Tracks’ Thursday Bonnaroo Traffic Woes
Damn it, it is great to be back on the farm! We finally made it down to Manchester, TN after a long ass drive from Philly. Although I despise driving in cars for a long time, King B and I made the best of the trip. The weather was a bit gloomy, but it was nice and cool out… Therefore highly raising our comfort levels.
We figured that we’d “fly” to Manchester, and find a bar to watch game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Our boys, the Orange Crush aka the Philadelphia Flyers, were playing in game six. Well, we underestimated our arrival time, and ended up streaming the game on my iPhone. (No, I wasn’t watching the game while I was driving… Just listening) The Flyers ended up losing on a shitty goal, which ended in one of the most sloppy ends to a season ever. (Shit happens. We’re Philly after all)
Finally, we got to our yearly destination of the Manchester Walmart, and it was MOBBED. Beyond mobbed. I haven’t seen the parking lot that packed in the four consecutive years that we’ve been here. Usually, we’d crack open a few beverages and join in on the festivities, but we decided to skip that part, and just go shopping for our supplies then pass out for a few hours by the Bonnaroo Radio Station (Fantasy 101).
Mobs of people were already in line at 6am for Will Call and to pick up their credential. Again, there was a much larger amount of people in line than I’d ever seen. Was this a portent of things to come? Did Dave Matthews and Kings of Leon triple the attendance for Bonnaroo 2010? We’ll see very soon.
After we headed out on the road towards the farm, we were excited to see that traffic was flowing very quickly. Maybe the Manchester Police finally had their shit together so the line of people would flow much more smoothly. As soon as we got to the point where we’d start filing into the farm, we were directed down I-24 and away from the farm.
‘Maybe we’re just going to a different entrance this year.’
We could feel ourselves getting inside of the Bonnaroo gates in record time. Looking around, there was an enormous line to the left of us. ‘Maybe there’s an alternate entrance on our side of the road. There’s no way that we could be part of that line.’ Finally, we arrived at the back of the line. An hour later, we moved maybe a mile. ‘Oh shit. We’re low on gas!’ Eventually, we decided to get out of line so we wouldn’t be stranded. Flying down the road, we were amazed to see that the line kept going, and going, and going, and going… FOR EIGHTEEN MILES! Yes. 18. On the wrong side of the road.
Was the Manchester Police sending people totally away from the festival? After all, the one officer told us that they had such traffic problems that they were forced to start a different pattern. Finally, we fueled up and hit Subway for key eats. There were several Bonnaroonians there who looked pissed off and confused. They told us that the line on our side of the road was doing a huge loop around to the other side. ‘What the fuck is going on??’ If we didn’t get out of line when we did, we definitely would have ran out of gas. As a matter of fact, we saw at least 3 cars being pushed in line. I wonder where those people are now!
Making a long story a bit shorter… We got back on the road doing 80 and flew towards the gates. Team Excelsior doesn’t fucking lose, so we got in. Quite quickly. Honestly, I’d be very surprised if the people in the back of line (where we started) had made it into the grounds by 3am. It was THAT long.
Once we got into the traffic checkpoint on the grounds, everything went very fast and smoothly. Honestly, it was even better than years past. At least Bonnaroo had their shit together!
So to everyone that sat in line for hours and hours and hours… Our hearts truly go out to you. Next year, the Manchester Police has to have a much better plan, or else Bonnaroo is going to suffer. I wouldn’t be surprised if Roo loses a few thousand people next year because of this debacle. You can’t blame Bonnaroo for this major organizational mishap, but heads have to roll somewhere. The festival dumps tons of money into the local task forces and communities, so they need to treat all aspects of the festival like gold..
Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments on the site. We’re looking forward to reading them!
Next: On to better things… Thursday AT Bonnaroo!