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Columns > Annabel Lukins - Both Sides of the Rail

Published: 2011/12/10
by Annabel Lukins

Bonnaroo Revisited

3am, Which Stage, String Cheese Incident…ya never know who’s gonna be partying late night. Good thing it was Marcus Mumford I got to hang with because he’s pretty damn cool.

I’m a big fan of Ben Ellman’s. He’s also been a dear friend for 10 years. Obviously I love Galactic, but he’s got a great Balkan Bounce sounding DJ project called Gypsyphonic Disko. Just like Chris Hartford, I’ll do what I can to support musicians. So I put Ben on the stage. And he might not have brought 1,000 fans himself, but because he played right before G Love, there were OVER 1,000 people rocking out to his set. Perfect…just perfect.

G…we’re like brother and sister. Anyone who sees the two of us together is blown away by our vibe. It’s very palpable.

So their manager saw it as a no brainer for him to come to my stage, knowing that I would take very good care of him. His set was AMAZING and one of the best attended of the weekend. See, the Sonic Stage is PERFECT for an artist like G. He’s got a RABID fan base. He plays one main set at Bonnaroo with his whole band then comes solo to my stage and the fans get a special treat. And the artists LOVE it.

I love Tim Carbone. I really do. Railroad Earth played a great set on the Sonic Stage, but I had to take a moment with Tim and have a deep and honest conversation about how grateful I am to be his friend. I meant it.

Jamie McLean and I have also been friends since the Wetlands days. He opened the stage with the New Orleans Allstars and closed the stage with his band. I was just happy to spend time with him. I think this is one of the cutest photos in the history of life

It’s not just me who runs the stage. There’s no way I could do it without my AMAZING team. I am supported by a stage crew, a soundman and 3 rock solid assistants. Together, our department is so tight, professional and successful. And DAMN we have a good time doing it. Thanks to all of them! We even got Ben Sollee in the shot!

I love love love the Bonnaroo sunsets. They are part of my spiritual connection to the festival. And the Sonic Stage…I am a better person because of it. Getting to book, manage and emcee something so extraordinary for so many years has been a dream come true. The Sonic Village is my world while on site. And I love it like a child, nurture it and watch it grow.

Last night…done with work, time to party. My assistant and I essentially had our own private platform to dance to Widespread Panic. We were even doing cartwheels. It was completely ridiculous.

Check out our VIEW!!!!

Late night after Panic, annual staff crawfish fest. It’s so fun to hang with everyone after the event. It’s a social overload and we all leave with bellies FULL of crawfish!

It’s not just staff that attends the crawfish fest. Usually, people are hanging out and having fun, but Mr. Ron Jeremy decided to take a nap in a chair by the food table. Obviously, I had to take this photo. Someone he was with was bitching: “leave him alone!” Leave him alone? Are you kidding me? He’s the one who fell asleep in public. All bets are off, honey! I think my photo was passed around to many people after Bonnaroo. It’s classic.

OK – this was Bonnaroo’s 10th year. It showed…everyone went above and beyond to make the landmark year exceptional and distinctive. When I found out they came out with the Bonnaroo pendant, I immediately asked for one. I wore it with pride all weekend long. I really do have immense pride for working at Bonnaroo. Thanks for all the memories and I can’t wait for next year.

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