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Columns > Annabel Lukins - Both Sides of the Rail

Published: 2010/07/01
by Annabel Lukins

Bonnaroo Buzz

Speaking of embracing, I have tried to put my arms around Martin Sexton and his music since the moment I heard him so many years ago. He’s literally an angel sent to grace us with his vocals and song writing. So when I booked him for the stage, I requested a solo performance. He’s great with the band, but nothing beats Martin solo belting Hallelujah. I’ve gotta say, this photo captures his essence beautifully.

This next photo is a moment. It’s moment of two friends who just don’t get to spend enough time together. I’ve known Billy since 2000 and every chance I get, I want him around me.

I actually want all 3 of the boys around me as much as possible. MMW has changed my life in extraordinary ways and I love them very much. Here’s a funny story. One of my assistants was driving the boys to the stage and said, “Thanks for coming to play the Sonic Stage.” Medeski replied, “We could never say no to Annabel.” Then Chris Wood said, “We can’t get a word in with her, but if we could, it wouldn’t be no.”

I laugh out loud every time I tell that story because anyone that knows and loves me for who I am knows that I like to talk.

It’s not only an honor to get to book, manage and emcee the stage each year, but when bands like Blues Traveler say YES to my request (and note: none of the bands who perform on my stage get paid), I feel even more humbled.

Blues Traveler is a force not to be reckoned with. After a weekend of hard work, I was tired, no doubt. But I had to bring my professional and personal A Game for the final band of the weekend. Popper, the band, and their crew were all smiles and compliments regarding my team.

I love this photo of Popper and me with the typed out setlist for the Sonic Stage. Once again, it shows that they take pride in playing this special performance.

And of COURSE they had the biggest crowd of the weekend. It extended past the Sonic Village arch!

Each year, my team and I take a group shot. Because I was so impressed at how top notch everyone I worked with was this year, I asked Blues Traveler if we could take a photo with them. Not only were they happy to comply, but they posted this photo complete with a paragraph of thanks on their website for taking such good care of them at Bonnaroo!!!! Pretty sweet!

For me, Bonnaroo is magical: the music, the people, the lay of the land, the sunsets and more…On Sunday evening as we were shutting down the stage after an amazingly successful year, the sky was turning pink, the clouds were peacefully lingering over the site, and Phoenix was blasting from the Which Stage nearby.

I started to dance with abandon. I started to smile so deeply that the entire moment turned into a surrendering….the flow and rhythm of the experience sent power throughout my body.

My co-worker was driving me back to the admin compound when Phoenix’s 1901 came blasting into Centeroo. I asked her to stop so I could listen, as I love that song. I started dancing and the golf cart starting shaking. “Go,” she said. “I’ll watch your stuff.” Accepting her offer, I ran into the grass and proceeded to let go of everything. I was completely satisfied on a physical, mental and spiritual level. I felt completely free as I let the dominant song embody every inch of my soul.

What a way to end yet another astonishing event, right?

I want to be back so badly. I am already counting the days until next year for the 10th Bonnaroo!

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