- Your News
By MARIAN GALBRAITH
While Bonnaroo organizers hosted members of the regional press to a golf-cart tour on Wednesday to show off the festival’s most recent improvements, County Mayor David Pennington and Manchester Mayor Betty Superstein welcomed them back with gratitude and excitement in front of surrounding news cameras.
“With an economic impact of $20 million a year, Bonnaroo has generated over $220 million in Coffee County over the last 11 years,” Pennington said.
“And it’s not just a four-day event, it takes three months or more for them to get everything set up.
“So it’s not just a business, I consider Bonnaroo a partnership with Coffee County, as well as with so many of our local non-profits who will make another half million or so over the next four days.
“That’s more than they could make with at least ten or 12 ordinary fundraisers.”
Co-founders Ashley Capps, Rick Farman and others were also proud to announce their most recent measures to make the festival more cool and comfortable for fans as well as the surrounding community.
“We’ve added four new, free drinking water stations,” said Ashley Capps, founder of AC Entertainment, “plus we’ve planted 110 indigenous trees to add more shade, and we’ve gotten a lot more Bermuda grass to grow in.”
Thanks to an expanded “dust suppression plan” that includes treating the gravel roads that wind through the property, the air seemed noticeably less dusty so far than in years past, when staff and fans could often be seen covering their nose and mouth with bandanas.
A printed handout also reported that Bonnaroo’s production teams, consisting of 28 stage managers and 18 sound, lighting, staging and video companies, have reduced the total power consumption by 30 percent since the festival’s inception.
“Much of the stage lighting uses LED technology to conserve power,” the handout reads, “and generators run on biodiesel fuel, so the amount of speakers used for the fest has steadily decreased year after year, thanks to increased efficiency in the design and technology.”
Fans should stay cooler this year, not only thanks to the weather, which Superstein said is “cooperating nicely so far,” but also thanks to increased tenting over the main venues’ bathrooms and a large shade installation over the North vendor row.
“We’re not sold out just yet,” said publicist Ken Weinstein, “but I hope to be able to announce a complete sell-out of 80,000 in the next 24 hours or so.”
Weinstein also distributed copies of “The Bonnaroovian Code,” a playful set of how-to’s posted on the festival website with tips on everything from staying cool and hydrated and watching out for friends to staying positive and leaving no trace.
Examples include, “just because it’s a farm doesn’t mean you have to live in a pigsty,” and “making it better for everyone makes it better for you, which makes it better for everyone and yet even better for you.
“It’s a ping-pong match of amplified positivity.”
The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival continues through Sunday night.