With the official start of Bonnaroo Music and Art Festival this weekend, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office is reminding music fans to always incorporate safety into their festival plans.
“Outdoor concerts and festivals highlight the rich tradition of music in Tennessee,” said State Fire Marshal and Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak. “While local and state officials work hard to ensure your experience is as safe as it is fun, concertgoers can take additional steps to ensure this year’s festival season is the safest yet.”
1. Do Your Research and Follow the Rules
• Check the festival’s website to get an understanding of the location/layout.
• Familiarize yourself with the locations of medical and safety tents.
• Know what items you can and cannot bring into the venue.
• If portable grills and/or generators are allowed, use them with care: Place your grill well away from anything that can catch fire. Do not leave an active grill unattended; do not add lighter fluid to an already lit fire as the flame can flash back up into the container and explode; pay attention to the location of exits in tents and crowd barriers. If there is a panic, head for these locations first; dispose of hot coals properly. Douse them with plenty of water, and stir to ensure the fire is out. Never place them in plastic, paper, or wooden containers; never utilize grills or generators in enclosed areas as deadly levels of carbon monoxide can build up quickly and linger for hours.
• If camping in an recreational vehicle, ensure it has a working carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless gas created when fuels (such as kerosene, gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. Tennessee law requires that rented RVs must have functioning carbon monoxide detectors before being leased for use.
• Leave sky lanterns and fireworks to the experts. They can easily start a fire on dry grass or debris.
• Park only in designated areas. Be sure to leave fire lanes clear for emergency vehicles.
2. Avoid dehydration and exercise care with alcohol:
• Drink plenty of water. Summer temperatures in Tennessee can be relentless. It is crucial to stay hydrated.
• Familiarize yourself with the location of free water stations if they are available.
• Try to avoid intense outdoor activity during the hottest time of day (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Plan your schedule to incorporate rest periods.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored layers for sun protection and ventilation.
• Don’t forget to apply and reapply sunscreen and wear a hat and sunglasses.
• Monitor your alcohol intake carefully. Do not use alcohol as a substitute for water.
• Don’t take drinks, drugs or food from strangers.
• Do not leave your food or drinks unattended.
3. Utilize the buddy system and set a meeting place:
• Designate a “buddy” – someone you can trust to watch out for you and vice versa.
• Have a communication plan. Identify a relative or friend to contact in case of emergency.
• Identify a place to meet friends in case you get separated or an emergency occurs.
• Report any suspicious persons to a member of security at the event or to the camp site assistance team.
4. Supervise and secure your belongings:
• Avoid bringing jewelry and valuables to music concerts and festivals.
• Keep cash, wallets, and credit cards out of back pockets where they can easily be taken.
• Don’t leave valuables in the car or tent.
• Identify items you want to have on hand (medications, snacks, water, hand sanitizer, tissues, etc.).
• Check with the festival’s organizers to see if backpacks or large handbags are permitted to be carried into the venue and/or if storage lockers are available.