June 2004 Bonnaroo Music Festival
Manchester , TN.
E mail: Tom3m at


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Officially and permitted there were only 90,000 people plus a few thousand
service and vendor people at the 2004 Bonnaroo Music Festival. Local papers
and officals would make the number double that. Simple trash, recycalables
and poop numbers make the number to be more than 130,000 plus the few thousand
service and vendor people. Probably only Bonnaroo Festival managment really
know the true number. If they don't,then the future of the Festival is in doubt.

The Number by Trash and Recyclable

The 2002 Bonnaroo Music Festival produced approximately 460 tons of trash and
recyclables in 3 days from 70,000 fans. Or 4.37 lbs.per day per person. (350
tons trash + 110 tons rec. X 2000 Lbs./3 days / 70,000 people = 4.37 )

The 2003 Bonnaroo Music Festival produced approximately 570 tons of trash and
recyclables in 3 days from 80,000 fans. Or 4.75 lbs.per day per person. ( 450
tons trash + 120 tons rec. X 2000 lbs./ 3 days / 80,000 people = 4.75 )

The 2004 Bonnaroo Music Festival produced approximately 900 tons of trash and
recyclables in 3 days. 650 tons of trash and 250 recycalables. Or 6.66 lbs.
per person per day.

If you average the first two Bonnaroo's lbs.of trash and recycalables per day
per person together and divide it into the tons produced by Bonnaroo 2004 each
day you get 131,579 people attending the festival. ( 4.37 + 4.75 / 2 = 4.56 )
( 900 X 2000 / 3 / 4.56 = 131,579 )

One can argue the number of days and the number of people but the relationship
of the numbers stay the same. For example, this year most left early because of
the rain and mud and came early to get in. But at every event, its true that
some people come early and leave early or arrive late and leave late. etc. The
statistical curve is there. In all the festivals that are the same duration, the
average time spent by the the fan at the festivals is about the same.

And no, the rain did not increase the trash weight. Most of the trash is compacted
and it's moisture content is about the same when compacted. The excess runs out on
the ground. Most all containers with liquids in them are broken in dry trash
compaction making it just as wet. Just stand behind a compactor when wet trash
is put in and you'll see. Maybe.

And Yes this analysis assumes that the "ticket sales" number of people is the
same as the number of people that attended the events in 2002 and 2003..

The numbers by the poop

The industry standard is that 73 toilets will service 10,000 people at a 10 hour
event where alcohol is served. Asumming the toilets would be more than half full
after 10 hours, each would probably be full after 24 hours. The standard toilel
used held 80 gallons. (73 toilets X 80 gallons/10,000 people =.58 gallons per day
per person.)The standard rule of poop would be that the average persons daily wet and dry
production is more 1/2 gallon and closer to 3/4 of a gallon if they are drinking alcohol.
100,000 fans drinking alcohol X .75 gal.would produce 75,000 gallons of poop daily.
150,000 fans drinking alcohol X .75 gal.would produce 112,000 gallons of poop daily.
200,000 fans drinking alcohol X .75 gal.would produce 150,000 gallons of poop daily.

The Portable Toilets Supplyer planned on using 9 truck to maintain the 1250 toilets,but
ended up having to use 13 trucks to maintain the toilets for 2 days over the height
of the festival removing more than 100,000 gallons per day. (9 trucks X 1000 gal
per truck X 8 trips per day = 72,000 gallons )(13 trucks X 1000 gal per truck X 8
trips per day = 104,000 gallons.)
The toilets were well maintained this year . Clean Vibers got to see a lot of them
in their work. There were a few that never were used , some that were used a lot,
and one I know of that got forgotten. But over all the toilet people did a great
job keeping things going. Thanks Guys.

In any case the simple numbers support the notion that a much larger crowd was at
the Music Festival than Managment wants to recognize was there. If they want to hold
to the 90,000 number then they need to address what is really going on and soon.
Using the 90,000 number,the trash rate per person/year over the years is growing
exponentially. Are people bringing trash, and recyclables in and dumping it at
the Festival? At the growing rate that the festival is producing trash and recyclables,
it will not be long before they are buried by it. My projected numbers show the trash
and recyclables for 2005 to be around 8 lbs/person making it 1150 tons produced by the
3 day 90,000 person festival. It would make the crowd appear about 1/3 larger than the
2004 crowd. The 2006 number projects to be around 2000 tons.

The real problem is that organizations that service the Festival need real numbers
to work with. They base their personnel and supply needs on historical average numbers
to do it. Whether Bonnaroo Festival management wants to believe it or not, the good
service organizations want to do a very good job. Their pride and reputation relies
on a successful, well done job! If they have to stretch their personnel and supplies
to the breaking point, they will do it. If they want to do it again for a management
that does not care, or at worst takes advantage of them, that is another question.
This year it had a couple of hard working motivated service organizations trying to
do their best to make it the best festival ever for the fans and the Bonnaroo Festival
management. It became an almost impossible job given the more than expected and planned
on number of fans attending. Given the numbers, they needed one half more the personnel
and supplies to do the job they really wanted to do. Bonnaroo Festival management needs
to start to think about what it really wants the Festival to be. If it wants to be the
biggest and best, it needs to help those organizations that also want it to be the best,
by preparing for the largest possible number of fans... not the smallest, regardless of
the officially permitted number.


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