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Columns > Annabel Lukins - Both Sides of the Rail

Published: 2012/07/25
by Annabel Lukins

Bonnaroo, Baby, Bonnaroo

This year marked a decade of working at Bonnaroo. What a triumph. And it couldn’t have been more special being there 7 months pregnant. People thought I was crazy for working it, but why in the world would I give up something so special to me as long as I was physically fit? And boy was I. First of all, the weather was the best in Bonnaroo history. I went on a run both Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. It was so funny. First of all, campers were coming into VIP while I was running by their RV’s. Their look of confusion was classic. And even better, colleagues on golf carts and in cars would drive along side of me and say, “Are you doing that on purpose? Do you need a ride?” When I told them I was exercising, they just shook their heads. Who exercises at Bonnaroo? Well when it’s 50-60 degrees and you’re trying to keep a regimented work out while pregnant…I DO!

My good buddy who works in the Ops department had a sensational idea that I took advantage of. I just ran with a back pack filled with my bathing suit, a towel, a change of clothes and I was set to jump in his pool when finished. It was such a climatic moment. Running at Bonnaroo then jumping in a pool. Really? Yup. Here was a WOO HOO moment.

Lots of new fun things pop up at the Roo each year. I love this sign and I love how we continue to confuse the hippies. For internal purposes, we call them main stage, second stage, tent 1, tent 2 and tent 3 because I don’t think we can keep it all straight either! But I loved the sign.

Ah, my recurring photo. This store is right across from my hotel in Manchester. Looks like they need a little work on the sign but glad they had enough letters to welcome us back home! Manchester really loves Bonnaroo and we appreciate their town tremendously.

Thursday hang with my boys in Orgone. I HOPE you have all seen them by now. Straight out of California, they drip with intense soul and blow me away every time I see them. Plus they are the nicest guys possible. I am not too busy on Thursday so I actually got to spend a lot of time with them. Plus I’m so pregnant that my usual “running around the Roo” was a bit tapered which was to their advantage.

If you’ve ever read one of my columns, you know I’m a sucker for sunsets. But I’m particularity enamored by Bonnaroo sunsets. They are so vibrant every night and I chase them. I will get on a golf cart and if I am in the middle of a conversation at 7:45pm, I’ll bring the person with me. “We’ve got somewhere very important to go.” For some reason, these nightly excursions make me feel whole. And the sunsets make me love Bonnaroo even more.

Ok, here we go! Sonic Stage is open for business. One of the greatest acts of the weekend was Colin Hay from Men at Work. He he play the hits, but most of his set was from his solo career. What was so impressive to me was that the front row was packed with 20 year olds singing every word to his newer songs. He’s an enchanting man and it was an absolute pleasure to meet him.

Sweet Chris Thile. He’s too adorable. I’ve known the guy for 10 years and although Nickel Creek doesn’t perform anymore, the Punch Brothers have sure hung in there and have finally made some major headway. They are good and they are getting BIG! Sometimes it takes years for bands to make it and I am really glad these guys getting the attention they deserve.

This is one of the best photos of this column. Dean Budnick and Peter Shapiro are not only two of the most influential men in the Jamband scene but have been dear friends of mine for decades. Peter and I actually grew up together in NYC and have been following each other’s careers ever since. I am honored to be in their lives and was extremely excited to have both of them at the Sonic Stage. Dean’s Wetlands shirt rocks. Can you feel the love in this shot?

Saturday morning, my feet are already killing me so straight to the masseuse in Centeroo for me.

Ah, much better. Ok ready for action. I am SOO lucky that I was able to run the Sonic Stage at Bonnaroo while super pregnant. See, I’ve been doing it for 9 years. It’s like a baby to me. I book, manage and emcee so it would have been hard to turn it over. Plus, I got to see so many friends that I rarely get to see throughout the year. And the bands I got this year were SO outstanding I would have hated to book it then miss the action. That’s just how I roll.

DAWES!!!!! The last time these guys were at Bonnaroo, I had to be begged to let them play my stage. NO ONE knew who they were. And this time, with the help of my friend from their record label, I begged them to play! They are the epitome of greatness. Their music is beautiful and hits us all in the heart. They are the real deal. Now if I could only get Taylor to smile.

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