004, to a military rucksack this past year, and odds are I'll go the backpack route for 2009. I tell ya, once you get comfortable, it feels pretty great going light. Not for everybody, but working alright for me! That said, if I was still driving down each year instead of flying, I probably wouldn't have gone through this evolution.
Post by CNDYFLPPDRND on Feb 20, 2009 17:13:55 GMT -5
i way over prepared last year but i dont regret it bc it was my first year and i am glad i had more than i needed than not enough. Before i went i was under the impression i would be spending a lot more time at camp and therefore was trying to prepare for that. That wasnt the case for me, i usually headed into Centeroo around the time the first or second acts were going on and didnt make it back to camp for quite some time after that, staying there only to grab what i needed before heading back to Centeroo.
this year when i know first hand what to expect, im going with the bare essentials. Ill probably bring very little things that i wont carry on me at all times
edit: i brought shade last year, and i shared it. someones sharing theirs with me this year!
Your guide was a fantastic help to me several years ago Leo. It is a great service to be able to allow people to have some necessary items so they don't have an awful time.
My personal philosophy that has developed over the years from traveling Europe and from Bonnaroo -
Before: Over-plan everything During: Expect and accept that everything will go wrong or different
This has led me to have immense peace because I get to enjoy the preparing and getting excited part, but then once I am there, I throw all caution to the wind and wing it. Best of both worlds.
Perhaps, Leo, you would just like to keep your entire article as is, but temper it at the beginning or the end with a small message about how - once on the farm - there is no plan, there is only a flow. Go with it.
Post by wonderllama on Feb 20, 2009 21:52:36 GMT -5
I don't know if over-preparing is such a bad thing, rather planning so much that you stress yourself out that you need to avoid. Last year was our first Roo and your guide and these bords were invaluable tools in helping us get ready. My wife and I are camping veterans and from Arkansas so we knew what to expect from the weather, but there were things that I found here (Camelbak, EZ Up, etc.) that were an absolute godsend on the farm. I can imagine someone coming in from up north that doesn't camp much would be at a decent disadvantage.
We did arrive on the farm with more than we needed, but I honestly can't think of anything off the top of my head that we really wished we had brought and didn't. It was nice not really having to worry about any of that. Besides, if you have too much stuff you can always make friends and help out your neighbors who maybe aren't quite as prepared.
Your guide is awesome, and really is a must read for anyone making their first trip to the farm. Roo can be done on very little, but I'd say it's probably better to have too much stuff the first time just in case. Everyone is different and has different concerns coming into Roo be it food, camping gear, beating the heat, etc. You've got info there for all those needs in one spot to satisfy the information sponges as well as the anal retentive preparedness freaks.
Like others have said, part of the fun is getting ready. The feeling you get on Thursday after you drive in, unpack, and set up after all that prep time and shopping really can't be beat. You'll always have folks who can't be satisfied covering all the "what if's", and with the economy a lot of people that really can't throw down a lot of cash on gear. Both of these situations can get a person pretty stressed out. Maybe open the guide up with a disclaimer along the lines of - "Bonnaroo is a vacation and is all about having a good time. Be prepared with the essentials, but if you're stressing out, you're doing it wrong. Bring some good vibes and the farm will take care of that which was left behind."
Part of it I think is that it gives us an excuse to think and talk about Bonnaroo to pass the time until the fest (as others have said). Also some of us that have been to Bonnaroo and other fests a few times may get off a bit on being the wise seasoned veterans. Nothing wrong with that.
But the point is well taken that we shouldn't scare people into thinking that all this over-preparation is necessary. Though I wholeheartedly agree with Meg that shade should be on the essentials list.
And while the survival guide may be getting bloated (I actually haven't looked at it in a year or more), there is a ton of useful information in it.
Edit: I just hunted down the guide and glanced over it, and I retract my "bloated" statement. There's not really anything I'd remove.