Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, set for June 16-19, Manchester, Tennessee, delivers a one-of-a-kind experience, and you can extend the fun by exploring the region around the festival. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, spirits aficionado or shopping lover, Middle Tennessee grants you access to a variety of places and happenings. With parks, distillery tours, wineries, breweries and shops a short distance from the festival, you’ll have plenty of fun things to do before the gates of Roo open.
Enjoy Nature with Your Croo before Roo
You will likely do some walking on the Farm where Bonnaroo is held, but why not start a day or two earlier. Hike beautiful trails and relish the beauty of nature in Middle Tennessee. Walk with your friends and enjoy songs of artists you’re looking forward to seeing at Bonnaroo. Or just listen to the sounds of nature, chirps of birds and whistles of the river.
Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park in Manchester is about 10 minutes from The Farm. The park offers camping and hiking tours. One of the trails follows the wall of Old Stone Fort, which was used by Native Americans as a ceremonial gathering place. As you enter the trail, you can see the original entrance of the fort, designed to face the spot on the horizon where the sun rises during the summer solstice. Extend your visit to Manchester and stay after the festival to enjoy the Summer Solstice Event on June 21. Join the park rangers on a sunrise hike to learn about the history of Old Stone Fort and what the summer solstice meant to the middle woodland peoples of Tennessee. Witness the solstice sunrise like the Native Americans would have experienced it nearly 2,000 years ago. Learn more about state parks and natural areas by visiting Experience Tennessee.
Any Connoissoors going to Bonnaroo?
If so, you’ll fund so much more in addition to an amazing festival. You’ll discover wineries with lovely wine and friendly staff. Beans Creek Winery is just a mile from The Farm, and the aromas of ripe strawberries and fermented grapes will caress you when you open the door. Enjoy wines from locally grown grapes, bubbly and even port. Staff members are always happy to give you a tour and tell you more about grape varieties, such as Chardonel, Vidal Blanc, Traminette, Cayuga, Noiret, Cynthiana, Chambourcin, Concord and Muscadine. Sparkling Strawberry is one of the products offered at the winery, and you can learn how to make sparkling wine and how sugars undergo the seemingly magical fermentation process that results in a delicious drink. With strawberry season underway, the winery recently received a delivery of fresh strawberries. Staff members prepared the precious cargo and placed it in freezers to start the process of transforming the delicious and flavorful fruit into wine with bubbles. Beans Creek Winery is just one of several wineries in Middle Tennessee. Learn more about wineries in the region, including Lynchburg Winery and Pickers Creek Winery.
Before Roo, Try Rye Whiskey
A journey to Tennessee calls for a visit to some of the most iconic distilleries in the world. A trip to Jack Daniel Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery and Cascade Hollow Distilling Company, located less than an hour from the Bonnaroo site, will make your heart sing and prepare for the musical bliss awaiting you at the festival. Not only will you enjoy interesting tours and amazing taste, but you’ll step into a world that revels in showing hospitality and sharing Tennessee history and tradition.
Jack Daniel Distillery will welcome you warmly. The hosts love entertaining guests, eagerly show visitors around, and tell the history of the distillery. Tennessee Rye is one of Jack Daniel’s products. Crafted with 70-percent rye grain bill and natural spring water from Cave Spring Hollow, Tennessee Rye is “undeniably spicy and complex yet sippin’ smooth.”
Cascade Hollow Distillery’s history goes back to 1818, the year George Dickel was born. Cascade Hollow Distilling Company is open Thursday-Monday. You can shop and enjoy tasting at the visitor center. Dickel followed in the Scottish tradition and spelled “whisky” without an “e,” so you’ll notice that spelling when you browse the products. Spicy and smooth, George Dickel Rye Whisky, made from 95% rye and 5% malted barley, is one of the products.
Nearest Green Distillery, the most awarded American whiskey or bourbon in 2019, 2020 and 2021, may run out of space to display its accolades but will never run out of energy and hospitality to welcome and entertain its guests.
Explore the Broo before Roo
Think about the earthy aromas, hops, herbs, caramel, butterscotch and ripe fruit that some beers bring to display. If imagining the caramel color of beer and the feel of a cold mug makes you smile, you’ll love the breweries of Middle Tennessee, where brewing companies await you. Coffee County, home to the festival, boasts two brewing companies. Common John Brewing Company, in Manchester, takes pride in crafting high-quality beer and top notch customer service.
Common John’s beer is “never pretentious, always approachable and crafted for enjoyment by the casual beer drinker and fanatics.” Ole Shed Brewing Company is in Tullahoma, 20 minutes from Manchester. In addition to crafting excellent brews, Ole Shed invites you to enjoy tasty food, great music, and fun times. Explore Middle Tennessee breweries – including Bad Idea Brewing Company, Common Law Brewing and Asgard Brewing – and find new friends and new favorite brews.
Downtown Shops and Eateries Welcome Bonnaroovians
Middle Tennessee boasts vibrant downtown areas, with fashionable boutiques and traditional shops pairing perfectly. The Manchester square will take you on an amazing tour of historical buildings, great food and unique stores.
The square revolves around the historic Coffee County Courthouse, built in 1872 after the previous courthouse had perished in a fire. The early Victorian Era courthouse is one of the few still being used as a county building. An eclectic combination of shops feature fashionable, comfortable and sports clothing and unique gifts. Restaurants pride themselves on providing tasty food as well as hospitality.
Tullahoma downtown, just a few minutes from Manchester, is also abundant in boutiques, restaurants and art. You’ll feel Southern hospitality everywhere, and that feeling will follow you into The Farm and stay with you and your friends while you’re relishing the delights of the festival.