Once again, the city of Manchester, Tennessee will host the annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, which is one of the most popular live music events in the country. Since 2002, the four-day, multi-stage event has featured a diverse assortment of performers and musical styles on a 700-acre Middle Tennessee farm that becomes the temporary home for thousands of people from all over the country. Over 40,000 music lovers are expected to attend the 2022 festival, which runs from Thursday night, June 16, 2022, through Sunday night, June 19, 2022.
With 40,000 festivalgoers converging on the site, the area in and around Manchester always sees increased traffic volumes during this time. As Manchester prepares to welcome a multitude of visitors, the Tennessee Department of Transportation is gearing up for the extra traffic. TDOT works closely with the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), Manchester Police Department, Manchester Fire and Rescue, Coffee County Sheriff’s Department, Coffee County EMA, and festival promoters to keep traffic moving on I-24 while also getting Bonnaroo attendees to their destination.
“TDOT has once again coordinated with our partners to ensure safe, efficient travel during the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival,” says TDOT Interim Commissioner Joe Galbato. “The main objective is to keep through traffic moving smoothly on I-24 while getting festivalgoers safely into and out of the Bonnaroo site. Because of advance planning, we feel certain that we can successfully minimize traffic delays throughout the weekend.”
This year, Bonnaroo will officially open all its gates on Wednesday evening, June 15, 2022, at 8:00 p.m. CDT to allow more time for vehicles to enter the campgrounds.
TDOT HELP units will assist with traffic management during the festival and will aid any motorists who require assistance. In addition, TDOT will be taking the following steps:
• Efforts will be concentrated on keeping I-24 traffic flowing.
• HELP trucks will be on-site patrolling the interstate and state routes throughout the festival region.
• Exit 111 (SR-55) will be used as the main festival exit. Alternate exits will be used if congestion occurs on the interstate.
• TDOT maintenance units will be posted throughout the festival region, and maintenance personnel will be on call all weekend.
• Variable message signs will be in place to warn drivers ahead of delays.
• There will be no construction-related lane closures on I-24 near the festival area between 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 15 through 7:00 p.m. on Monday, June 20.
• Median crossovers will be guarded to prevent motorists from parking in the crossovers and blocking emergency vehicles.
• Festival traffic will be kept in the right lane and/or on the shoulder of the interstate, allowing through traffic to utilize the left travel lane unimpeded.
• Emergency vehicles will use county roads that will be kept at low volume.
• Temporary communication towers are in place to improve emergency communications.
Drivers should keep in mind that if they need the assistance of a state trooper while traveling anywhere in Tennessee, they can simply dial *THP (*847) from their cell phone. They will be automatically connected to the nearest THP dispatch office and the operator will send a state trooper to their location.