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Columns > Annabel Lukins - Both Sides of the Rail

Published: 2011/12/10
by Annabel Lukins

Bonnaroo Revisited

So I’ve got an eclectic palate for music, but I love the funk A – L – O – T. Opening band on the Sonic Stage…the New Orleans Allstars. I think you know from my Jam Cruise pieces, but Ivan Neville is one of my dear dear friends. And Jamie and I have a long history as buddies. Combine them with Kirk Joseph & Terrence Higgins and you have an A-list super group. And in this photo, I am pretty sure Ivan made a snide comment that sent all of us laughing hard.

Paul Hoffman & Anders Beck, two of the amazing members of Greensky Bluegrass. Their manager was smart and emailed me before Bonnaroo was even announced to ask for a slot on the Sonic Stage.

Bela Fleck, one of my childhood heroes since I was 13. Now he’s my friend. I went to his wedding. Four years at Bonnaroo, four years on my stage. He said he can never say no to me. How cool is that?

What’s even cooler is that he had nothing pre-arranged to play. He even turned me and said, “what do you want me to do?” So I jumped on stage with him and we winged it! A few tunes, a few questions, a sneak peak into his banjo concerto for the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and a CD signing with the Flecktones to promote their new album. It was perfect!

Ok really, ALL my music heroes come to play at my stage. This is my life. Bela and I be-friended each other when he played on Jam Cruise many years ago. But I’ve kept my distance from Bruce and just stayed a super fan because I was scared to cross over the line of fan > friend. But he’s got a new manager who knows that Bruce needs to be immersed in the jamband scene and therefore, I let go of my fears and dove head first. Now we text each other and I can’t wait to spend more time with him on Jam Cruise. Here, he played a beautiful and rare solo set on the dulcimer.

Enter 3rd hero…this one came later in my life. Amos Lee. I’m borderline obsessed with everything about him, especially his voice. He’s a BIG artist these days and if it wasn’t for my close friendship with his manager, Amos never would have performed for me. But he did. And it was incredible. I’m a bit full of pride right here.

Backstage, I asked Amos to play Night Train. “For you…anything.” But I didn’t realize how much my heart would sink when he dedicated it to me on stage. The crowd all turned and smiled to me…my heart was full. Speaking of crowd, look at how huge it was.

Ariel Hyatt, my big sister, gets photo credit here. So, obviously I was GUSHING to everyone about how special it was to have Amos on the Sonic Stage. I was so in the zone when he was around that I didn’t even notice that she took this photo. The hug I gave him after he came off stage was so real and so full of love. She captured the most perfect moment and I am forever grateful to her and to Amos.

I’ve known Chris Hartford since Wetlands days. So the moment he was booked at Bonnaroo, I saved him a slot. But what I didn’t know at the time, was that his Band of Changes was going to Joe Russo & Dave Dreiwitz…icing on the cake! This photo is just so darn cute.

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