Cleaning Other People’s Messes – Bonnaroo

My staff band. Very proud of this little guy.
My staff band. Very proud of this little guy.

Bonnaroo is a music festival which takes place every year in June on “The Farm” in Manchester, Tennessee. Being from Tennessee, I know just how big of a deal Bonnaroo is. Traffic starts backing up two or three days before the music even starts. All the way into Georgia. It’s a huge production and a huge deal. I’ve personally never been to Bonnaroo–sleeping in tents in the middle of nowhere in very close proximity to too many strangers, in 100 degree heat, with no showers and no exit seems not-so-great to me. But man, there are so many people who love it.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 presetThis year I get to say that I’ve been to Bonnaroo, if only to clean up afterward.

woodI went with a group called The Gear Closet here in Chattanooga, a gently-used outdoor gear shop. We set out on our journey from Chattanooga to Manchester, Tennessee yesterday at 12:30pm and arrived at the Bonnaroo site around 2 after receiving our cool “STAFF” wristbands and the OK from many high-up Bonnaroo officials. Evidently they’re really worried about people sneaking into Bonnaroo after the festival is over? I don’t understand. Anyway we were driven in on a huge red pick-up truck by a guy named Matt. Matt claimed that he knew me from somewhere, but I’m 99% sure I have no idea who he is.

A view of only a fraction of the trash--which was everywhere.
A view of only a fraction of the trash–which was everywhere.

My first thought, while we were driving into Bonnaroo, was that this place looked like a third world country. Trash was everywhere and people had left behind everything from broken canopies to full couches to cars. Our job was to find un-broken things to salvage for a yard sale benefitting Kids 4 Clean Water, a group who helps kids understand the importance of clean, drinkable water around the world. We found lots of tarps, camp stoves, sleeping bags, and so much more. At the end of the day we were definitely all exhausted and ready to get home to take showers and sleep for years.

Today I am sore, tired, and sunburned, but I revel in the fact that I am helping to support a great cause.

I encourage everyone to get out and help a cause that means something to you!

Some really awesome graffiti. There were walls everywhere that were designated to be painting areas for Bonnaroo guests
Some really awesome graffiti. There were walls everywhere that were designated to be painting areas for Bonnaroo guests.
One of the couches we found. This one had to have made an awesome bed!
One of the couches we found. This one had to have made an awesome bed!
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