I rarely pander to an audience, but I can see that a lot of people have been finding my blog lately by searching for some variation of “Bonnaroo day parking.”
So in the interest of helping my fellow Bonnaroo-goers out, let me tell you about day-parking: It is awesome.
More to the point, if you aren’t big on camping in the middle of a giant field with no tree cover for three to four days and live relatively close (or are thinking of getting a hotel reservation nearby), the day-parking situation is fucking great.
I live about 20-30 minutes from Bonnaroo (depending on traffic—driving in from Murfreesboro is generally busier than leaving), and day-parking last year was the best decision I made besides choosing to eat the gourmet pizza every day. I love camping, but I do not love camping in the blazing heat for several days with no shower or refuge from the sun. My sister and I drove in and out every day, and it was great.
Depending on how early you get in, you will have about a mile to a mile-and-a-half walk from day-parking to the entrance of Bonnaroo. It’s really not bad at all, but be prepared to not be able to just run out to your car quickly in case you forget something you wanted to bring in with you. I carried a Camelbak backpack with water, snacks and other supplies, and only once did I have to come back to the car (Emily and I got cold and went back for our hoodies later one night).
When you drive in the first day, tell the people who are checking your car for contraband (they will do this every day but it gets, ahem, more lax as the days go by) that you’re day-parking. They will tell you which way to go, and you’ll end up in a very large field where the parking volunteers will wave you into your parking spot. It’s probably a good idea to tie a helium-filled balloon to your car so that you can find it easily when you’re leaving later that night, because the field fills up with cars and you will be disoriented.
The walk to Bonnaroo from day parking is lined with food and drink vendors, and you’ll pass by the car-campers, port-a-crappers and some first aid tents, too. The walk back to day-parking is well-lit at night, and I never felt concerned for my or my sister’s safety last year. I mean, be alert, of course, but you’re not going to be walking down a pitch-black gravel road for a mile.
Bottom line: If you’re considering day-parking because you live or will be staying close by and value cleanliness and air-conditioning, go for it.