MANCHESTER, Tenn.—The traffic problems that defined at least the beginning of Bonnaroo I appeared to have been solved for Bonnaroo X.
The first gate into this year’s festival opened Wednesday afternoon around 4 p.m. CDT, according to Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves. A second was opened a couple of hours later.
Friends Gonzo Bereciartua, Brandon Meyer and Brian Walsh, each 19 and from New Orleans, drove up Wednesday, arriving a little after midnight expecting to sit in traffic.
“We sat for about 30 minutes and then it seemed like they opened a back road or gate or something because traffic was diverted,” Bereciartua said. “We are sort of in the back part of camping, but it’s OK.”
The three said that after setting up camp they didn’t think they’d forgotten anything important.
“I forgot my phone charger,” Meyer said.
Graves said his officers had issued several citations and made about 14 arrests by Wednesday evening, but “nothing out of the ordinary.”
He said he had some concerns about opening the gates about 12 hours earlier than in previous years, but the tactic seemed to work, he said.
“We were a little worried opening the gates early, but it went pretty well,” he said.
Event co-producer Ashley Capps with AC Entertainment said the changes in gate opening times and a new way of issuing wristbands, which allow entry, seemed to make things a little smoother for everyone.
“We had half of the festivalgoers in by this morning,” he said. “I think we are off to a great start.”
Thursday is essentially move-in day, though there is music on several of the smaller stages.
The headliners, including Eminem, Arcade Fire, Widespread Panic and Buffalo Springfield, play Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. The soldout festival ends late Sunday.
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...