Bonnaroo

What you can and cannot bring to Bonnaroo & Centeroo

Event Track / Bonnaroo / Planning Guides / What you can and cannot bring to Bonnaroo & Centeroo

Article Summary

  • Bonnaroo has different sets of rules for what you can bring into the campgrounds and what you can bring into Centeroo, where all the shows happen
  • Most of the things you can’t bring are obvious, but it is always good to review the list before heading to Bonnaroo
  • Some of our recommendations for things to bring to Bonnaroo include camelbaks, bug spray, and blankets

Bonnaroo can be a little more complicated than other festivals for understanding what you can and cannot bring. This is because most people camp at Bonnaroo so there are rules for what you can bring to the camp grounds and for what you can bring to Centeroo, where the shows actually occur. Let’s first go over what you can bring to each of these areas according to the official Bonnaroo website, and then go into some more detail onto some of the policies.

What can I bring to the Bonnaroo Campground?

Bonnaroo says all of the following items are allowed in the Bonnaroo campgrounds:

  • Alcohol
  • Food / Drinks
  • Cameras with a detachable lens less than 2”
  • Portable camping grill (more details below)
  • Generator (smaller than 4KW)

What can I not bring to the Bonnaroo campground?

The following items are prohibited from the Bonnaroo campgrounds:

  • Glass (This one is very strict, don’t try it)
  • Kegs
  • Weapons
  • Drones
  • Fireworks
  • Illegal Substances
  • Bicycles or any other 2-wheeled transportation device
  • Professional cameras (with detachable lenses longer than 2” long)
  • Pets (even really, really tiny ones)
  • Glow sticks
  • Box trucks / trailers (link to policy)
  • Laser pens or similar focused light device
  • Vending (sharing, yes. Selling, no)
  • Tools (stay tuned for what camping tools are permitted)

What can I bring to the Centeroo / Main Venue at Bonnaroo

The following items are allowed in the main venue area at Bonnaroo:

  • Empty water bottles and camelbaks
  • 1 factory sealed water bottle
  • Medium sized backpacks (any backpack will be fine really, just don’t show up with a giant hiking backpack that holds 2 months worth of supplies)
  • Lawn chair (must sit low to the ground)
  • Blankets
  • Point and shoot cameras with less than a 2” lens
  • Selfie sticks (shorter than 40” in length)
  • Totems (less than 6’ tall and ½”” thick and made of light material like foam or cardboard tubes)

What isn’t allowed at Centeroo / Main Venue?

Bonnaroo bans the following at Centeroo:

  • Food or drinks other than small snacks and the sealed water bottle
  • Alcohol (you can’t bring this from your campsite in)
  • Chairs that sit more than a food off the ground
  • Totems not following the aforementioned rules

How strict are these rules for Bonnaroo?

Let’s just say I don’t recommend pushing your luck. Every car entering the Bonnaroo campgrounds can be subject to a random search by the police and these can be quite invasive. You basically run the risk of having anything illegal being confiscated and losing it. Is it guaranteed you will get caught? Of course not, but there is definitely a chance. It really depends on how invasive a search you get. It is not uncommon to get fully searched with the police digging through everything, so operate at your own risk.

What’s the deal with alcohol in the Bonnaroo campgrounds?

So this is one of the most common questions with Bonnaroo camping. They do allow alcohol, but it is limited. Here is the official policy:

“Each person may bring in 2 cases of beer, 1.75 liter of hard liquor (no glass), and 2 boxes of wine. Anything over this amount is considered “excessive” and will be confiscated. No kegs are allowed in the campgrounds.”

Again, you can try to sneak in more, but you definitely run the risk of being caught with the extra alcohol. If you are caught fully expect the police officer to be enjoying your booze that night and not you. Still, it is nice that this is on a person basis, so if you load up you should be fine for the weekend.

