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Bonnaroo Music Festival

The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is an annual, four to five-day music festival, created and produced by Superfly Productions and AC Entertainment, first held in 2002. The festival is held at Great Stage Park on a 700 acre (2.8 km²) farm in Manchester, Tennessee, 60 miles (97 km) southeast of Nashville, Tennessee. The main attractions of the festival are the multiple stages of live music, featuring a diverse array of musical styles including indie rock, world music, hip hop, jazz, americana, bluegrass, country music, folk, gospel, reggae, electronica, and other alternative music. The festival began with a primary focus on jam bands, but has diversified greatly in recent years. The festival features craftsmen and artisans selling unique products, food and drink vendors, and many other activities including some put on by various sponsors. Sponsors of the festival are required to provide free activities for attendees.


The word Bonnaroo, popularized by New Orleans R&B giant Dr. John with his 1974 album Desitively Bonnaroo, is a slang word meaning "a really good time." The name was chosen for its literal meaning, and also to honor the rich Louisiana music tradition that inspired the organizers' desire to provide many styles of quality live music for appreciative fans. The word Bonnaroo is actually a New Orleans Ninth Ward slang construction taken from the French "bon" meaning "good", and "aroo" from the English "around", translating to "the best on the streets".


On January 10, 2007, Bonnaroo organizers Superfly Productions and AC Entertainment purchased a major portion of the site, where the annual music festival is held. The purchase of 530 acres (2.1 km2) encompassed all of the performance areas and much of the camping and parking area used for the annual festival; the festival will continue to lease another 250 acres (1.0 km2) that currently serve as additional parking and camping. Since its inception, Bonnaroo has contributed more than $1 million directly to Coffee County organizations. In addition to annual charitable contributions, the festival's activities provide annual revenue to the county. Measured in a 2005 study, the economic impact of the event on Coffee County was more than $14 million in business revenues and more than $4 million in personal income.


In recent years, festival organizers have placed great emphasis on recycling and 'greening' efforts during the event.


In 2008, it was named “Best Festival” by Rolling Stone Magazine, calling it "the ultimate over-the-top summer festival."


The official venues located at Bonnaroo often change from year to year. The following are a few of the more permanent venues.

* Centeroo - The Central area of Bonnaroo. Serviced by two main entrances, nearly all of the festival activity is enclosed in this area. Various merchants and activities supplement the plethora of music related activities located within Centeroo. Only one stage, the What Stage, lies outside of Centeroo. While Centeroo is open 24 hours a day, musical artists generally only play from noon until the evening, followed by the unopposed headlining act. Afterwards, there are late-night sets, usually running from midnight until the early morning, sometimes as late as 5 or 6 AM.

* What Stage - The main stage of the festival, with a capacity of 100,000, is also the largest. What Stage is open from approximately noon until midnight. Traditionally, the headlining act each day will play on the What Stage with no other acts performing on any other stages.

* Which Stage - The second stage, with a capacity of 30,000. Which Stage is generally one of the last stages to finish before the headlining act each night. After the headlining act performs, a late night show generally follows here.

* This Tent, That Tent, and The Other Tent - These three tents serve as a combined tertiary tier for musical performances. Late night shows also generally occur in all three of these venues, along with the yearly Superjam, a one-off combination of various musicians performing at the festival.

* Comedy Tent - This tent is reserved strictly for comedy acts, such as stand up comedians.

Various other small tents and stages also exist, such as the Solar Stage and the Cinema tent. See the Bonnaroo website for further details on these venues.


Available to the Bonnaroo public throughout the week are various activity tents. These tents become most popular with the night crowd, with such activities set up as The Silent Disco tent and several other club or bar themed venues. The Silent Disco allows for participants to enjoy the excitement and fun of a dance club but without disturbing nearby campers. Each person upon entering the tent is given a set of headphones that syncs with the DJ and the music, so everyone is listening to the same song through the headphones while appearing from the outside to be dancing to no music at all. Other activities include the Comedy Tent where comedians from Mike Birbiglia to Flight of the Concords have performed. The Cinema tent showing a variety of mainstream and independent movies is also popular as it is one of the air conditioned tents. Activities like these provide an easy and fun way to hang around the Centeroo in between music performances.

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