published Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Tragedy at Bonnaroo

The Bonnaroo arch welcomes campers into the main Centeroo area.
Staff Photo by Barry Courter/Chattanooga Times Free Press
The Bonnaroo arch welcomes campers into the main Centeroo area. Staff Photo by Barry Courter/Chattanooga Times Free Press

MANCHESTER, Tenn. — A 32-year-old Harrisburg, Pa., woman who died Thursday night is the seventh person to die in the history of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester.

Beth Myers was found in her tent, according to Coffee County Sheriff Steve Graves.

The death mars an otherwise normal festival featuring more than 120 bands, high humidity and camping for more than 80,000 fans.

For Max Kotlarchyk, Bonnaroo also is serving as his bachelor party. The 26-year-old Southern California resident is getting married in two weeks, and six of his buddies from around the country have convened here for the weekend.

“I’ve been here before and loved it, and I started thinking about the date and that it would be two weeks before my wedding,” he said. “Literally, as the idea was rattling around my head, a text went out from my buddies saying, ‘Bachelor party for Max at Bonnaroo.’”

Kotlarchyk was taking a break in the Food Truck Oasis, a new area at the festival featuring food from traveling specialty trucks.

He was joined at the picnic table by Seke Sulkes, 26, and Shane Shields and Graham Tunnell, both 19, from Asheville, N.C. The three said they had planned to buy food from vendors at least twice a day and had budgeted about $400 to spend during the entire festival.

“It’s really good food,” Sulkes said. “You can find junk if you want, but there is a lot of good food.”

Dr. Ricky Brackett and daughter Natalie, 20, attended the 2009 festival. They were back this year with his wife, Julie, and younger daughter Chloe, 17, who both were making their first trip. The family brought a recreational vehicle and are staying in the VIP section.

“It’s the only way I would come,” Julie said. “We are having fun.”

about Barry Courter...

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 ...

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