The 15th annual Bonnaroo Music Festival is officially underway in Manchester, Tennessee. has graciously allowed me the time off to embed myself within all the sights, sounds, weirdness and revelry that take place at the festival each year. Think of these occasional articles as a snapshot of my experience, with a little more leeway in terms of reporting style.

Of course, there are a few rules my editors have instilled-the primary being to not die of heat exposure inside my tent-with other warnings to “not talk about the port-a-potties so much” and “steer clear of appearing in photos that might damage my reputation OR the reputation of or its affiliates.”


Got it. Other than that, I’m free to explore the festival grounds, make new friends and test the limits of my ability to be around strangers for an extended period of time.

Sean’s Bonnaroo schedule


  • Waxahatchee

  • Bully

  • Twin Peaks

  • Hermitude


  • Allen Stone

  • Rayland Baxter

  • Chvrches

  • Dungen

  • Tame Impala

  • Purity Ring

  • Blood Orange

Here is my plan: I’ll exist each day, basking in the absurd glory that is Bonnaroo, and generally just try to enjoy myself. You can expect a daily recap of my experiences. I’ll include photos (even though I’m a notoriously terrible photographer) with each article. There are no expectations on my end. I have a schedule of artists I plan to see each day, and I’m certainly going to enjoy sampling the various food trucks/vendor tents throughout the festival. I’m used to documenting what I eat, and that won’t change while I’m at “the farm.”

At the end of the festival-sometime early next week-I’ll do a big roundup of my thoughts on the entire experience. But it’s already been an interesting ride.

Some of the early highlights include a friendly wrestling match with a man in a Hulk Hogan onesie (I was challenged and accepted) and a running tally of the times I’ve heard the word “lit” used as an adjective already (32 and counting). People were partying late Wednesday, and port-a-potties reflected such as the sun rose Thursday. That’s all I’m saying about the toilets (they won’t let me talk about them in detail, but ask if you see me).

Another part of my fun will be meeting up with other Chattanoogans who are at the festival. Bonnaroo is just about an hour outside of Chattanooga, and I’ve already met several of you since I arrived Wednesday evening. Let me know if you want to meet up (I’m not going to write anything scandalous; I just want to say hello). Hit me up (that’s what the kids say, right?) on Twitter @SeanMPhipps, shoot me an email ormessage me on Facebook. I’d love to hang out with some Noogans. I’ll even let you hold my big Aussie breezer hat.

Plenty of admission wristbands are still available if you get a wild hair to venture down. Click here for more information.

I’ll start my journaling this morning with a recap of yesterday’s music and madness. For now, I’ve included a series of photos below taken on Thursday in the hour after Centeroo (the main location with stages and vendors) opened for the weekend.

Let’s “radiate positivity” and get weird.

One of two air-conditioned enclosures, The Comedy Theatre is a popular location to beat the heat. (Photo: Staff)

Another way to cool off is to take a ride down the giant inflatable water slide. (Photo: Staff)