Bonnaroo 2019: a year of firsts for a lot of things. This festival’s 17th incarnation celebrated its first ever Pride Parade, opened its 12th campground, and created its first salon. It was also finally the time for our entire crew + the entire Good Dye Young crew to get in the same space, collaborating at the Sanctuary of Self Love.
What is the Sanctuary of Self Love, you ask? Last year, Bonnaroo asked GDY founder Hayley Williams to curate this plaza. The SOSL (as we will refer to going forth) was an area for the introvert at the music festival focused on mental health and self care. Our neighbors in the plaza included reiki and massage practicioners, tarot readings, panels on surviving trauma by Midnight Woman + L’Odet, education about CBD, strength training, and guided meditations to name a few. We were honored when GDY approached us with the opportunity to be part of their first true salon experience.
We’re extremely lucky to have worked hand in hand with GDY since their inception. Watching their baby company grow into such a community has been truly inspiring. In the past, we’ve had the chance to style contest winners on Parahoy, do live demos at Art + Friends, as well as do some videos for GDY- but this was something totally different. We were going to launch a pop-up salon at a music festival campground in the Tennessee summer!
Going into this event, there was a ton of communication on both ends, trying to think of any situation we may encounter. We prepped for a crown first: closing up shop for over a week while all ten of us took a long road trip. We left for TN the night of June 10th, spending some time in Nashville before heading to Manchester. Most of the crew had never been to Nashville, so those of us who’ve previously spent time there showed the others around. We did some small business shopping (a must), drank all the coffee, had hot chicken and hot “chicken”, visited Broadway, the Ryman, had dinner with old friends, and stopped by the GDY office. Nashville + its surrounding areas are inspiring, charming, and great to explore with a group.
The morning of the first day, we got onto the grounds in our van an found our plaza. When we entered the SOSL for the first time, you could feel the energy in the air. We layed eyes on the salon for the first time, and were in awe. So many awesome people worked so hard to pull off GDY’s vision and created a great environment away from crown for us to do our thing. Our teams met up in the salon, catching up, discussing logistics, and watching the line grow outside our door. We had no clue what we were in for.
The four days spent inside the salon at SOSL were everything. It was odd at first being outside our normal work environment, but we were immediately immersed. There’s something about the crown crew where we just know what to do, and we get shit done. This week almost felt like opening day again- chaos mixed with artistic fuel, the energy of music, the two companies existing in a space together to run an unprecedented salon experience. (The weirdest difference was that none of our beloved shop dogs were at ‘roo with us!) The line never died down. We were repeatedly given hair style ideas on the fly with each new guest in our chair, and we pulled from all the inspiration gathered in our lives. There was one major theme across the board at SOSL- everyone left looking, and most importantly, feeling amazing.
Aside from all of the styling we got to do, co-founder of GDY Brian O’Connor gave two festival goers full color makeovers. We were able to see his big-change color mentality working in real time. Becca from GDY bounced back and forth between assisting Brian and taking walk-in’s with us. Honestly, it was a dream to nerd out about hair with the hair-doers at GDY. Watching the unveiling of the first makeover on festival attendee Emily was truly joy inducing. Nylon Magazine was in the house with Lindsey Byrnes, shooting pics all day as well as filming the reveal.
There are just so many memories we’ll never forget: We took charge of the large styling demand by using every chair we had free, making more than the five stations we had set up. Fun music played, resulting in many karaoke moments. Audrey was the best + hooked us up with fun makeup almost every day. In fact, the crew started each morning by getting each other ready to take on the always-growing line outside the salon. We did a shoot for GDY of all of us, in the most festival style we could come up with. Elise spent her 30th watching Post Malone. We danced to Halfnoise in a dang barn. We had working wrist bands which let us watch the big shows from a great view. The food + drinks! We found a quiet backyard area to chill in after the salon closed. The people watching. The hotel sleep overs. Laughing till we cried. A lot. Our first family road trip.
Some of our team felt the urge to write a little somethin extra about our experience…
“I was happy to help create a colorful, positive & accepting experience at Bonnaroo. I was humbled to see how many people wanted us to create something beautiful for them!” Karen
“It was my first time being considered a stylist since graduating school, so I was nervous as all hell going into Bonnaroo. It was incredible. I met so many people and heard about them, and what they do, and why they’re at Bonnaroo. It’s hard to bring festival-styling back into everyday life because at ‘roo, everyone was so... carefree. (We’ll go with that word. ) They would sit in our chair and tell us to do whatever we wanted— and most of the time, it isn’t like that in the “every day”. The one thing I took from Bonnaroo is that any person has the ability to touch a person’s day just by being kind and listening and looking out for one another. We would do people’s hair— anything from a simple French braid to something more complex, and almost everyone brightened up when they saw the final results. I’m filled with gratitude to have been part of something so bright, bold, and beautifully obnoxious.” Katie
“Being able to come in and have conversations with complete strangers and find different way to relate to them was really cool. Even though nobody at Bonaroo knew each other, being able to connect with them felt effortless. Everyone was genuinely happy to get to know each other and make a new friend. I feel like guests felt very comfortable with us, and being able to make them happy was the best part.” Marissa
“Bonnaroo was such a whirlwind of emotions that are hard to put into words. The fact this little salon of ten people from Buffalo, New York got asked to work and be a part of the GDY team is truly unreal. I couldn’t be more grateful for that. It was an experience of a lifetime. I was completely out of my element at some point (Some of you might know, I was not a braider until now!), but ended up having so much fun doing styles I never thought I would do. To top it all off, every person who sat in your chair was from all over the place, with a different story, and so happy to be there in that moment- which was amazing in itself.” Cara
Thank you to our guests for understanding why we needed to leave town for a week. Biggest thanks of all to GDY: Hayley, Brian, Abraham, Becca, Hallie, Ashley, and Jillian. It was the experience of a lifetime, cheers to the hope of more. Can’t wait to see what the GDY community does next!
This blog was such an emotional photo dump, but actual writers words can be found at the following links: