Friday, June 14
First of all, people are not shy about taking their clothes off. I didn’t see any completely naked folks (thank goodness—I can’t handle naked strangers running around), but apparently no one cares if you run around in your underwear. Who knew!
Okay, some more things I saw: headdresses. Can we retire them? They’re the worst music festival cliché. Some good things I saw included an older couple with matching yellow ankle cords. I’m guessing they wore them so they can always find each other. There were also a ton of braid hairstyles going on, and a lot of natural hair, meaning wavy/curly. Both DOs, definitely! Another DO: sunflowers! I saw a cute printed sunflower tank top, and one woman glued small silk sunflowers around the top of her bandeau top.
Mini-trend I saw: jingly things on skirts, tops, bikini bottoms so that you sound like many tiny tambourines when you walk. Here’s a DO: I saw someone carrying a faded mustard-yellow drawstring backpack that said “I’m lovin’ it.”
One last DO: a very tall gentleman was holding his group’s sign, and was wearing a tall top hat and a ruffled white skirt over his jorts. How fun!
Saturday, June 15
Maybe I should’ve been prepared for this, but things got a couple degrees weirder on Saturday. And I’m saying that about the attendees, the musicians, and the music itself.
Here’s a thing I saw at Death Grips: a group of dudes wearing plaid button-downs and sarong skirts. I haven’t decided if it’s a DO or a DON’T. I suppose if things need to be aired out, it’s a DO.
I saw many more sunflower-printed clothes on Saturday, which I considered a DO. I think they should be the next polka dots. Also a DO: lace shorts! I didn’t think I’d like them, but I did.
Here’s a DON’T: weed leaves printed on socks. I saw a marijuana leaf tattoo at Local Natives on Friday, and that was probably worse, but why do you need weed socks? Just buy hemp socks! A DO was a small tattoo of Seattle’s Space Needle on one woman’s ankle. Cute.
Bonnaroo is a lot like what your parents told you college would be like. Everyone of every stripe is here, and they’re all really nice and just here to have a good time.
Sunday, June 16
I saw more strange things in one weekend than I have in my entire life, probably, and it was awesome.
Here is a DO: Hats. No hat is too silly to wear by Sunday. There were tons of those circular pyramid-shaped hats around, plenty of fedoras, bucket hats, and baseball caps. There were definitely some top hats and ironic cowboy hats. I even saw a crocheted beanie.
Sunday was the first time (!) I had time to eat something other than a granola bar or an apple I packed for myself, so I got a salad wrap. It was $10, but there was a lot in it. I couldn’t even wrap it properly. And the sauce got everywhere. It was still pretty tasty.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis played at the What Stage, and drew a huge crowd, as expected. He complimented Bonnaroo-goers’ style, and pointed out a guy wearing a fur coat. “It’s 88 degrees and this man is wearing a fur jacket. You are an insane man,” Macklemore said before asking for the jacket to be crowd-surfed to the stage. I guess it turned out to be a bobcat fur coat, though I can’t verify that. After Macklemore donned it for “Thrift Shop,” he addressed critics of fur clothing by saying he wanted to honor the bobcat’s life by crowd surfing it back to its owner. Not sure about that one, but I’ll go with it.
People carried around a lot of weird stuff at Bonnaroo. Most of them were group totems and flags, but there were also a handful of inflatable whales, kites, and at least one kiddie pool. The best flag I saw was Grumpy Cat’s face with “Nope” printed below it. My favorite totem pole was a purple flamingo wearing Mardi Gras beads at the Wu-Tang Clan show, but there was also a small deer skull with antlers walking around.
I’m also convinced that most of the people there dress like regular taxpayers when they get home, and just have a separate wardrobe for music festivals.
The coolest thing about Bonnaroo, though, is that everyone’s there to hear good music and have a great time, with their freak flags flying high. And that’s definitely a DO.