Crowds at Bonnaroo 2016 were lighter than past years. Some estimates put it close to 50,000, which is significantly less than recent years when nearly 90,000 attended. At $325 a ticket, that’s about $13,000,000 in revenue.
Traffic into Bonnaroo is usually backed up for hours on I-24 and we have a back way of getting in that lets us bypass that nonsense. This year it didn’t matter as there was no interstate traffic Thursday morning and they had closed our usual entrance. We breezed down to Bushy Branch Road and drove in without a problem.
Because there were fewer people they moved the festival walls in closer behind the Which stage and didn’t install as many portable toilets, so the festival overall felt about as congested as in past years. The smaller crowds were most notable during the day on the What stage, where the number of people hanging out on the field was less than normal.
It was really hot this year. August hot. For some reason they want to limit RVs to 10 gallons of gas, which is not enough fuel to run a generator (and air conditioner) for four days. We brought in 17.5 gallons, which gave us a little to spare. We split the fuel up between a couple of vehicles so it wouldn’t be noticed.
Halsey (image above) put on an energetic show Friday, getting into the crowd. Band of Horses under delivered, in my opinion, and Jason Isbell over delivered. As a side note, while Isbell’s wife Amanda Shires was performing during a Sunday Superjam, Isbell could be seen bouncing their baby on the side of the stage.
We got into the pit for 8 performances on the What and Which stages. On the What stage I’m no longer going to stand in the crowd behind the pit. It’s just not enjoyable. Better to go back up the hill and put a blanket on the ground. The ability to get up so close for so many acts makes the ticket price a bargain.
Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder stopped a few times during his set to share his thoughts about current events and politics. In this social media age it just sounded like he was reading some annoying Facebook posts. Thanks, Eddie for introducing angry, preachy politics into another aspect of my life.