Manchester, TN

The Pride of the South Turn Out for Bonnaroo 2022 in Manchester, Tennessee

John M. Dabbs
First in the gate at Bonnaroo 2022John Dabbs/Photographer

With Pride Month rolling on through the month of June, it's fitting that Bonnaroo has a healthy turnout as usual. The large southeastern music and arts festival routinely draws crowds of 40-80,000 each year. The two-year hiatus due to COVID-19 and the flooding has put a damper on this year's turnout, yet there are still large crowds and friendly faces everywhere.
The mushroom fountain in use - Bonnaroo 2022.John Dabbs/Photographer


The LGBTQ (and others) crowd is out in force as usual at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. It isn't because this is a "pride" event. This festival is more of a "hippie" event, where people can show up and feel free to express themselves in any way they desire. The vibe of the festival is one of inclusion and happiness.

There are many who strut their stuff, and a few squares like me wandering around - though we are accepted as well. The people who come to the rich four-day festival come for more than the music and arts, they are here to be themselves without anyone hassling them, and to have a good time. The same can be said for all of us - all the time.
Boys just want to have fun.John Dabbs/Photographer

No one wants to be chastised for being themselves and wanting to be left alone to be happy on their terms - as long as they aren't bothering anyone else. It's a given, or so you'd think.

As this is this home of the brave and the land of the free, one would expect more patience and acceptance. Nobody is forcing their way of life on others, yet some would take it that way. Most aren't wanting our approval - only the acceptance that this is who they are. The orientation and preferences of some should not bother our morals or beliefs. It is not up to us to condone someone's behavior. We only need to treat others as we would want to be treated.

Take pride in who you are, and be yourself.
Entrance to Centeroo.John Dabbs/Photographer

Where in the roo

The production and event staff are all about a friendly atmosphere without judgment. The medical staff embodies this mission as they must ask some delicate questions without the patient fearing any indignation or apprehension. No matter what happened, what was smoked or ingested, they only need to know what actually transpired so they can provide the best care for their charges. They care not what the issues are on a morality or legality scale. Theirs is one of caring and nursing people back to health.

Where have we gone in our world? It is imperative that we continue to persevere and care for our fellow man - no matter where or what they come from.

Left Right and Middle

The crowds are reminiscent of many of the Gay Pride and LGBTQ festivals (and many others). To outsiders, it may seem quite odd, and for such an outpouring of colorful and outrageous attire (or lack of), one would think it is a 'Pride Event' yet it isn't. They are accepted and can be open, just as the hippies, liberals, conservatives, and everyone else. Bonnaroo seems to have something for everyone.

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Bristol, TN

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