One of the most common questions with any music festival is if the VIP is worth it, and Bonnaroo is no exception. Bonnaroo offers two different levels of VIP passes: VIP and platinum passes. Most people go with the general admission passes, but many debate trying out the upgraded Bonnaroo passes. First let’s go over what you get with each pass, and then discuss if they are worth it. Here are the three different types of passes to Bonnaroo, and what each comes with.
Bonnaroo VIP passes are sold in pairs of two for $1648+ fees and include the following:
Bonnaroo Platinum passes are sold in pairs of two or four, and in combination with hotel packages starting at $5,000. The passes include the following:
This is a little tricky to answer as Bonnaroo prices work in tiers. For example, general admission passes can be had for as low as $275 (early bird) and as high as $350 (Tier 4). Let’s just be consistent and go with the final tier pricing for each pass. Note that VIP and Platinum are only sold in pairs, but we will just divide it by two to get individual costs. Thus the final prices are:
Thus if you purchase VIP it needs to be worth an additional $474 and the Platinum needs to be worth a whopping $2,150+ in value. A tall task, but let’s go through what you get and see if it’s worth it. We will begin with the Bonnaroo VIP pass.
Among the biggest perks for the Bonnaroo VIP passes is the preferred parking and camping exclusively for VIP passholders. If you are in the GA area for Bonnaroo there is a strong chance you are going to have a mini-hike to Centeroo. A great part about the VIP is this special parking that puts you about a 5-minute walk to Bonnaroo. This allows you to not only get to the shows quickly, but you can also head back to your campsite extremely easily anytime you need to. The picture above I found on Pinterest, and thought it illustrated the point well. Regardless of what your spot in VIP camping is, you will be able to get right into Centeroo.
A second major advantage to the VIP is the fact that nearly everyone reports lighter searches when going into Bonnaroo. Obviously this isn’t an official perk they list on the VIP advantages, but almost unanimously people report the search of their vehicle was little to none and they were able to sneak in all the alcohol they want. You also get a VIP only exit off the highway, which drastically cuts down on the amount of traffic you will experience going into Bonnaroo. These first two perks to me are the real advantage of the Bonnaroo VIP pass.
Third, If you aren’t a big camper you will be happy to know you get free showers, air conditioned flushable toilets inside Centeroo and air conditioned areas inside Centeroo. There is also an air conditioned lounge in the campground areas with a bar, comfortable seating, and other perks such as games and computers. I know lots of people live by baby wipe showers in the GA camping areas, but if you aren’t about that, VIP is great for you. Fourth, the VIP pre-event party on Thursday night is a catered dinner with free beer. The foods not great to be honest, but the price is right. Fifth of the perks that actually matter are the VIP viewing areas at the What and Which stages. They aren’t a front and center view, but they are good and you won’t be as cramped as you would be in the GA area. The real advantage to the Bonnaroo VIP viewing areas are that you don’t need to show up super early to secure a good spot at the stage. The VIP areas at Bonnaroo allow you to show up shortly before a show and snag a good view of the show. In the general admission area my advice is always to show up at least a show in advance if you want to get a good spot.
Obviously there are some other perks that come with the Bonnaroo VIP such as the charging stations or free merch. To me these are nice, but the perks mentioned above are the true benefits of Bonnaroo VIP, with the best being the location of the VIP camping area and the lack of search/private entrance into Bonnaroo. This means you can show up whenever you want to Bonnaroo and won’t experience the clusterfuck that is the general admission entrance.
Obviously the price is a big deterrent for most people. The VIP passes are more than double the cost of general admission to Bonnaroo, and potentially triple if you snag Bonnaroo early bird passes. A second major deterrent is the fact that they only sell VIP passes in pairs for Bonnaroo. I really don’t understand why they do this; perhaps many people don’t go solo but what about groups of 3? It seems Bonnaroo could easily sell these as solo passes like every other music festival, but for some reason they choose not to. The Thursday meal food isn’t very good as I have mentioned before; not the biggest deal in the world but it is worth mentioning. Finally, some people claim the VIP area just doesn’t have the same vibe as the Bonnaroo GA area. This is more a factor of the age of each group: the Bonnaroo GA area is mainly people in their 20s and the VIP tends to be full of people in their 30s. Neither is better than the other, but the vibe will be slightly different in each area.
I generally hate answering this question, as it truly does depend on your financial situation. I personally think compared to most VIP passes the Bonnaroo VIP is a great value. It offers a lot more than most VIP passes at other festivals and if you have the financial means to afford the passes I would not hesitate to purchase them. Obviously you can still have a blast, and most do, with the Bonnaroo GA passes, but if you can afford VIP I recommend it for Bonnaroo.
Platinum passes are new for Bonnaroo 2017, so it’s tough right now to definitely say if they are worth it or not. Based on other platinum passes for other festivals, and the current price for Bonnaroo, these are out of the question for 99.9% of people attending festivals. Lollapalooza, for example, sells a similar pass and they only sell about 100 of these per festival. In general I don’t think these will be worth it unless money really isn’t an issue for you. In general, if you review the perks they are fairly similar to the regular VIP with some additional premium viewing areas at other tents and some other special lounges. We will see how they fare at Bonnaroo 2017, but I doubt these are worth it based on the outlined perks right now. I think if you are looking for an upgraded Bonnaroo experience I would just go with the VIP and save $1600+ a person.
Bonnaroo GA vs. Bonnaroo VIP is a classic debate. The main pros of the VIP are the great camping location, the viewing areas, the private roadway into Bonnaroo and the air-conditioned areas. If you are in a financial position to afford these passes I really don’t think you will be disappointed: they are a great value and offer some outstanding perks. Can’t afford Bonnaroo VIP? Don’t sweat it, tens of thousands of people have a great time at Bonnaroo without them.