A Field Guide to Bros at Bonnaroo


This weekend marked the ninth edition of Bonnaroo, a festival that’s as good for people-watching as it is for band-watching. Roughly 150,000 glow stick-wielding folks descended on a sleepy farm in Manchester to, like, totally get stoked for Dave Matthews and wander around in rain boots and bikinis. And oh, the sights! We saw a balding dreadlocked man. We saw a guy with a loincloth made of an empty case of Natty Light. We saw a group of people watching They Might Be Giants while wearing Viking costumes. We saw people longing for the relative cleanliness of a gas station bathroom. And, of course, we saw bros.

While Bonnaroo is traditionally known for hippies — and there were plenty of them there too — this year’s headliners read like every frat dude’s ultimate panty-dropping party playlist: Jay-Z, Weezer, Zac Brown Band, Kings of Leon, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Kid Cudi, and, obviously, that King of All Bros, Dave Matthews (“If you don’t like ‘Crash,’ you have no heart, man,” as one bro said to me). Your intrepid Flavorwire correspondent set out to compile a taxonomy of bros in their native environment. Below the jump: Browatch 2010.


These are not yet full-on bros, but do show burgeoning hints of brodom: Note the purple crocs and cut-off khaki shorts, as well as the CamelBak backpack. This particular example was watching Umphrey’s McGee, a hint of brodom to come, but perhaps also just a healthy ironic appreciation for jam bands. Only time will tell whether those with brotential will blossom into full-on bros. Signs include: more camouflage than necessary, questionable footwear, tendency to wear cheap sunglasses given out by sororities.


These are your combination frat dude-hippies, denoted by a simultaneous love of tie-dye and wristbands that say “I heart boobies.” Generally, the fashion choices come directly from Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, sprinkled with bro staples such as the polarized sunglasses and Croakies (bands that allow bros to hang sunglasses around their neck backwards, usually in neon colors or camouflage). Note the hands-free cigarette move: pure bro. Seen at: The Flaming Lips, Rebelution.


These are not bros. These are anti-bros. Bros are against long, stringy, headbanded hair (if it must be long, it should also be weirdly lush and accompanied with beard or held back by backwards baseball cap). Bros do not wear tweed newsboy caps unless some totally lame chick, like, made them or something because she bought it as a birthday present instead of that totally sweet fotball jersey they’ve been eying. Don’t be fooled. Seen everywhere.

The Broletariat

These are the bros with the strongest connection to the means of broduction. They avoid popped collars and Polo shirts in favor of no shirts, or shirts with pithy slogans like “Female Body Inspector” and “You’d Be Prettier If I Was Drunker.” Their general uniform includes Rainbow flip-flops, a baseball cap or floppy fisherman’s hat, and aforementioned polarized sunglasses. Here, a group of the broletariat looks quizzically at the beer station, wondering if noon is too early for a $6 Bud Light. Spotted at Lucero, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Kid Cudi, and Damien Marley

The Brogeousie

Though a certain sense of fraternity entitlement is a native characteristic of all bros, the brogeousie are the ones who most embrace it. They are generally in the upper echelons of the fraternity hierarchy, serving as president and arranging car washes (FREE 4 CHIXX!). A pink button-down or Polo T-shirt — preferably with popped collar in combination with pattern shorts — is the uniform of choice. Even in improbably humid weather in the middle of a farm, the brogeousie seem never to sweat. They greet each other with either hearty high fives or the “bro hug,” in which both parties embrace through a kind of quasi-wrestling move. These bros are the most frequent proponents of “icing,” though Smirnoff Ice was (unfortunately) not available during Bonnaroo. Most stuffed their crotches with miniature bottles of liquor to smuggle into the Centeroo, and had at least one inflatable item on them at all times. Spotted at: Jay-Z, Tenacious D, She & Him, Kings of Leon


Class clowns turned bros, these are the guys who organize the pranks at their fraternity. At Bonnaroo, they’re most likely to be wearing clothing cobbled together from glow sticks or, in the case of this fine, young bro-gentleman, a hat made from a case of Natty Ice. Those joke sunglasses available at Spencer’s are popular with this crew, particularly the ones that are shaped like pints of beer (“Beer goggles, brah!”). Spotted at: Aziz Ansari, Conan O’Brien


Older bros who keep that frat house spirit alive through crashing Bonnaroo and yelling “Show us your tits!” through bullhorns at 4am. (true story). These are bros past their bro-peak, but they still love to chug Milwaukee’s Best (THE BEAST) and advise their younger bro compatriots that they can drink them under the table. This particular brodaddy is also a broham. Spotted at: Stevie Wonder, Kris Kristofferson, GWAR


These are wandering bros, fond of hacky-sack and disc golf. These are the contingent of the brogeousie who like to sweat — as opposed to playing polo and sailing. A glow-in-the-dark frisbee is a must, as is a bandanna or sweatband and a CamelBak. Gotta stay hydrated, bro! Seen at: any spot in the field where there was enough room to kick around a ball or fling something.


These are the bros who get shit DONE. They plan the party, they hustle the girls to the party tent, and then they trip balls to Dave Matthews. Note the look of glee at the beginning of the Zac Brown Band show, and the bro-necklace, indicating a willingness to transgress bro-fashion boundaries. These are bro-visionaries, foraging new ground for bros everywhere.

Broseidon, King of the Brocean

These are the Princes o’ the Bro-universe, the Greek Gods of brodom. The Popes of the Bro-Vatican. The “Ph” in “Phish.” Generally, a T-shirt referencing both Greek life and beer is a necessity, as is then altering the T-shirt so it displays more of your arm muscles. (“Welcome to the gun show” is also an acceptable T-shirt slogan choice.) Polarized sunglasses are a must, as is a confusingly ornate tattoo and a steady supply of Keystone Light for your minions. If Bonnaroo were Animal House, Broseidons would be Bluto. Seen at: the campsite. True Bros don’t even fuck with anything until Dave Matthews goes on, yo.