17 Top Bonnaroo Packing List Items + What NOT to Bring (2019 Update)

Updated on April 27, 2019 by Asher Fergusson

Bonnaroo is a world-renowned four-day music festival that happens every June on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee. It’s four days filled with music, of all types, including everything from indie rock, classic rock, and world music to hip hop, jazz, americana and bluegrass. Be prepared for this year’s festival by checking out this go-to packing list.

What to pack for Bonnaroo:

1) Bonnaroo Wristband/ Ticket – You won’t get too far without this one. Make sure to wear your wristband to the festival, and keep a copy of your ticket on hand as well. Your wristband will also make a good keepsake later, especially if you save yours every year you go!

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2) Wallet – This is a no-brainer. Make sure to bring a travel wallet with all the important stuff, including your ID, money, festival ticket, credit and debit cards, etc. This one is perfect for slipping in your back pocket or side satchel during the festival.

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3) Sunscreen – Those Tennessee afternoons really heat up in June. Usually, any music festival requires loads of time out in the hot sun. This is definitely true for Bonnaroo. Bring some sunscreen with a good amount of SPF, and apply it every couple hours while you’re outside. Don’t let a gnarly sunburn ruin your festival experience!

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4) Water – Make sure to bring lots of drinking water. It’s extremely easy to accidentally get dehydrated during the hot festival days. A good rule of thumb is one gallon per day per person. Stock up on a few big tanks before you go. These gallons of spring water will do the trick.

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5) Tent – You are going to need somewhere to sleep during Bonnaroo. Most festival-goers use tents, which are ideal, although hammocks could work too. This tent is inexpensive, can fit up to two people, and has a wide entrance for easy entry and exit.

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6) Tarp or Carpet – You will need to lay something on the ground at your campground to chill on outside. A simple blue tarp from the hardware store will do. Your other option is to invest in a solid waterproof tarp specifically for camping. This one is super durable and camper-approved.

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7) Air Mattress – An air mattress will make your sleep at the festival infinitely more comfortable. Imagine sleeping on the hard ground as opposed to sleeping on a comfy mattress! Make sure you bring the air pump with you, and buy an air mattress that comes with a pump that can use your car as a power source!

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8) Charging Phone Case – A phone case that charges your phone will come in handy if you need to charge your phone on the go at any point during the festival. Don’t let a dead phone stop you from making it to the next music set! This case can fully charge your phone up to two times, and I personally use it almost every day.

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9) Medicines (advil, etc) – Anything can happen at a festival, and a first aid kit filled with bandaids, Advil and neosporin will come in handy at some point, no doubt. I’ve had blisters, splinters, scrapes, cuts and burns happen at festivals, and have had to use my first aid kit on myself, friends and strangers more times than I can count!

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10) Toilet Paper – Bonnaroo Festival veterans will tell you: absolutely bring toilet paper. The porta-potties inevitably run out of toilet paper really quickly. Compostable, biodegradable is best.

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11) Bug Spray – Lots of bugs are regulars at summer music festivals like Bonnaroo. Load up on high-grade bug spray and spray down yourself in the morning, and your tent and sleeping bag at nighttime. Nothing will ruin your time like itchy bug bites!

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12) Camping Chairs – When you’re not out roaming the festival grounds and listening to cool bands, you’ll most likely be with your friends at your group camp site. Before you leave for the festival make sure to pack some folding chairs to relax in. These ones are ultralight and foldable.

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13) Lanterns – Decorating your group space is a fun way to help everybody in your group distinguish your site from everybody else’s. Lanterns are a vibrant and practical way to decorate. They’ll help you find your way in the dark and then totally set the festival mood at your site. These ones are inexpensive and cute.

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14) Solar Shower – You might want to shower at some point during your time at Bonnaroo. A solar shower will come in very handy, and feel great after spending the day in the hot sun. This one packs down small and is easy to use. Make sure to read the instructions and do a test run at home before you go.

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15) Custom Flag – There are going to be so many campsites set up throughout the festival. Create or buy a custom flag so that you and your friends can find your campsite easily. This one is a classic.

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16) Large Cooler – Definitely bring a large cooler to keep all your food and beverages nice and cold. Pack it with water bottles, easy snacks like fruit, and maybe a bottle of aloe vera in case you get sunburned. This one comes on wheels so you can easily roll it from the parking lot to your campsite with minimal effort.

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17) Bandana – A bandana is a festival must-have. Bandanas serve double or triple duty by moonlighting as headbands, face masks, camp flags, and more. This one comes in many different colors, so you and your friends can all match.

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Other packing list items for Bonnaroo:

What to wear at bonnaroo:

Less is more at Bonnaroo. As always, be prepared by dressing in layers. Bring a light jacket for nighttime. During the day, casual festival clothes like jean shorts and tee shirts are a good fit. For the car or plane trip there, wear comfortable clothes that you can re-wear throughout the weekend so that you don’t overpack.

What NOT to bring:

The following are banned from Bonnaroo:
1) 🚫 Weapons – The festival is a time for peace and love (Bonnaroo was heavily influenced by Woodstock and other “peace and love” gatherings of the 1960s and 1970s, after all)!

2) 🚫 Animals or Pets – Leave your furry friends at home.

3) 🚫 Glass – Bring any alcohol in cans instead of glass bottles.

4) 🚫 Generator – Don’t bring a generator. If you need energy at your campsite, bring portable chargers or battery-powered devices only.

5) 🚫 Drone – No drones allowed! They are dangerous and annoying to other concert-goers. Bring your selfie-stick instead if you want to get high-up pictures.

6) 🚫 Fireworks or flares – Save the fire for Burning Man! No need to risk a forest fire.

7) 🚫 Valuables – Don’t bring any valuables! If you absolutely must, keep them locked and out of view in your vehicle.

FAQs about packing for bonnaroo:

1) If I forgot something crucial would I be able to buy it?

It totally depends on what it is that you forgot, but usually there will be a “general store” tent that has “groceries” and essentials like sunscreen, glow sticks, pens, notepads, tampons, and other things. Prices are very high for most things, so try to prepare ahead of time and pack everything you’ll need.

2) How much money should I bring with me?

You should plan on bringing around $100-300 in cash. Bring closer to $300 if you want to purchase any souvenirs.

3) How do I stay cool in my tent?

Bring some ice packs and keep them in your cooler. When you’re getting ready for bed, cool down by setting one on your forehead. You can also bring portable fans to use in your tent.

4) What are you supposed to do with your trash?

Festival staff will give you a trash bag when you go in, and they collect it later. Last year they gave festival-goers a raffle ticket for every bag of trash you turn in. If you can, try and spend a little time picking up trash and help keep Bonnaroo clean!

5) How can I meet other festival-goers?

Pods are the “community centers” of Bonnaroo. Pods are placed throughout the Bonnaroo campground, and include community services such as information booths, medical stations, showers (sometimes), and drinking water. Pods are your space to meet and get to know your camping neighbors! Think of your Pod as your Bonnaroo community center.

6) Will There Be ATMs Available?

Yes. If you need cash, ATMs can be found throughout Centeroo, at the General Stores, and at most Pods.

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