That intimate, unplugged rendition of a Bowie cover performed by your new favorite band. That 4 a.m. cameo of an iconic rapper you never saw coming. That raucous punk set that took your crowd-surfing virginity. These are just a few different scenarios you’re guaranteed to come across at Bonnaroo, and you need an outfit and gear that works for all of them.
Any music festival can provide a handful of unforgettable moments over the course of a four-day run, but Bonnaroo does it differently than any other with its infamously varied and star-studded lineup year in and year out. Prepping for it can be a bit of a challenge, to say the least, and believe me, I know — I’ve been covering music festivals for years now, and every single time, there’s a brief moment of panic when I look down at my carry-on bursting with everything from Wellies to miniskirts.
For Bonnaroo — which takes place on the sprawling hills of Manchester, Tennessee, which are notoriously hard to get to — comfort, versatility, and durability are key, because you’re presented with countless options that’ll take you out of familiar territory, style-wise. With that in mind, I culled some of my tried-and-true festival standbys — as well as a handful of new splurges I couldn’t resist — before packing up the truck and driving down to Bonnaroo on assignment this year.