We got to see Paul McCartney and R. Kelly AND Beach House and I didn't even get one single mosquito bite. As far as camping/music festivals go, I think we hit the jackpot.
Before you go penciling it in for next year though, let me make one thing clear. We did not have general admission tickets. We were guests.
Guest tickets are kinda like VIP or artist passes but better in my opinion because you get to camp in the woods. (All are available on Craigslist or ebay, btw...)
Instead of spending all day in the hot sun, waiting in line for port-a-pottys, and getting too-close-for-comfort with hundreds of thousands of other fans just to catch a glimpse of a band, we mostly hung out in the hospitality area, lounging in hammocks, drinking micro brews and watching bands we didn't recognize get interviewed.
When we wanted to actually see a band, we usually got to go in a special guest entrance.
When the special area was reserved for VIPs or artists only, we would usually hang out for a song or two and then one of us would say, "Want to go walk around?" Then we'd either walk back to our campsite for a bit or grab an arepa (like a grilled cheese on a corncake) or fresh donut to share.
Sometimes we would skip the audience all together and just find a quiet spot in the hospitality area to hear a band. Because catching a glimpse of Jack Johnson while pressed up against thousands of sweaty 18 year olds is not nearly as fun as hearing bits and pieces from the cool comfort of an Adirondack chair.
Spoiled? You bet. But we wouldn't have enjoyed it any other way. We came home relaxed, and refreshed and ready to step back in to reality. How many vacations can you really say that about?
And in case you're wondering if I would ever take my kids to Bonnaroo, it depends. If they loved music and being around lots of people and didn't mind the heat or using port-a-pottys, I would have no problem taking them. The whole thing had a very wholesome vibe...honestly, it felt more like church camp than Woodstock. So, yeah, if my kids were into it (which they're not), I would be fine with them tagging along. Of course, then it wouldn't be like going on vacation; it would be like going to Disney World.