Staff Photo by Barry Courter The mushroom has been painted in Day-Glo colors this year and festival-goers find the pumped well water a cool way to beat the heat.
MANCHESTER, Tenn. -- A surprise thunderstorm overnight here made the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival camping area muddy, making getting the more than 75,000 attendees inside the site slow going, according to Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves.
"There is a lot more traffic and it is slower because of the storm last night," he said. "I understand it is especially backed up coming from Chattanooga."
By 6 p.m. Thursday, a little more than half of the campers were on site, according to co-producer Ashley Capps. Campers started filing in after midnight.
"We got a big rain just as we opened the gates, but otherwise we are on track and everything is moving smoothly," Mr. Capps said.
Sheriff Graves said he expected the lines along Interstate 24, where Bonnaroo traffic was instructed to use the shoulder to allow for through traffic, to be gone sometime this morning. He said there had been few traffic-related problems beyond the long lines to get in.
"We've had several minor accidents and a few arrests," he said.
Many of the festivalgoers inside Centeroo, the main area that is home to vendors selling everything from handmade flutes to lemonade and build your own drums, stages and tents, seemed prepared for the mud and heat.
Cam Marshall, 35, of Nashville, is making his first festival visit. Wearing a bandanna, rubber boots, an ear piece for his phone, cargo pants and a backpack filled with a flashlight, water bottle, iPhone with Bonnaroo ap, binoculars and festival map, he appeared ready for anything.
"I'm a chronic over-packer," he said.
The festival features more than 100 acts and continues through Sunday night.
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 ...