We’re continuing our “Meet Your Roo Neighbors” series with one of our absolute favorite people of Bonnaroo. Mitchell Padgett is one of the biggest engines of the biggest party of the year on the Farm, being one of the main forces behind much of the amazing happenings at Camp Reddaroo in the Group Camping area.
Whether it be from his Swiss Army Backpack of party supplies, the awesome way that he proposed to his fiance on the ferris wheel, or just how he radiates positivity in his own crdazy way, Mitchell is one of the most awesome people to know at Bonnaroo!
What compelled you to come to your first Bonnaroo?
My best friends from high school told me they were going to some music festival called Bonnaroo in early 2008 and wanted to know if they could spend the night at my place the day before. I said sure and then started to see what this thing was all about. I saw all the bands going and made it my goal to get the money to join them.
What was the moment where you really “got it” and understood what Bonnaroo is?
I saw a guy in 2011 (my second Roo) being held by a security guard with his arms behind his back and the guy was just screaming bloody murder and struggling against the guard.
I watched for a minute or two and then went to go get some food. On my way back by fifteen minutes later or so I see the same guy visibly calmer and tired barely struggling still. I sit down at the picnic table nearby and just watched over the next ten minutes the guy goes hoarse from screaming and finally just gives up.
The security guard asked him if he was done and the guy nodded sheepishly. Guard let him go and said: “Don’t do whatever you did again and don’t be any more trouble for us, okay?” End of altercation. Lots of places would have had that guy live with a lifetime of regret over this instance but I generally got a caring vibe from this big brute of a guard. It was great.
How do you contribute to the community at Bonnaroo? How did the idea for it form?
I am one of the leaders of Reddaroo that hosts concerts, a beer exchange, and a myriad of other events throughout the weekend to try and make Roo as magical as possible for everyone.
Reddaroo got started in 2012 by the wonderful Stephen Palowski who just wanted to get a group of Redditors together in the newly formed groop camping. Each year we’ve grown a little more and done a little extra for the community. Another way I contribute to the fun of Roo is my annual poetry screaming at midnight on Wednesday. Anyone is welcome to come share spoken art they’ve made or just appreciate.
What is the thing that keeps you coming back to Bonnaroo? What’s your favorite thing about it?
The people. All the different flavors of us that all come together and just want to radiate positivity and have a good time. My heart belongs on the farm with all of you.
What kind of things are you thinking about doing in the future at Bonnaroo to contribute to the growing community aspect of the festival?
Well, we are trying to make the beer exchange as big as possible and we are working with some breweries to make sure the experience is out of this world for everyone involved.
What kinds of new or different things would you like to see Bonnaroo do in the future?
Large scale group games hosted by Roo themselves!
What are your top three sets you’ve ever seen at Bonnaroo?
Paul McCartney 2013
Nile Rodgers 2018
Those are not in order, I just couldn’t rank them as they were all magical in their own ways.
What’s your favorite community moment that happened in the campgrounds?
I’d have to say my personal favorite was this year when I got 40 of my friends to help me propose to my fiance on the ferris wheel. I had my friends spell out a message down below with LED laced umbrellas. It warmed my heart so much to be able to share that moment with so many of my friends.
What’s your favorite way to Radiate Positivity in the “real world?”
By being the change I wish to see in the world at all times.
If you want a kinder more inclusive world then you have to actively live those principles every day. It’s not always easy to be a beacon of positivity with all the negativity heaped on to us by the world but being the light despite the darkness is so rewarding.