Music Festival Planning: Bonnaroo Apr 27, 2010

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Yep, I am returning to the Bonnaroo music festival this June. Four days of music, art, camping and fun. I cannot WAIT! I went for the first time in 2007 with my husband, sister and our good friend. In 2008, I went with six folks (seven if you count the olive-sized Emerson that was growing in my belly). Last year we took off because… well we had a baby-sized Emerson and a depleted savings account due to a home remodel and a stash of cloth diapers.

Well this year we have decided to return to Bonnaroo, and I am thrilled. Kings of Leon, Jay-Z, Dave Matthews Band, Stevie Wonder, Conan O’Brien, Weezer, Flaming Lips performing Dark Side of the Moon, The Dead Weather, Jeff Beck, John Butler Trio, Damian Marley and Nas, The Gossip, The Gaslight Anthem, Clutch, Diane Birch, B.O.B., Regina Spektor, Michael Franti, Umphrey’s McGee… oh man I could keep going and going with the artist lineup (full lineup for 2010 Bonnaroo can be found here). I am looking forward to the time away from work, the sunshine, the lack of computers, the ability to completely LET GO.

Yes, I will be spending this time away from Emerson and that is freaking me out a bit, but she will be with my mom and I think it could be a good experience for all of us.

But what is really concerning me about Bonnaroo… is my wardrobe! I mean really, what you wear to a music festival is so important! You want to look yourself, you want to fit the part, you need to be comfortable. How do you achieve style and comfort without electricity and running water?

I went up in my attic to collect my Roo-wardrobe from years past. Nothing fit. Seriously, NOTHING. Your belly isn’t the only thing that changes after having a baby, and it shows with the length of dresses, the fit of garments in the bust or hip area. And let’s not again mention how all my old shoes (Bonnaroo-only Crocs included) no longer fit.

So I have had to start from scratch. The itinerary is leave Wednesday morning. Stay overnight near the Virginia/Tennessee border. Start at a comfortable hour on Thursday morning and arrive at Bonnaroo in the afternoon. Set up tent and check out the scene.

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Right after setting up camp

Friday through Sunday are pretty full days at Bonnaroo. The heat of the sun will wake you before you really want to rise. Spend a leisurely morning at camp, eating breakfast burritos the size of your head that were purchased for a couple bucks from the stand a block away. Bathe in well water via a keg cup and a travel-sized bottle of 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner. Pack your bag with Purell, sunscreen, a couple snacks and lots of water and head to Centeroo, where you can easily watch 14 hours of live music. Feast on surprisingly fresh and delicious festie food, take naps, meet new people, see new things, dance. Possibly return to camp early evening to take a power nap, change into warmer clothes and get ready for a late night of more music.

Monday morning we will head back home and drive straight through (about 11 hours).

So really, I need three daytime outfits – outfits that can survive mud, dust, sweat, and porta-potties. Experience has shown that 100% cotton dresses (not jersey) are most comfortable because they don’t cling to sweaty skin, dry fast and allow for a bit of breeze. I love moisture-wicking bike shorts underneath to prevent Chub Rub and to provide some modesty when sitting down on the ground. For evening, lightweight pants or jeans and a hoodie is a great choice.

I have recently ordered this dress from Old Navy – in red (which is almost neon in color) and purple. It is great, but the XL is too big and I will have to try on the Large in the stores to see if it will work, or if I need to instead try to shrink the XL and shorten the straps. But really, this is a near-perfect Bonnaroo dress. It is the same concept as my old favorite Bonnaroo dress (also from Old Navy) that no longer fits. For day three, I got this maxi dress from Gap (if you like it, go into the stores – it is over $10 cheaper there than online and most online coupons work in-store). I love it because I can rock it without a bra and not look a mess.

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I did a similar photo at the Leaning Tower of Pisa…

As for shoes, I despise Crocs. They are so hideous, but they are the perfect footwear for Bonnaroo. My purple ones I got in ’07 are too small, so I will have to buck up and get myself a new pair. There is a Crocs outlet at a nearby mall – I plan to go there as that I don’t care too much about the color and really can’t stomach paying full price for butt-ugly footwear.

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Rocking while wearing my DUO boots

I will also be taking my Bern Boots from DUO (wore then in ’08 and they were super comfy), and a pair of Reef flip flops for the car rides and for padding around the campsite.

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Waiting in line to get into Centeroo with hat stolen from my mom

I have a crushable straw hat that was actually my mom’s that I will be wearing for sun protection, I will also bring many bandannas to manage icky hair and prevent scalp burn (I also got this scarf from Lands End Canvas that is 100% cotton, bigger and far more chic than a standard bandanna). My old Gap Essential jeans will be great evening wear – they are loose and a bit worn. I have a hibiscus-colored hoodie from Gap, and will also probably take some other sweater or sweatshirt. For the car trips, most likely some other sundress out of jersey that won’t get creased from hours sitting on my tush.

Hopefully this weekend I will be able to get to an Old Navy to try the dress on in size Large to be able to finalize my Bonnaroo wardrobe. Then I can start plotting out what personal care essentials I need. Oh yeah… and I guess I should look into getting an air mattress!

Any of you ever attended a music festival? Any fashion and beauty words of wisdom?

Oh, and here is my post from Bonnaroo 2007, and for Bonnaroo 2008!

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I’m so glad you posted this! I’m going for the first time this year and this post, along with everything on Inforoo, has been so helpful for me!

  2. The first year we went to Bonnaroo we ate at that Golden Corral – a friend’s uncle took us there and then we went to Wal Mart for provisions. Last time we ate at Chili’s. Getting into the Chili’s part of Bristol I was able to see there is more to that neck of the woods 🙂 I will let you know when we book our hotel and what the schedule looks like! Would be great to meet after all these years!

  3. That Golden Corral is CHOICE. My husband’s family has all their family get togethers there because they love it so much…no, I’m not kidding…so I have been there more than I care to admit. We should definitely plan something. There are much better places around there, though :-).

  4. Why yesssss I will be staying in Bristol for a big 12 hours. Is a Bloggie get together possible? Can we eat somewhere fab like the Golden Corral? 😉

  5. Oh don’t be scared! I go with my sister who despises camping and my best friend who admits to being high maintenance and they are repeat Roo-sters. And if you seriously want a shower, they have paid hot showers through Garnier Fructis.

    But really, there are these trailers with troughs along the sides with faucets that offer well water (cold). If you are over 5’4″ you can easily dunk your head under the water and rinse. Otherwise you get on tippie toe or bring a cup. Some even bring an old piece of hose to put over the faucet and then use like a shower. The cold water is a pleasure after the hot dusty day. Every gets down to bathing suits or skivvies to bathe, bars of soap and bottles of shampoo.

    As for places to go, I will ask my non-bebe friends and let you know as that I am tres suburban these days.

  6. I am debating going this June. My best friend always goes, it sounds like a blast, but the no showers thing freaks me out a bit. I’m a hippie, but can’t quite do the dirty hippie thing. 🙂

    Also, we’ve been spending a ton of time down in the D.C. area lately and wondered if you would recommend any place for drinks/eat?

    I love that you’re posting so much lately, I get a lot of inspiration from your fashion!

  7. I went through similar issues packing for coachella, which was super duper amazing!! I actually kept your Bonnaroo posts in mind while I was packing and ended up wearing cotton sundresses the whole times.

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