Sneaking Alcohol into Bonnaroo

Yes, everyone does this. Okay, maybe everyone doesn’t sneak in booze but most people do. Alcohol is obviously sold inside, but it can be $10+ a beverage so plenty of people sneak it in even though it’s prohibited. Just be creative with where they don’t pat you down and you will be fine.

What food is allowed into Centeroo?

So Bonnaroo is sort of vague with this: they say you can bring small snacks into Centeroo, but not full meals. In general things like trail mix, Clifbars or other energy bars, chips and things like this will be fine. I have seen some people get sandwiches in, but honestly it depends on who you get going through security. Some guards are more lax than others, so it comes down to chance a bit. I would say stick with things in small bags such as beef jerky and trail mix and you will be fine.

What about portable camping grills?

These are allowed, but be mindful of powering them. If the grill is gas powered and smaller than 4KW you can bring “the appropriate amount of gas” to power it. This means don’t show up with several propane tanks expecting to get in. If Bonnaroo feels you have an excessive amount of gasoline it will be confiscated. Just be reasonable and you will be fine. 

If your grill or stove uses charcoal you can bring up to a 40lbs bag of charcoal. If you are using propane you can bring as large as a 5lbs tank.

What do you recommend bringing to Bonnaroo?

Knowing what to bring to Bonnaroo can really enhance your time. I strongly suggest bringing the following items to have a great time at Bonnaroo.

Camelbaks
The more water you have with you at Bonnaroo the less you are running to refill and rehydrate. I personally really like having a camelbak so I can spend more time at the stages enjoying the shows, and less time running to the water stations. The great part with Camelbaks is you can use them at any other music festival you go to, hiking, the beach, or anything outdoors. They are total worth it. This is the one I have and really recommend it. There are free water refill stations throughout Centeroo that you can use all weekend, so you can limit your trips to these and waiting in line with a good Camelbak.

Blankets
My fiancée especially enjoys having a blanket to sit on between shows. We like to secure our spots so we will get to a stage early and just sit between shows at our same spot. We like having a blanket to put down to avoid sitting down in the dirt.

Shade
This is mainly for your Bonnaroo campsite, but for the love of God and everything that is holy bring some Shade. Bonnaroo is fucking hot – I rarely swear in posts but I want to emphasize this. Bring some shade that you can duck under and get some relief from the sun.

Bug Spray
You can thank me later: it’s humid and hot so obviously there are going to be a lot of bugs at Bonnaroo. If you forget to bring bug spray with you it can always be bought at Bonnaroo, but save yourself some money and snag it before heading to Bonnaroo.

Lawn Chairs
These are a pretty divisive Bonnaroo item: some people love them and some people hate that people bring them to Bonnaroo. My opinion is they are fine, but sit back from the stage with them. Everyone hates the person that sets up their chair right in front of a stage. People will be walking around you constantly and stepping over you: just set up your chair in the back and enjoy the tunes and you will be fine. I will say Bonnaroo is far less cluttered with these things than Austin City Limits, so they are that harmful to the Bonnaroo experience. If you think you will be more comfortable with a chair feel free to bring it, just know you need to haul it around with you, which can be a pain.

All The Alcohol Possible
For every person in your group be sure to bring the maximum amount of alcohol allowed. It may seem like a lot, and you may think you won’t drink it all, but it is always better to have more alcohol at Bonnaroo than less. Plus alcohol doesn’t go bad so just bring the max and if you don’t drink it you can drink it at home, or you will be a popular camping spot when you offer some fellow Bonnarooers some beverages. You will hate yourself if you run out of alcohol and you didn’t bring as much as you could to Bonnaroo.

Summary

Know what you can bring to Bonnaroo before heading: you don’t want to get your shit confiscated on the way in and start the weekend off with bad vibes. Security can be fairly intense at Bonnaroo: I know plenty of people get their stuff in, but I generally choose not to risk it and stick to the rules. A lot of it comes down to chance and how invasive your search is. Decide for yourself, but I really do recommend all the things listed above to enhance your time at Bonnaroo: little items can make a big difference.

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