Bonnaroo 2013: Q&A with Sean O’Connell of Music Allies

Aug 1, 2013 9:00 AM


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photo of HayBale Sessions

HayBale Sessions, June 16, 2013

What is the basic recording setup for the HayBale Sessions?
Adjacent to the broadcast center is the HayBale Studios, which is a recording studio that records exclusive performances and interviews for all of partner radio stations and Radio Bonnaroo. Elijah Shaw is the head engineer for all the musical performances. Daniel Feese is our mastering engineer who insures that our video crew and radio stations get their audio quickly. Dan Buckley is our interview engineer. Dan's been with us for the entire 10 years.

In the HayBale Studios, the console was an SSL AWS 948. We used a lot of backline from Chad Evans at Vintage King. Plus, we did some experimenting with IK Multimedia's iRig and we made sure all the VIPs attending the sessions had the best sound in their ears with CAD headphones. Bonnaroo is a huge backstage scene. We hosted over 40 bands this year.

photo of HayBale Studios

Elijah Shaw, Sean O'Connell and Tom Hansen behind the SSL AWS 948 console in HayBale Studios

What were some of the festival highlights for you?
My favorite performances were [from] Portugal. The Man, The National, and Allen Stone.

Some of the highlights for me included having Jack Johnson rehearsing and recording in the studios [on] Thursday night. Jack had been already been planning to show up as a surprise guest with ALO and they utilized our studios to rehearse. He also recorded some of his new songs and did an interview that we shared with radio Friday morning. This timed out well since the festival asked Jack to fill in for Mumford and Sons, who had to cancel due medical reasons.

I had [originally] suggested that Jack make a surprise appearance and join ALO on Thursday night. He agreed and was already planning to use our studios to surprise [the] radio [audience] with acoustic versions of songs from his new album. Plus, ALO and Jack were able to use our studios to rehearse. Obviously, the timing worked out. The festival approached Jack directly and he ended up staying a couple extra days and saving the day by headlining.

As Radio Bonnaroo matures, we've been able to utilize the content to help both the bands and the festival reach more people.

Many of the HayBale sessions can be viewed at the bonnaroo365 channel on YouTube.

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