Monday, June 12, 2017

Vegan Food I Ate at Bonnaroo!

I'm back from spending 4 days (and 3 nights) camping in rural Manchester, Tennessee, for the annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. I've been every year since 2010, covering the fest for the Memphis Flyer (before as a staffer, now as a freelancer). You can read this year's music report here on the Flyer site.

But here on Vegan Crunk, the focus is on the food! Bonnaroo is soooooo vegan-friendly and has been as long as I've been going. It's a massive music fest that attracts around 80,000 people from all over the world, so statistically, there are probably a fair number of vegans in attendance.

Paul and I arrived in Manchester around 1 p.m. on Thursday. We set up camp, drank a Bloody Mary, and headed into the fest. Here we are at the campsite.

I'd eaten snacks in the car during the six-hour drive, but I was hungry again. Manchester is actually a four-hour drive in real life, but we take a longer back way to avoid the hours-long traffic jams to get into the festival. Anyway, as soon as we got into Centeroo (the main festival grounds), we grabbed some slices from a pizza vendor. The Vegan Slice has pesto, tomatoes, pineapple, and mushrooms. It was so giant!

We walked around a bit, took photos, and caught a few acts. But we weren't super-impressed with the line-up this year, and we literally knew NONE of the names listed on Thursday's line-up. Thursday's highlight for us was probably Haywyre, a new-to-us dubstep DJ who played a killer set late into the evening.

We didn't stay up super-late Thursday night, but we were awake long enough for me to get hungry again. I grabbed a Samosa with Tamarind Sauce from an Indian food vendor for a late-night snack.

During the days at Bonnaroo, I tend to eat instant meals (like oats and soup cups) at our campsite to save money. And I'll do a camping food round-up tomorrow. But the first festival food I had on Friday night was this Tofu & Veggie Burrito from Benevolent Burrito. This had tofu, rice, black beans, carrots, peppers, onions, and a big ole spoonful of guac. Hit the spot.

Friday's headliner was U2, and I'm NOT a fan. I don't know why I can't stand their music, but I just don't like it (sorry U2 fans!). But Paul wanted to see them, so we killed some time walking around catching sets by new-to-us artists before U2's show. We stumbled into a show by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, a New Orleans-based jazz band that's been around since 1963! We were literally blown away. Their set was fantastic, and both Paul and I agreed that show was the highlight of the weekend. A little later, I got hungry again, so I ordered some Yucca Fries to eat while U2 played. And OMG — this was the best thing I ate at Bonnaroo this year. I've had fried yucca before, but THIS. These fries were pillowy, starchy bites of heaven. Excuse the horrible flash photo, but it was dark!

After U2, we caught Major Lazer, who was as awesome as I'd hoped. But his set didn't even start until nearly 1 a.m., and I was pooped. So I headed back to camp about halfway through. 

On Saturday morning, I hit up a vinyasa yoga class at the Solar Stage. I always try to get in one yoga class during 'Roo. They offer the classes every morning. 

In the afternoon, we caught a full set by Tegan & Sara. They're so adorable, and I love their music so much. Definitely another highlight for me. I photographed them from the photo pit for my Flyer piece.

My festival dinner on Saturday night was this awesome Italian Veggie Dog with pesto, peppers, and onions. They used a Field Roast sausage, and it was a perfect pairing with the pesto. Also, that bun was extra special.

I try to eat light meals at Bonnaroo because 1) it's hot and, thus, hard to eat too much, and 2) more excuse for late-night snacks. My late-night snack on Saturday were these Bangkok Fries with peanut sauce, white onion, scallion, and peanuts. So good!! I had these while we watched Chance the Rapper. Later, we caught a Q&A with Jon Heder from Napoleon Dynamite and an amazing super-90s set by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

On Sunday, I ventured out into the fest early, just after noon, to see Tank & the Bangas. This funk-soul band won NPR's Tiny Desk Contest this year, and they've been getting a lot of buzz. Was so cool to see them in action. 

The Food Truck Oasis, where food trucks from across the country park for the fest, was right next to the tent where Tank & the Bangas were playing, so I grabbed lunch there. I got the Funky Farmer Roti Roll from the Roti Roll food truck. This was Indian roti bread stuffed with a garlicky mix of cauliflower, black beans, chickpeas, pickled mushrooms, & salsa. So good! I could have eaten two of these.

After lunch, I went back to the campsite and chilled with Paul for a bit. We had plans to leave Bonnaroo by 6 p.m., so we headed into the fest one last time around 4 p.m. Both of us ordered the Veggie Noodle Bowl, a simple (and delightfully bland) bowl of noodles with big hunks of cabbage, crispy broccoli, and carrots. The perfect ending to a fun weekend!

And that's it for Bonnaroo 2017! I'm so glad to be home. Bonnaroo is a blast, but camping for 4 days takes a lot out of you. I'll check back in tomorrow with a camping food round-up.


Susan said...

Camping and Susan are unmixy things. 1am and Susan are unmixy thing.
Still, the food looks pretty amazing!! Especially the pizza and the bangkok fries!
I am also not a big U2 fan. I am just very meh about them.

Sarah said...

What a fun weekend! I'm not a camping type of gal either but it looks like a really fun weekend! That pizza is HUGE!! and it looks absolutely delicious. Yucca fries are so amazing and those look perfect. It looks like everything was really filling and the perfect fuel for long days of fun! That burrito is also drool worthy.

I LOVE Tegan and Sara! They were my favorites to play on my radio show in college. I love finding fellow T&S fans!

vegan peace said...

I love Tegan and Sara too! I am also meh about U2. But you also got to see Chance the Rapper, how awesome! It all looks like an amazing time, and I always love to see the food roundup. I have never had yucca fries, but they look so amazing. I want the Bankok fries so badly. I've been thinking about them ever since I saw them on Instagram!

Unknown said...

That sounds like a really fun long weekend! Although honestly i'm not the camping type myself....
what great food there is!! That pizza slice is downright comical but also looks like it had some serious greens on there. The roti looks the best to me- i love those chewy fresh Indian flatbreads!
U2 and red hot chili peppers were two of my favorites back in high school-i had no idea they were still doing live shows ....!

Martine Lille said...

I just discovered your blog and I love it. I live in Nashville but have never ventured to Bonnaroo. Thanks for the info. So inspiring. They really do yoga every morning? How cool. said...

The vegan eats at the fest' always look good but those yucca fries?! YUM! I wish I was eating them for breakfast right now!

Jennifer said...

Yucca fries are AWESOME! I had some recently (and probably paid more than you T__T) and wish there were more places that make them.