Saturday, June 10, 2023

MTSU Students Share Thoughts on New Bonnaroo Mandates


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Story by Destiny Mizell / Contributing Writer

Photo via Toriana Williams / News Editor

After being postponed several times, Bonnaroo will take place, along with new vaccine and mask mandates.

Last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic was relatively new, the Bonnaroo festival was postponed from its original June dates. The festival was postponed two more times following that.

However, after over a year’s worth of anticipation, Bonnaroo season is now in full effect, and attendees could not be more stoked.

Bonnaroo will take place on Sept. 2 through Sept. 5 in Manchester, Tenn., on the Bonnaroo Farm for their 20th anniversary. Attendees can expect the same experience that Bonnaroo provides every year with food, vendors, music and so much more.

While those opportunities are provided, there will also be some changes to the festival due to the continuing pandemic.

Bonnaroo announced through social media on Aug. 10, “The safety of our patrons and staff is our number one priority. As such, a full COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID-19 test will be required to attend Bonnaroo 2021”.

They also went on to post two more updates along with their original post. The first explained that they strongly urge and would prefer attendees to be vaccinated with at least a single shot by Johnson & Johnson or two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. They included the deadline to get these doses, which is Aug. 19.

The follow-up status provided an option for those who are not vaccinated. It explained that a negative COVID-19 test must be acquired within three days of attending the four-day-long music festival. All non-vaccinated individuals will be required to wear a mask at all times while attending.

With that announcement, divided opinions were found across the internet and from the mouths of those attending. Due to the uproar of opinions, Middle Tennessee State University students were asked about their thoughts on the new protocols and procedures.

Erin Kelly, a senior at MTSU, chose to get vaccinated to attend.

“The mandates and protocols are ineffective in my opinion…People can still get the virus regardless of being vaxxed or not, and it doesn’t make sense to only rapid test people who aren’t vaccinated.”

When asked if she thought Bonnaroo could realistically enforce the mask mandate, Kelly replied, “I don’t think anyone will be following the mask mandate unless they feel their own health is at risk…I think a lot of attendees will probably treat this Bonnaroo the same as the ones in the past once they are approved for entry…People will likely just do what they want.”

Many individuals want to believe that everyone would follow protocols, but they also seem to feel that it is unrealistic.

An MTSU junior, who asked to be kept anonymous, said, “I have my vaccine, and I think it’s a good thing that they are requiring vaccines and/or masks for this. Everyone should be as safe as possible so we can all have a good time…and not worry about getting sick.”

The student also explained that they patiently waited for Bonnaroo and would do almost anything to attend. That has been the common theme across the debate over Bonnaroo implementing the mask and vaccination mandates.

Some attendees would like everyone to follow any protocols Bonnaroo requests because this year’s event is happening a little over a year late.

Against the new procedures or supportive of them, it can be said that most of those going are looking forward to enjoying and getting the whole experience Bonnaroo offers, regardless of their personal opinions.

Being that it has been well anticipated, the postponing, and the fact that it is the festival’s 20th anniversary, attendees are bound to have an experience that they will never forget.

To contact News Editor Toriana Williams, email

For more news, visit, or follow us on Facebook at MTSU Sidelines or on Twitter at @Sidelines_News 

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