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It’s organised chaos at Bonnaroo’s Lost & Found

Here’s what happens when you lose your stuff at Bonnaroo music festival.
The lost and found tent at Bonnaroo 2016 music festival in Manchester, Tennessee, USA on the weekend of June 9-12, 2016
Bonnaroo Lost & Found © Jeremy Deputat
By Elliott Sharp

Sometimes even Josh Hutcherson goes to Bonnaroo and loses his stuff. The Hunger Games actor, according to Crowdfind, the company that runs the lost and found department at the festival, came by the tent this weekend looking for his wallet and ID.

This is the last thing you want to do at Bonnaroo. But it happens. And thanks to Crowdfind, who run lost and found departments at Bonnaroo and numerous other music festivals (including Lollapalooza), if you do lose your stuff, it's incredibly easy to get it back.

If you lost something at a festival back in the day (like the first Bonnaroo in 2002), you'd probably have to find the lost and found box, hope they were open and then someone would rummage through the pile to find your misplaced item. Times have changed.

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A selection of the wallets handed in to the lost and found tent at Bonnaroo 2016 music festival in Manchester, TN, USA
Where’s wallet? © Jeremy Deputat

It's 2016 and so, naturally, Crowdfind has an app. Download it and you can scroll through all the lost and found items at Bonnaroo to see if they have whatever it is you don't. This technology streamlines the process in a way that wasn't possible a decade ago.

Last year, Crowdfind received 1,824 lost items at Bonnaroo and returned nearly 700 of them. More than 300 of those returned things were mobile phones. Other commonly lost items tend to be backpacks, IDs, wallets and random pieces of clothing.

As of Saturday at 6:30pm, Crowdfind had returned 248 items to their rightful Bonnaroovian owners. They expect Sunday and Monday to be a massive return day, as the festival ends and people try to collect their lives and go back to reality. And then Crowdfind will spend several weeks after Bonnaroo trying to track down the owners of the hundreds of still unclaimed items.

A selection of mobile phones held at the lost and found during the Bonnaroo 2016 music festival in Manchester, TN, USA
Get yourself connected © Jeremy Deputat

"It's different every year and it's like trying to control chaos," says Crowdfind's Benji Friedl about the unpredictable array of objects they receive. Inside their Bonnaroo tent, there are more than a dozen bins and boxes organised according to type of item, each one individually numbered for easy retrieval. A phone box, a wallet table, a jewellery bin and so on.

"Sometimes people lose their entire lives," says Friedl. "We get a lot of single shoes, which is confusing. And we get a lot of people who come back looking for that single shoe, which is nice. We get lots of costumes, too, from Ninja Turtle onesies to everything imaginable," Friedl continues. "We had a wallet last year with a four-leaf clover on it, so they were lucky."

If you lose your Ninja Turtle onesie at Bonnaro, or just something normal like your phone, Crowdfind's got yout back. They'll even ring a celebratory bell when you recover it (well, normally they would, but this year someone stole the bell). And, who knows, maybe Josh Hutcherson's wallet and ID will show up there, too.

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Red Bull TV Summer Of Festivals
Red Bull TV Summer Of Festivals

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