Bonnaroo Festival 2011 – Day Zero

Yesterday, my friend Eleanor and I took my little shark blue Volkswagen Golf for a bit of a drive from Austin, TX to Manchester, TN. We drove through Waco quite easily, got in a small traffic jam in Dallas, and traveled Arkansas fairly smoothly. From Memphis to Nashville was just fine. Nashville to Knoxville started to get a little crazy as all the traffic was compacted down to one very slow moving lane. Cars and trucks got to know each other intimately.

However that was absolutely nothing compared to the nightmare of Bonnaroo specific traffic coming in on I-24 East toward Chattanooga. Every possible exit that you wanted to take was police blockaded. At this point it was past midnight and all the energy I had left was used to find exit 127 where the police were funneling everyone to the opposite side of the freeway. Everyone who needed to get into the campgrounds was packed onto the right hand shoulder lane in a line that stretched for miles.

Thankfully, we were just trying to make it to the Holiday Inn Express parking lot for media check-in and after forming a gameplan in front of a busy Waffle House we were able to bypass the whole thing. Of course due to time wasted we had missed the night check-in and instead slept in the car until the morning.

But good lord, lesson learned! Bonnaroo traffic is epically gnarly. Don’t get caught in it if you don’t have all of your supplies with you or know what you’re about to get into. Maybe a good idea would be to drive up on the Tuesday before the fest.

Getting here early is seriously the very best thing you can do to avoid a massive headache!

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