Checking in from Bonnaroo, part 3: follow the code

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The Bonnaroo arch
The Bonnaroo arch (MPR Photo / David Safar)

Bonnaroo is more than a lineup of bands on stages. It's a commitment to adopt a lifestyle and be part of a community for one long weekend.

Beyond the gates to the festival grounds there is an ocean of tents. The camping is what completes the Bonnaroo experience for the people who "follow the code." They aren't getting Uber helicopter rides from Nashville to the Farm or taking shelter in air-conditioned tents. They wait for hours to make sure they have a spot close to the stage for those "Bonnaroo moments" like the "We Are the World" superjam and Marcus Mumford's supergroup cover of the Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends."

The campers set the tone on Saturday as they gathered around the public art and handed our high fives between resting in whatever shade they could spot. They radiate positivity, respect the farm and stay "true to the 'Roo." The only thing slowing the crowd on Saturday was the intense heat and sun.

Minnesota's Trampled By Turtles opened up the main stage on Saturday afternoon which would later be shared by some of the biggest names of the festival. Hozier, My Morning Jacket, and Mumford and Sons all brought their best to Bonnaroo, making it look easy to win over 80,000 music fans.

On the other side of the festival grounds, it was a completely different musical experience. The mobile rave at the Kalliope shot flames and laser lights into the night. Slayer, Jamie xx, Childish Gambino and Tycho were conversation starters, but D'Angelo was the one everyone wishes they hadn't missed. With his full band The Vanguard, D'Angelo worked the crowd to a fever pitch. It was a performance that will be remembered in years to come.

7 Photos

  • It's Hot in Here
    "It's Hot in Here"; public art at Bonnaroo. (MPR Photo / David Safar)
  • Artists sell their wares at Bonnaroo
    Artists sell their wares at Bonnaroo (MPR Photo / David Safar)
  • Giant waterslide
    Giant waterslide at Bonnaroo (MPR Photo / David Safar)
  • Christmas Club Barn
    Snake Jake's Christmas Club Barn at Bonnaroo (MPR Photo / David Safar)
  • Metal pig sculpture at Bonnaroo
    Hamageddon: a aetal pig sculpture at Bonnaroo (MPR Photo / David Safar)
  • Jade and Current fans
    Jade and fans of The Current at Bonnaroo. (MPR Photo / David Safar)
  • Fans of The Current at Bonnaroo.
    Fans of The Current at Bonnaroo. (MPR Photo / David Safar)