Bonnaroo's Lost & Found Is Organized Chaos

Here's what happens when you lose your stuff at Bonnaroo.
Bonnaroo Lost & Found © Jeremy Deputat
By Elliott Sharp

MANCHESTER, Tenn. — 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 yesterday 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 (Coachella, Lollapalooza, Stagecoach, Firefly), 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.

Bonnaroo Lost & Found | Wallets © Jeremy Deputat

It is 2016, so 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. Over 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 yesterday, at 6:30 p.m., 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 to track down the owners of the hundreds of still unclaimed items.

Bonnaroo Lost & Found | Phones © 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 over a dozen bins and boxes organized according to type of item, each one individually numbered for easy retrieval. A phone box, a wallet table, a jewelry 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 Bonnaroo, or just something normal like your phone, Crowdfind's got your 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 Hutcherson's wallet and ID will show up there, too.

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