WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, June 30, 2011 — For the tenth year in a row, well over 60,000 excited music fans descended upon Manchester, Tennessee, for the Bonnaroo Music and Arts festival, held June 9-12, 2011. Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, Bonnaroo 2011 was filled with memorable moments from its dozens of performing acts, including Eminem, Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket, The Black Keys, Widespread Panic and many more. Backstage, many of the festival’s acts were asked to lay down tracks in a purpose-built recording studio, outfitted with the help of Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users. The recorded tracks were mixed and mastered immediately and transferred to the radio tent next door for broadcast on radio stations nationwide.
The studio, appropriately dubbed “Hay Bale Studio” after the dozens of hay bales positioned on the exterior for sound rejection, was again operated by Nashville’s The Toy Box Studio, and Toy Box’s producer/recording engineer Lij was at the helm for the sessions. The whole backstage studio/radio area was overseen by Asheville, North Carolina-based Music Allies. In the weeks leading up to the festival, the studio’s gear equipment list was compiled by Lij, his assistant engineers, and GC Pro’s Nashville-based Account Manager Chad Evans, who was also on site along with other GC Pro personnel.
Among the gear supplied by GC Pro were a Solid State Logic AWS 948 Superanalogue Console (courtesy of Fadi Hayek and SSL); a Pro Tools HD3 system with Apogee Symphony Converters; a full complement of microphones from Shure, Mojave and Royer Labs; monitors from ADAM; Switchcraft Patch Bays; a full cue system; and a backline of instruments and amps from Fender, Gibson and Nord.
All in all, over 35 of the festival’s artists recorded tracks in the studio, including Ray LaMontagne, Amos Lee, Iron and Wine, Mumford and Sons, The Decemberists and many more. The schedule for each session was fast-paced, leaving room for a quick setup and soundcheck leading up to first-take recordings of three songs, before each act was guided to the interview booth, also in the “Hay Bale Studio” trailer, to make room for the next act in the tracking room. Within an hour, the performances had been mixed down to two tracks and prepped for broadcast from the radio tent next door. Approximately 45 radio stations nationwide featured these “Bonnaroo sessions” over the weekend. The multi-tracked sessions were also preserved and archived, as in past years.
“This is our third year helping sponsor the studio at Bonnaroo,” noted Evans. “This year’s festival was another amazing experience. We have developed a great partnership with Lij and crew, and we’re proud to contribute. We look forward to continuing to contribute next year and beyond, because Bonnaroo is such an important place for the music industry and up-and-coming artists.”