I really have no interest in attending the Bonnaroo Music Festival - not really into big crowds - but I wanted to see if I could find the "back way in" because directions seemed deliberately vague and I've heard a lot of stories of mass traffic jams near the highway exit.
First, a handle bar mounted GPS on my Sherpa motorcycle is a beautiful thing. Combine that with a gas tank mounted map display and I become 'king of the back roads.'
The bottom line is that the Bonnaroo is east of I-24 on New Bushy Branch Rd in Manchester. Mapquest it. It is best approached from the east, not the highway. I came from the north, near Woodbury. I'd recommend people to get off at either exit 105 or117 and follow the map closely. It's a complicated route on the back roads but there was zero traffic last night. It was fun, seeing the glow at night in the distance. Following the back roads between Murfreesboro and Manchester, I passed through many little hamlets like Bradyville, Readyville, Pocahontas, Ragsdale; it seemed like a church every few miles.... definitely deep in the heart of "Jesusland."
New Bushy Branch Rd is blocked off and forms the back entrance to Bonnaroo. in other words, you can't simply 'drive by' Bonnaroo. I could see it in the distance and I knew when I was getting close by all the makeshift signs of locals trying to make a buck off of parking. I definitely recommend arriving at night. Have fun and party hardy.