Every year, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival brings in thousands of festival goers to Manchester, TN. Like most other festivals that allow camping on the grounds, the lines to get in tend to be long, and tend to line up down the side of the Tennessee interstate highway. With that being said, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is not alone in keeping attendees safe and coordinated while they are waiting to get into the farm. The Tennessee Department of Transportations (TDOT) State Troopers are assisting Bonnaroo per usual to coordinate their traffic pattern and efforts.
What is the Plan for Attendees?
This year, like usual, attendees are will be pushed to use exit 111 off SR-55. This comes as an attempt to loosen up the traffic in the downtown area. For those coming out of town, be sure to keep an eye out for the shortest line accessible when coming off of exits 97, 105, 112 (temporary exit on westbound side only), 117 and 127.
- General admission campground will open at 8:00 P.M.on Wednesday. VIP campgrounds open at 7:00 A.M. Thursday, and Day Parking will open at 8:00 A.M. on Thursday
- All campgrounds close at 12:00 P.M. on Monday June 17, 2019
- TDOT will provide variable message signs to warn drivers of delays
- There will be no construction-related lane closures on I-24 for the duration of the festival
- Median crossovers will be blocked to prevent motorists from parking in them and blocking any vehicles
- Festival traffic will be kept in the right lane and/or on the shoulder of the interstate. This will allow through traffic to utilize the left travel lane unimpeded
- Emergency vehicles will use county roads that will be kept at low volume
- Temporary communication towers are in place to improve emergency communications
TDOT is taking extra precautions this year to compensate for the surge in traffic. Initially, the department was predicting a crowd of about 60,000 (roughly the number of attendees as last year). However, Bonnaroo announced on May 30, 2019 that the festival was close to selling out, which means much more people than what was initially expected.
Where can we get traffic updates?
For those not attending the festival, TDOT has also taken precautions. To make sure anyone in the general area will still have access to come and go check the radio and Twitter. For updates about Bonnaroo traffic, citizens are encouraged to call 511. They can also visit www.tn.gov/tdot for alternative routing information, as well as the TDOT Twitter. Attendees and citizens are also encouraged to check out @TN511, @Nashville511, @Chattanooga511, @Memphis511 and @Knoxville511 for any twitter traffic updates from the Coffee County Sheriff.
As if festival fans did not already love them, Tennessee also has a live stream for traffic. That is right, they have it. Head over to SmartWay traffic (www.TNSmartWay.com/Traffic) to follow the live stream. If those options do not float the boat, there are also more traditional methods to check traffic.
Each year, traffic for Bonnaroo gets better and better thanks to the coordinating efforst of TDOT and the festival. With so many beautiful souls congregating to this area annually, the Police Department puts attendees saftey above all else. Each year, after the event, TDOT and Bonnaroo debrief. This is their opportunity to figure out what worked, what did not work, and how it can be even better for the following year.
“It seems like we improve each year – after Bonnaroo, we do a debriefing to make it better,”Chief Deputy Frank Watkins- Manchester Times
So while attendees are lining up at the gates and preparing their lines, be sure to keep and eye on any traffic updates. Sometimes there will be a notification about certain entrances having no lines, or others noting if there have been any changes/delays. To occupy the time, try some online bingo or stalk the Reddit threads for updates about security and car checks.