Festival season is officially underway, and if you missed Coachella, don’t worry; there’s another festival that may be the best one all year.
Unlike many others, The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is not a place to wear your most expensive clothes and meet celebrities. It is a community, a way of life, a belief and a mindset that will change your life forever.
Once you become a Bonnaroovian, you take the codes on the farm home with you, and you count down the days until you return.
So, how can one festival change you inside and out?
1. You will never be dirtier in your entire life than when you are on the farm, and yet, it won’t bother you one bit.
You will wake up drenched in sweat; you will have to pay to shower with fresh water, and you will have to spend five days doing your business in the gnarliest porta-potties.
You will, literally, be pushed to your hygienic limit, and you will love every second of it. You will learn the value of a hair brush; you will appreciate an actual toilet, and you will never take a freshwater shower for granted ever again.
2. You will learn to love everyone, and I mean EVERYONE you meet.
On the farm, you will be approached by strangers and they will end up becoming your best friends. You will high-five at least 400 people while you are there. You will cuddle under the tiniest bit of shade with someone who smells just as bad as you do.
You will sit under the foundation half-naked with complete strangers and not feel violated.
All of this is the norm on the farm. Instead of giving dirty looks, judgmental stares and getting mad every time someone bumps into you, you smile and go with it. You will take this way of life home with you, and it will make you a better person.
3. You will learn just how much your body can handle.
You will be out in the sun and on your feet for 16 to 24 hours a day for five days straight. You will sleep for five hours, tops; sometimes, you won’t sleep at all. You will most likely take drugs.
Through all of this, you will learn sunscreen is not optional; water is necessary for your wellbeing; rest is crucial; using drugs should be in moderation, and listening to your body will keep you alive.
We often treat our bodies like garbage disposals. We don’t hydrate, don’t eat healthily and don’t stop because we are young and invincible.
Being on the farm teaches you why it is vital to give your body what it needs. When you get home, you will take care of yourself better than you ever have and even give yourself a big, big hug.
4. You will remember why you fell in love with music in the first place.
Bonnaroo is not about running into Kim Kardashian, or hoping to get famous on Instagram for an $800 outfit; it is all about the music.
You will find bands you have never heard of and fall in love with them. You will cry tears of joy when you see your favorite musician perform your favorite song for the first time. These feelings do not leave you.
For the next year, you will stalk the festival blogs; you will count the days until the lineup comes out, you will make multiple playlists of unknown bands to prepare, and you will plan your days on the farm months in advance.
You will feel the electricity of the festival in your bloodstream every time you hear a song you saw at Roo.
5. You will be able to let your inner fashion freak flag fly and you will love yourself for it.
At work, you are a clean-cut business man or woman. While out with your friends, you are the cute and trendy one, or maybe the fly on the wall.
At Bonnaroo, you can be whoever you want to be. It does not matter that your shirt was your dad's back in the 80s, or that your shorts only cost you $5 instead of $200. You are free to be the weirdo you are!
You will also find yourself inspired by other hippies and take their fashion sense home with you. Once you get home, you will have to return to your formal life, but you always find ways to put pieces of you back into your outfits.
6. You will learn the value of respecting Mother Nature.
One of the most important Bonnaroovian codes is sustainability. Many of us do not recycle at home. Sometimes, we even find ourselves leaving empty water bottles and Doritos bags on the train.
On the farm, you will be expected to recycle every chance you get. You will never leave trash on the ground, and you will drink the recycled water without any complaints. Roo emphasizes the importance of loving the Earth and taking care of it.
You adapt to that lifestyle, and when you get home, you make small changes to continue it.
7. You will have the chance to find your soul mate, or fall deeply in love with someone you already know.
Music is a powerful thing. It can awaken the dead, stop wars and change your life. Every show you go to on the farm will be a chance for you to meet that special someone.
As you know from reason number two, there are over 90,000 people on the farm ready to love and accept you as one of their own. You may even find yourself connecting with someone you’ve always known on a level you didn’t think you two could reach.
You will be filled with happiness, love, positivity and stars in your eyes for five days. People will gravitate toward you.
When it is time to go back to reality, you may have someone special to take with you. If not, you will have a newfound attitude about love and know the perfect person is out there for you when you are ready.
8. Finally, and most importantly, going to Bonnaroo teaches you life is about taking chances and doing something completely new and terrifying.
After experiencing Bonnaroo, you will treasure the old saying, "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."
You will say yes more often. You will conquer things that scare you. You will be open to doing something you would usually pass on. You will be empowered to try anything, all because you know that magical feeling Bonnaroo gave you, and you will do anything to feel that way again.