Manchester Coffee Company at Bonnaroo

Manchester, Tennessee

Since 2002, Manchester and Coffee County has been the home of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, a four day event held on more than 700 acres of farmland featuring a diverse array of music styles and international performers. Each year the event located 60 miles southeast of Nashville attracts thousands of people to Coffee County and Southern Middle Tennessee to hear jam bands, dance D.J.’s and marquee pop stars and enjoy artisans providing art, film, dance and other unique cultural experiences.  

For the music world, outdoor festivals are a big business that is only getting bigger. Once a marginal part of the music scene in North America, festivals now play an increasingly central role in the business. In 2008, Rolling Stones magazine named Bonnaroo the “Best Music Festival” in the United States which brought more national focus after this prestigious designation.  

In April of 2015, the New York Times reported that Live Nation Entertainment acquired a controlling interest in the festival and Great Stage Park, joining Bonnaroo festival owners in their operations. The article also deemed Bonnaroo one of the country’s premier music festivals and reported that the four- day event drew over 80,000 fans to the rural Tennessee location. Bonnaroo co-founders stated in the article that the partnership with Live Nation would empower them to enhance the festival and preserve the integrity of the event that has been thoughtfully built over the last 14 year period.  

Infrastructure Improvements

For most big festival operators, rapid expansion is critical to build a network for booking talent and making sponsorship deals. Manchester and Coffee County leaders have worked closely with Bonnaroo/Live Nation Entertainment to develop crucial infrastructure to the Great Stage Park. Their public/private partnership has positioned the community and Bonnaroo to make systematic infrastructure improvements in a relatively short timeframe to address growth needs.  An additional benefit of the infrastructure improvements has been the support for the growth of the nearby industrial parks also benefiting from the improvements where hundreds of new jobs have been created.

In 2015, South Central Tennessee Development District staff, along with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) and Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) joined the local public/private partnership to provide funding for necessary water system improvements to supply nearby industrial park and residential customers and the event at current attendance levels. The need to maintain water service to local consumers during the period of festival consumption factored into project plans and specifications as a critical factor. The infrastructure investments would also be adequate to support the future growth of the festival.

In 2015, the City of Manchester was awarded $175,000 in ARC funding and matched the grant with $175,000 in local funding to construct a water booster station necessary to supply adequate amounts of water to industrial park consumers and the event. In 2016, partners including ARC, Coffee County, the City of Manchester, and Bonnaroo/Live Nation Entertainment invested $1,400,000 in combined funding to upgrade the capacity of existing waterlines to better serve local industrial customers and the festival. Also in the fall of 2016, Bonnaroo/Live Nation invested an additional $650,000 to replace rows of port-a-potties with “state of the art” restroom facilities that opened for the 2017 festival, much to the happiness of attendees.

Economic Impact

The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is a significant economic driver for Coffee County and the entire South Central Tennessee region.  In 2012, a Bonnaroo sponsored study reported the total economic impact of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival exceeded $50 million, including $36 million in direct expenditures and $15 million in indirect and induced economic activity. Also in 2012, the recognized industry trade publication Pollstar reported Bonnaroo ticket sales over the four day festival period totaled nearly $19 million for the company.

In 2018, the event continued to thrive with over 275 Tennessee residents working directly for Bonnaroo and more than 130 Tennessee based companies directly servicing the Bonnaroo festival. Local officials and Bonnaroo/Live Nations Entertainment leaders predict that once new infrastructure systems are in place, Manchester and Coffee County will be positioned to continue to grow the annual festival and attract even more entertainment events to the region.

Project Funding

Appalachian Regional Commission Grant  (pump station construction) $175,000
City of Manchester Match (pump station construction)  $175,000
Appalachian Regional Commission Grant (existing water line upgrades)  $500,000
Coffee County Match (existing water line upgrades) $150,000
City of Manchester Match (existing water line upgrades)   $100,000
Bonnaroo/Live Nation Match (existing water line upgrades)  $650,000
Bonnaroo/Live Nation (restroom facilities construction) $650,000
TOTAL INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT FUNDING (Projections for federal grants, local government funding and festival investments) $2,400,000

Project Leadership and Partners

City of Manchester - City Mayor – Project Contact
Coffee County – County Mayor - Project Contact
Bonnaroo/Live Nation Entertainment
Appalachian Regional Commission
South Central Tennessee Development District
Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

For project information visit the City of Manchester and Coffee County.


TNECD Infrastructure Programs - Appalachian Regional Commission

The mission of the Appalachian Regional Commission is to innovate, partner, and invest to build community capacity and strengthen economic growth in Appalachia. TNECD serves as the lead agency in administering Tennessee’s ARC funding and programs. Through ARC, TNECD is able to assist in the award of grants each year for economic and community development projects, including infrastructure development, in the 52 counties in middle and east Tennessee served by ARC.

For more information visit TNECD Community and Rural Development.