Although I’m a big fan of music and reside in the great state of Tennessee, I’ve never been to Bonnaroo. Given that Bonnaroo is held in Machester, TN — a mere 150 miles away — you’d think that I’d have been by now. Especially with the amount of talent the annual festival normally attracts. But I’ve not.
And although this year holds what is arguably their best lineup ever, littered with acts I’d love to see, I won’t be in attendance for one simple reason, the same one that keeps me away year after year.
Which means that this year, Bonnaroo will once again kick off without me. The festival will be held from June 9 and goes through the 12th. Countless acts will be there, including Arcade Fire, Eminem, Buffalo Springfield (with Neil Young and Stephen Stills, mind you) and Dr. John. Each of the aforementioned acts are ones that I’d kill to see, but despite that fact, it would never even cross my mind to go to Bonnaroo to indulge in the musical embarrassment of riches.
Because I’ve got four kids and Bonnaroo is no place for me to be taking them. Especially given the time of year it’s held. Folks from around the country always seem surprised to find out that Tennessee has a brutally hot summer. Last year was a prime example. One man actually died from a heat stroke last year after his internal body temperature reached 108 degrees. That can happen when temperatures hover in the mid 90s for the majority of the weekend. In fact, the heat index was well over 100.
You know what else was well over 100? The number of arrests. And they’re typically not for J-walking. OH. And don’t forget to factor in the legendary traffic issues which is likely because nearly as many people get arrested commuting to and from the festival as get arrested at the actual festival itself. There were over 70 such arrests last year. Which, again, isn’t helping with traffic. I had one friend who was stuck in standstill traffic for five hours upon departure.
So, yeah. Not huge on exposing the kids to any of those byproducts of the largest music festival around. Regardless of who’s playing.
Sunny debated the question earlier today of whether or not Bonnaroo was a good place to take the kids, and correctly cited a “family section” called Kid Jamz. Only one problem. Tough to see the stage from the kid-friendly Kid Jamz. So you better hope that Mommy and Daddy have pretty different musical tastes. Because the Kid Jamz approach will definitely call for a divide-and-conquer strategy. And even then, you’ll still have the heat to contend with.
So if I do ever do end up going to Bonnaroo, it’ll be without the kids.