published Friday, June 8th, 2012

Bonnaroo events off to a smooth start on move-in day

The giant Bonnaroo arch serves as the main entrance gate for campers entering into Centeroo. In addition to the live music, Centeroo is home to a volleyball pit, giant water slide, a giant ferris wheel, a shopping area and food area.
Staff Photo by Barry Courter
The giant Bonnaroo arch serves as the main entrance gate for campers entering into Centeroo. In addition to the live music, Centeroo is home to a volleyball pit, giant water slide, a giant ferris wheel, a shopping area and food area. Staff Photo by Barry Courter

Tonight's Headliners

Radiohead is the main draw, but also set to play today are the Avett Brothers, Feist, Ludacris, Fitz and the Tantrums and Rodrigo Y Gabriela and C.U.B.A

MANCHESTER, Tenn. -- Thursday was officially move-in day at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, but fans who showed up early got a nice surprise Wednesday. The first gate opened at 3 p.m., about four hours earlier than it opened last year.

Coffee County Sheriff Graves said the decision to open the gate was made because traffic was getting heavy in Manchester.

"We opened it, and we had a little congestion at first, but things have gone smoothly really," he said Thursday afternoon.

Earlier in the morning, traffic along Interstate 24 was flowing smoothly, and Graves said there were no major issues to deal with.

Inside Centeroo, the epicenter of the festival, people were playing volleyball, eating, getting acquainted with the grounds and finding shade.

Friends Kristen Rohe, 21, and Jolena Dobmeier, 22, drove down from Buffalo, N.Y., for their first Bonnaroo.

They were among the first 15 people through the gate, Dobmeier said.

"We drove straight here on Tuesday and camped in a field, and then they let us in," she said. "Everything about this has just gone so well so far."

Twins Julia and Jeremy Dunbar, 24, drove up from Florida with their sister Annabelle, 19, and Jeremy's girlfriend Gloria Alvarez, 23. All are Bonnaroo first-timers.

"It's a chance to hang out with family, and we love music," Julia said. "It's a family thing."

This is the 11th Bonnaroo, which Rolling Stone magazine dubbed one of the Top 50 moments that changed rock music.

The music kicked off Thursday at 4 p.m. with the Dirty Gov'nahs and continued well past midnight.

It starts back up today at 12:15 p.m. with The Kooks, Electric Guest and Michael Kiwanuka on the larger stages.

about Barry Courter...

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 ...

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