Move over headliners. There’s one more thing you’ll wanna check out at this year’s ’Roo.
Billy Joel. Mumford and Sons. Robert Plant.
The majority of the 85,000 wristbands fist-bumping their way down to The Farm this weekend are well acquainted with the Bonnaroo heavy weights hitting the main stages.
But there’s another headliner the Festival wants to keep front and center: The Bonnaroo Works Fund.
“Philanthropy has always been apart of the fabric of Bonnaroo,” says Jeff Cuellar, Vice President of AC Entertainment’s Strategic Partnerships and Bonnaroo Director of Community Relations. “It’s been in our DNA. It’s our duty to give back to the community in which we’re hosting this event.” As such, the Bonnaroo Arts and Music Festival has made giving back a priority from the very start.
“For the first several years of the event,” says Cuellar. “We did a lot of philanthropic things. We helped create a skate park … sponsor[ed] band uniforms. A lot of various things in and out of the community.”
As ’Roo’s rolled on, however, the Festival felt the urge to hone in on whom it was really trying to help with its philanthropy arm.
“We started thinking how we can better accomplish our goal,” says Cuellar. “How can we really put a mission behind it … what are we most passionate about? We said with the festival itself, we really need to focus on arts, education, and sustainability. And really looking at, what can we do in Coffee County? What can we do in Manchester? And Middle Tennessee as a whole?”
Since the official creation of the Bonnaroo Works Fund in 2009, the charity has handed out numerous grants to Middle Tennessee organizations, become a full-fledged 501(c)(3) operation, and has even begun naming an annual Bonnaroo Works Fund Ambassador artist. This year the honor is bestowed upon seven-year ’Roo veterans My Morning Jacket. “[The Ambassadors] can help preach the good word of what we’re doing — how we’re getting out there,” says Cuellar. “And they support our cause as well.”
So, what if you find yourself gettin’ down on The Farm this weekend and want to get involved with the Fund as well?
The Bonnaroo Works Community Center at The Farm. The Community Center is located on 5th Avenue across from the Post Office.
“I encourage everyone to go to the Bonnaroo Works Community Center, which is not far from the foundation,” says Cuellar. “There you can gather more information on how to get involved. We do projects not just at Bonnaroo, but all year round.”
There you’ll also find a Bonnaroo Works Fund opportunity you’ll be able to see for years to come. “You can actually buy a tree, as part of our Root for Roo program,” says Cuellar. “And a portion of that money goes to Bonnaroo Works Fund. Plus, you actually get a tree on the festival grounds. It lives on our grounds. A placard gets mailed to you. You know the exact coordinates of your tree. Essentially you’re adopting a tree.”
A Root for Roo placard beneath a dedicated tree in Manchester, TN.
Interested? Do something about it! Visit the Bonnaroo Works Fund website and get in on the Fund!
A Root for Roo tree stands tall on The Farm.