Going to Bonnaroo? Just remember to act your age 

That you're attending Bonnaroo at all implies that you're either robustly healthy or a total masochist. There's the oppressive scorching heat, the heartbreaking lack of shade, the crushing weight of thousands of pheromonally challenged hippies and no reasonable respite from any of it until sundown.

Oh, sure, there's that big fountain in the middle to cool you off, but you know who gets in that fountain? Everybody. And you can't just stand under it and hose yourself off—you have to act all free and alive for perhaps the first time in your life.

But if the fountain is the great equalizer—the only place where young and old attendees can find themselves doused in a timeless, ageless hemp blanket of uninhibited purity—then elsewhere among the 530 acres of cruel, indifferent field, it's every age for itself. And alas, the younger you are, the more you can get away with.

They say youth is wasted on the young, but at Bonnaroo, that youth gets literally wasted. The rest of us can only step aside and dodge those flailing free spirits to reapply our sunscreen. They may be a lost cause, but the rest of us don't have to embarrass ourselves in the name of Phish 'n' shrooms. A quick guide to the pecking order, depending on your age:

Under 18
Nothing says "family-friendly experience" like drunken topless freshmen and a sea of doobs lit up against the night sky. Listen, all drugs are bad. If you're under 18, steer clear of these people and their crazy pills. But since that's impossible, revel in your first contact high, get your face painted, blow all your parents' money, and if you're over 15, steal a beer or two if you can manage it. That's all you can do. Sorry kid, but that's the breaks. Just don't get trampled.

18 – 30
The world is your oyster. All drugs are good. Get trashed, have unprotected sex, pass out anywhere you feel like, cry, laugh, howl at the moon, strip naked, barf your brains out, break up with your significant other, get back together, tell someone off, then buy them a burrito, dose up, blow all your money, get pregnant, eat bad mushrooms, climb the fountain, have sex with a roadie, drop out of college, marry a carnie. It's all one big, never-ending repercussion-free weekend. Just don't get crabs.

31-45
I know, you're all excited about how you're gonna wear your cool old Sonic Youth T-shirt and your 401k is looking good and your graphic design gig pays pretty decent, and you've mapped out your whole schedule on your iPhone. So go dig on the sweet tunes. Don't get skin cancer. Drink lots of water. Enjoy the heady buzz of all four of those micro-brewed beers. Eat well. Get lots of rest. Take it easy. Don't bring your kids. But if you're a woman, and you hope to get laid, dear God, put on a bra. And dudes, don't forget that fanny pack—you won't be getting laid, so this helps the rest of us identify you immediately.

46+
Remember how it used to be when you were young and fancy-free? Sorry gramps, but those days are over.

Email tmoore@nashvillescene.com, or call 615-744-3362.

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