It is hard to believe it has been seven years since the first Bonnaroo festival. When
However, we quickly got educated because cars clogged every major road heading into our town for days. I remember trying to drive home from
Fortunately, I had been tipped off about the problems, so I had an opportunity to come up with an alternate travel plan. I drove many country roads that day and felt fortunate that it only took me two extra hours to get home.
Thousands of people spent the night in their cars as the throng of fans slowly got into the festival site.
Since then, event organizers and our local officials have done a great job managing this event so that the impact on
Even after all this time, I know many still have reservations about having this here. Drugs are a constant issue at events like this, and tragically, there have been deaths in the past.
However, we have gotten off a lot easier when compared to other events.
The weather did not cooperate because extreme heat plagued the festival throughout. This compounded the plight of the attendees who did not bring sufficient food or water. Vendors sold single-servings of pizza for $12, and 20-ounce bottles of soft drinks and water for $4 each.
Blazing hot weather and price gouging are often a volatile mix. Throw in toilets that did not work, long lines to water fountains, and other inconveniences and violence was inevitable. That happened during the weekend as looting and other criminal behavior took place.
According to published reports, at least four rapes occurred, and law enforcement personnel were able to arrest several through the use of video footage.The irony is that this festival was held to pay tribute to the original
I am a bit cynical about that, but at least it was not the rip-off the one 30 years later was. If the original was about peace and love, then the 1999 one was about commerce at any cost. I think that says a lot about how our country has changed in just a few decades.
Despite the problems of
The English band The Who played a concert in
Eleven fans were trampled to death as people stampeded into the concert hall to get good seats. Most of the seats at the show fell under the category of 'festival seating' or 'general admission.'
In other words, there were few reserved seats, so the earlier a person could get into the concert hall the better. Not enough doors were opened as the crowd surged in, and people got crushed.
Fortunately, nothing like that has happened at Bonnaroo, and we should pray that it never will. Let's hope for a safe weekend.
With so many new faces in town,
And be nice, for heaven's sake.