Meet Thor and Poseidon, Belmont students’ home at Bonnaroo
Camping at Bonnaroo can get cozy, or at the very least, more comfortable than the general admission campsite which is filled with horror stories of thieves and less-than-ideal plumbing.
Backstage, an array of tour buses house everyone from artists and crew to festival staff.
But "Thor," a red tour bus, and its blue brother, "Poseidon," housed 20 Bonnaroo U students from Belmont University during their stay at the festival.
On the festival grounds, students of Bonnaroo U were assigned to interview festival attendees to gain insight into what makes music festivals culturally impactful.
Although providing a fully furnished living space, the buses also acted as a hub for students to engage and debrief with one another about the interview assignments for their research class.
“You can bounce back and forth ideas or like how to work questions, or sometimes someone will give you an idea of a question or something that you haven't thought of,” said junior Kate Piechaczek. “It's a really great collaborative space.”
The teamwork on the bus often became a form of entertainment as students laughed about some of the more bizarre moments they experienced, such as conversations with inebriated subjects, senior Nika Heywood said.
Living in the narrow corridors of the buses also gave students the opportunity to become closer with their classmates, not just in proximity, but socially as well.
“We're all dedicated enough to be here and be on the bus. We have something in common: we all love music, and we're dedicated to it. And I think that that creates a community right away,” said sophomore Katey Fritz while aboard Poseidon. “It's been really cool getting to know everybody.”
Throughout the weekend, the buses allowed the students attending the festival to open up and be more vulnerable than they would be in a classroom setting, sharing stories and life experiences, said Heywood and Piechaczek.
“We're all getting on this bus as colleagues, and we're all becoming best friends, knowing every little detail of each other's lives,” said senior Karolina Chroscielewski paraphrasing her classmate Tommy Wood.
Outside of the social benefits of the buses, students also got to enjoy the amenities of their living arrangements.
The buses hold 12 beds with charging ports, pillows and blankets included. Although the bed space is a bit cramped, it serves its purpose, providing relatively comfortable sleep to its students after a long day on the Farm.
“It kind of feels like you're sleeping in a coffin, but it's honestly some of the best sleep I've ever had. Like, you're just so exhausted and you get in bed, and you close your eyes and then you're out. And you wake up and you feel as well-rested as you possibly could be,” said Piechaczek
Piechaczek’s bus-mate Heywood enjoyed staying on the bus but found the bunk system problematic at times.
“It’s fun but awkward,” said Heywood. “Dr. Spring’s bunk is right below mine at the very top. So, I have to climb past him every night, and I feel so bad.”
Aside from the beds, the buses’ amenities include bathrooms, couch seating, flatscreen televisions and even small kitchen areas.
“I've never been on a tour bus before, and it's just insane. It's a whole living quarters on the bus. It's nicely air-conditioned, the beds are shockingly comfy and I really just enjoy it,” said Chroscielewski.