The Bonnaroo Communities Fortifying the Foundation of the Manchester

Roo Bus



Ever wonder what the deal is with that decked out bus that graces the Bonnaroo campgrounds every year? We got the scoop from the folks who run it and it’s a hell of a trip. Daniel Horton and his wife Sharla along with their best friend Brooklin took over the Roo Bus tradition about five years ago, a legacy left behind by the so-called ‘Godmother of the Roo Bus’, Miss Tammy. Although Miss Tammy and her hubby were the original architects of the bus, they handed the torch over to the Hortons when they decided to kick back and enjoy their retirement years.

The Hortons, both communications pros, saw the potential to level up the Roo Bus game, aiming to get the community more engaged with the Bonnaroo experience. They threw a bunch of ideas at the wall and found that integrating the community into the Bonnaroo narrative was the real winner.

They started hosting events, working with the Bonnaroo organizers to create collaborative magic, and it’s been a blast, growing year after year. They even put on mini-shows on the Roo Bus, with bands like Repeat Repeat and Flip Turn (who have since taken off and are about to open for Mt. Joy at Red Rocks) and the turnout has been wild. What began as a few hundred folks hanging at the bus is now expected to attract at least a thousand this year at ‘Where In The Woods’.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. This year, Sharla’s hosting a trivia contest all about Bonnaroo history, and they’re inviting campground DJs, among other cool surprises. They’re even officiating their third wedding on top of the Roo Bus, and they’re recording a live podcast to give Bonnaroo rookies the 411 on how to make the most of the fest.



For the Hortons and the rest of the Roo Bus squad, Bonnaroo isn’t just a festival—it’s a way of life. They’re constistently meeting up with fellow Bonnaroovians, hosting mini-Bonnaroos, and visiting festie-besties in cities like Atlanta and Nashville. And they’re adamant that this community vibe is what sets Bonnaroo apart from other fests.

When the pandemic and a hurricane put Bonnaroo on hold for two years in a row, the community took matters into their own hands, hosting their own events. Far from breaking the spirit, those two years actually brought the community closer, proving that they don’t just own the vibes, they own the whole damn scene.

One of Daniel’s favorite pieces of wisdom is that Bonnaroo, much like life itself, can be a blast anytime if everyone treats each other as best friends and stays true to themselves. So, mission for the Hortons and Brooklin is to keep the Bonnaroo spirit alive, not just for a week, but all year round, proving that the Roo Bus is more than just a bus—it’s a symbol of the unbreakable spirit of the Bonnaroo community.

The Parachute People


Photo: The Parachute People Instagram

In 2014, Ron Holgado and his crew of friends from Columbus, OH took it upon themselves to stir up a little more joy in the world. Now known as “The Parachute People”, they threw their dollars together, scooped up a rainbow-colored gym-class style parachute, and made their way to Bonnaroo Music Festival to debut the “Roochute”. Their little social experiment blew up – people weren’t just willing to play, they were drawn the nostalgic chute like moths to a flame. The response was undeniable: this simple, old-school activity was spreading happiness like wildfire. But that marked merely the beginning of a journey that would morph into a unique platform for mental health advocacy.

“Back in 2018, we hit a turning point,” Ron explains, reminiscing about the group’s formative years. “Our small idea of bringing a parachute to a festival had grown so popular, we realized it needed some structure to stay afloat.”

The initial effort was powered by a handful of dedicated individuals who worked tirelessly to lug the parachute from festival to festival. But then, a global pandemic struck. Yet, even as the world hit pause, The Parachute People were granted their 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. They used this time to reflect and strategize, formalizing their structure and recruiting those passionate about their cause.

The Parachute People had to take a hard pause during the pandemic to ensure safety. But in the interim, they didn’t rest. They contemplated humanity’s state, making plans for their triumphant return to the festival scene.

Looking beyond the festival landscape, Ron shares ambitious plans of reintroducing parachutes into schools and community programs. “We want to give kids that same feeling we had when we were kids. That connection is needed now more than ever, especially after the social distancing of the COVID pandemic,” Ron states.

“We’ll be having a playground installation at Bonnaroo this year. We have our vendor spot within Planet Roo,” Ron shares, a hint of pride in his voice. “We’re one of the top nonprofit organization partners, and they’ve given us room to play.”

They’re planning to mobilize over 30 volunteers to manage shifts at “The Playground” in Centeroo and facilitate workshops. The aim? To spark joy, connection, and meaningful conversation about mental health at Bonnaroo and beyond. Their board member Reed Walter describes The Parachute Playground as “a Platform for people to explore play through individual, parallel and group FUN-tivities”. In addition to the Planet Roo activation, Ron hinted at something special going on during Elderbrook’s set on Saturday. If you like to dance, you might want to make that one.

“I’m an idea guy,” Ron admits, laughing about his preference for spontaneous, fun, and in-the-moment ideas. But he quickly recognizes the importance of structure and teamwork. His friends have become board members, and together, they’ve nurtured this simple idea into a “beautiful chaos of an experience at Bonnaroo.”

It’s not just about bringing a parachute to a festival. Ron emphasizes, “Our parachutes are different because they’re parachutes with a purpose: to promote mental health awareness. It’s about taking care of yourself and looking out for others.”

As a catalyst for connection, joy, and mental health advocacy, The Parachute People are more than just a colorful splash in the festival crowd. They’re reminders to be kinder – to others and, most importantly, to ourselves. As the team looks forward to another great run, they’re set to make every gathering a little brighter, a little more connected, and a lot more fun.

Camp Reddaroo



Nestled within the Groop camping section of the festival, Camp Reddaroo is more neighborhood than campsite. As the largest Groop camp at Bonnaroo, Camp Reddaroo is open to all and embodies the spirit of unity, music, and an unyielding love for creating experiences that Bonnaroo was founded on.

Back in the day, a group of festival die-hards realized that the only thing better than Bonnaroo was experiencing it with a tribe of like-minded enthusiasts. Thus, Camp Reddaroo was born— a mecca for festival veterans and newcomers alike, all drawn in by the irresistible allure of camaraderie and shared celebration.

This isn’t your typical makeshift festival campsite. Camp Reddaroo is a festival within a festival, known for its communal burn-like ethos and a packed schedule of events designed to elevate the Bonnaroo experience. From potluck-style meals and morning yoga sessions to epic beer exchanges and glow-in-the-dark parties, Camp Reddaroo is the epicenter of energy and interaction.

Don’t be fooled by the camp’s laid-back charm—its social calendar rivals that of the festival itself. There’s the infamous Reddaroo Craft Beer Exchange, where festival-goers from around the globe swap local brews, creating a smorgasbord of suds from all corners of the world. In 2019, Camp Reddaroo began collaborating with Pontoon Brewing from Sandy Springs Georgia and created an annual “Bonnaroo-inspired” brew that is served at the craft beer exchange and sold in stores around the southeast.



Beyond the fun and games, Camp Reddaroo also embodies the spirit of ‘Radiate Positivity’—Bonnaroo’s unofficial mantra. Camp members look out for each other, offering a helping hand, a spare tent peg, or even a shoulder to lean on when the festival fatigue kicks in. This sense of community extends beyond the four days of Bonnaroo, with many campers maintaining their friendships and connections well into the “real world”.

But what really makes Camp Reddaroo stand out is its unwavering commitment to making Bonnaroo an unforgettable experience for its residents. The camp leaders go all out to ensure that everyone feels welcomed, included, and ready for the best weekend of their lives. It’s this spirit that keeps Camp Reddaroo growing year after year, drawing in both Bonnaroo newbies and seasoned veterans.


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