Festival cancelled in tumultuous wake of hurricane

By Emily Croft, Staff Writer

The music festival Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tenn. was canceled this year after Hurricane Ida flooded the festival grounds. The festival plans to refund its audience this year and seeks to rebook in June of 2022. 

Originally set for Sept. 2-5, Bonnaroo officials canceled the show abruptly on Aug. 31, only two days prior to the start of the festival. Bonnaroo subsequently released a statement on Twitter, saying, “While this weekend’s weather looks outstanding, currently Centeroo is waterlogged in many areas, the ground is incredibly saturated on our tollbooth paths, and the campgrounds are flooded.” 

Festival officials say they tried their best to accommodate attendees who were already on their way, as they offered an alternative performance in a local amphitheater in Nashville with small headliners. They also promoted the merchandise the festival had already produced for the 2021 year, donating $5 from every item sold to Hurricane Ida relief. 

The expected number of attendees was set to be around 80,000 for the festival campgrounds, with the cheapest ticket, the general admission ticket, costing $329 along with fees. 

Many of the ticket holders were outraged, replying to the statement in complete frustration that they have already driven a tiring amount of hours to get to Tennessee. 

Along with the hours in the car, all attendees were required to show vaccination cards or a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours to get into the fairgrounds. 

Top performances set for Bonnaroo this year featured artists such as Lizzo, Tyler, the Creator, Jack Harlow, Tame Impala, and the Foo Fighters. Some of the artists were also scheduled to perform in 2020, when the festival was canceled due to the pandemic.

Lizzo was on track to make history as the first female headliner for Bonnaroo. She commented on the cancellation of the festival on her Instagram story, noting that safety comes first and that she hopes everyone is taking care of themselves. Multiple other headliners followed these sentiments, offering compassion and love towards the festival and those affected by the hurricane. 

The festival was also set to host over 100 vendors in food and craft beer. Many vendors have faced extreme financial repercussions, losing thousands of dollars in revenue. 

A vendor couple made headlines when they noted that Coffee County, the county the festival resides in, would not give them a $200 refund for the business permit they bought to vend at the festival. 

The vendors aren’t the only people experiencing a monetary loss. The state of Tennessee is forecasted to suffer financially from the cancellation, as data shows the Bonnaroo festival in 2019 earned nearly $52 million for the state. 

Though refunds were offered for 2021, the festival will not be allowing tickets to roll over into the 2022 festival. 

Bonnaroo organizers encouraged attendees to remain positive and prepare for the festival in June of 2022.