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Columns > Annabel Lukins - Both Sides of the Rail

Published: 2008/07/30
by Annabel Lukins

Back To The Roots at Rothbury

Let it be knownRothbury was one of the greatest festivals of our time. My sincere pride goes to everyone at Madison House and AEG for producing something different, something spectacular. AndI attended as a fan. I really wanted to get back to my roots of just being a music lover.
Even know the photos in my past columns dont emphasize this, my job is really hard, really exhausting, and mentally challenging. Try being on for 15-20 hours a day for a week. I was getting a little tired of being tired. People say to me, Why in the world would you attend a music festival, why not go to the beach? Listen here, I go to the beach plenty throughout the year, but I rarely go to a festival and not work. I wanted to stay at up until 3am seeing Primus then sleep till 11am and casually eat bacon and eggs, sipping coffee and looking at the schedule to get giddy about seeing Gomez that day. I did all of that and so much more.
For example, Col Bruce Hampton is one of my dear dear friendsI never get to spend more than 5 minutes with him. So, each day, I spent at least 30 minutes sitting and talking, exploring the crazy mind of Col Bruce, relating and understanding that he lives on a planet that I love to go visit. We truly love each other and honor each other.

Rothbury was a very LONG site Id say over a mile each time you walked from one end to the other. I did that about 10 times a day. I tried my hardest to see a few minutes of every bandnew ones, familiar ones, ones I loved, ones I never get to see and a few I have NEVER seenincluding Snoop. Boy was that an experience.

Jon first played with Yonder about a year ago at Red Rocks, actually the same day Peter and I got married. He came to meet my family at the rehearsal dinner, which was very nice. At Rothbury, he brought his wife and kids for the whole weekend. It was SO good to see him and meet all his kids. After being friends with Jon for well over a decade, spending quality time with him was amazing.

Look who showed up for a 24-hour stint at RothburyShapie! I love my old friend Pete. For all that dont remember, Pete and I have been close friends since high school.

Behind the main stage, the producers pulled a smart card. Bands who wanted to stay on site all weekend were able to rent tour buses and hang. P Groove definitely took advantage of that, cooking up food on their grill, camping chairs, coolers, pop-up tentthey did it right. So, here comes another band that I ADORE and rarely get quality time with. Each evening, I would plant myself in a chair and chill talking shop and just enjoying each others company. Here, Brock, Adam and I snuggle.

One of the advantages of not working is the amount of dancing I was able to do. One of my all-time favorite dancing partners is Bret Berman, AKA Disco Bret AKA (by me) Hippie Headbanger. Here, we paused for a jig.

I will say, Carl Young, bass badass Spearhead, and I make serious efforts to talk. We have so many of the same values that we cant help but take advantage of moments together. Here, we paused for a hug before they hit the stage. Their show was fantastic as usual. They have a new album out in September, Rebel Rockers, and many of the reggae-rock tunes were featured.

I keep telling you how it felt for me not to work, but I am forgetting to explain what THE BANDS thought of itin two wordsWEIRD & CONFUSED. For example, MMW is done with their set, and I go to see them outside their dressing room. Annabel, your hair is down, you have a dress on, and where is your radio? Whats going on???? IM NOT WORKING!! They couldnt believe it. Thank god, or Its about time is what most everyone said. In fact, most everyone noticed I wasnt working. This just confirms how much I needed to do this. I dont want my entire identity to be a festival producer. I am a music fan, I love live music, I dance harder than most.

Ok, heres a shot of two of my girls, Lindsey & Scarlet. I had to snap this because I truly enjoyed watching them work their butts off. They are both on my team at Lollapalooza and Scarlet works for me at Langerado too. They are both incredible in the artist relations world. And they took very good care of me. It was also strange for them to see their boss hanging out, but they couldnt have been happier for me.

When I started working festivals, there were only about 2 others running. Now, there is an entire world filled of them. But what makes me so happy is the women that are truly doing a brilliant job of running artist relations, the department I head up at my events. Dasha & Alicia, two stellar examples of hard working ladies who have both worked many events as my employees, are now running their own artist relations departments with grace and success. I am so proud to call them friends.

Oh sweet JJ how could I not sneak a photo with this gorgeous man.

One of my top 5 bands is Govt Mule. In fact, I would go on tour with them if I could and I never want to go out on the road. Timing worked out so well at Rothbury that I got to have dinner with Matt Abts and Danny Louis so we got lots of catch up stories. We just love being around each other.

Hanging with Mule is only a part of this story. I havent even told you how great it was to hear Trey play. Its so obvious that he is truly happy and healthy. Mike sat in with Trey, then the reverse. In fact, Fishy boy sat in with Mike also. So, we had Phish! I have a photo of the 3 of them but this one is more fun because its such a close up. The boys basically announced they were getting back together. But theres morethe song they played was She Said She Said (Lennon/McCartney)absolutely adore that cover. I turned to someone on the side of the stage, I love when Govt Mule plays that song, walked off the stage and Govt Mule had just started playing it on the main stage.
So, at dinner with Mule, Mike G was sitting near us and I told each of them what had happened, they laughed out loud. Fun coincidence, right?

Sage was my running partner all weekend. Shes great, weve been friends for years. Shes totally independent, so if I run away to talk to someone, she doesnt care. I needed to bring along a friend like that. Here, we hung for Phil in the crowd. As many attendees as Rothbury had, you could walk onto the field and get really close to the stage, even for Dave Matthews!

Here are are…at the end of the weekend, security was lax to say the least, in the photo pit, main stage. So a bunch of us got to boogie there for Phil. Here, my dear friend Aron Ralston and I got down. What a wonderful weekend. I feel like I can take a deep breath and get back into work mode. In fact, I happen to be finishing this column on the airplane headed to Chicago to work Lollapalooza!!!

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