Bringin’ It to Bonnaroo: Gittin’ Ready

Tennessee is definitely different than Nevada.  Cases in point:
• It’s humid.
• All y’all have an accent.
• The landscape is lush and green and flat and far.
• People make the distinction between Wal-Mart and Super Wal-Mart.
• You can get wine and other alcohol but not beer at the liquor stores, and beer but not wine or other alcohol at the grocery stores.

Playground hanging the Bring It! banner

The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival takes place in Manchester, Tennessee on a vast grassy flatland near corn crops and ranch houses.  Vendors and infrastructure are everywhere with ENORMOUS stages punctuating the site like scattered skyscrapers in a village of parks and tents.  It’s early in the week, so work crews and volunteers are wildly busy getting ready and golf carts are zipping around like blurry flashes out of the corner of your eye.  You can feel the energy building toward the opening of the gates Thursday morning.

The Bring It! squad is building a theme camp at Bonnaroo at the invitation of Russ Bennett, Artistic Director for the festival.  He and his crew have been super helpful with planning and logistics, especially since our group has assembled from far way cities like San Francisco and San Diego.

We want to make a splash with our camp, and we’re having a much easier time of it thanks to regional burners like Bash, Danielle Potheau, Serra Fels, and Troy Cobb aka Runaway!  They’re here from North Carolina, Atlanta, Knoxville, and Nashville, and they’ve brought tons of tools, supplies, and creativity.  Smoke Blower and Luscious drove all the way out from Southern California via Flipside and New Orleans in their decked out travel bus.

Raising the tent

The last two days have been spent getting settled, supplied, and set up.  We erected four shade structures this afternoon and proceeded to move them around a hundred times each as the vision for the camp emerged and sharpened.  We’re trying to create an inviting, interactive area for people to stop by and get a made-to-order hug, play a round of mini-golf, learn about solar power, fill out a census, and watch Burning Man regional events footage while we chat with them one-on-one about ways they can take action and git ‘er done.

The Bring It! camp is situated on the perimeter of the 700-acre event between a huge music stage, fire installations at the Art of Such-N-Such, and a GIANT red and white circus tent.  More than 150 musicians and performers are scheduled to go on over the course of four days.  Should be fun so stay tuned.

– Marnee

About the author: Marnee Benson

Marnee is Burning Man Project’s Associate Director of Government Affairs. Her work focuses on permitting and relationships with the Nevada Legislature, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Pershing County, and multiple other Nevada agencies. She helps Burning Man navigate Nevada politics and federal issues affecting the Burning Man event. Marnee’s first trip to Black Rock City was 2001, and in 2007 she worked with the Department of Public Works and the Communications team, writing and photographing content for the Burning Blog “Building Black Rock City”. From 2009 to 2013, she served as the Deputy Director at Black Rock Solar. She loves the way Burning Man expands her world and flips ideas upside down.