Bonnaroo found: Hackensaws heading home
MANCHESTER, TENN– It's been a busy few weeks for Charlottesville's Hackensaw Boys, who like 100,000 music fans, drove eight and a half hours through the night to Manchester, Tennessee last Thursday.
Except they were headed to perform at Bonnaroo, a four-day camping and music festival held on a 600-acre farm à la Woodstock, but with slightly more amenities and slightly fewer drugs. However, there were two deaths, both of which have been preliminarily attributed to drugs.
The Hackensaws, however, made it through just fine.
"I thought it went really well for us," says David Sickmen, aka "Shiner Hackensaw," the band's singer-songwriter and guitarist.
On Friday, June 11, Sickmen led the band through two sweltering sets on one of the side stages. The dripping crowd heard one of the group's catchiest bluegrass tunes, "Ruby Pearl," about an old squeeze who Sickmen announced was "from back home in Charlottesville."
Like many of the artists at Bonnaroo, the Hackensaw Boys made it a point to stay a while, mingle with the masses, and watch some of the other acts– which included Dave Matthews & Friends, Bob Dylan, Gillian Welch, The Dead, Trey Anastasio, and Wilco.
Sickmen calls it "especially an honor" to meet to Patty Smith and hear her play the day before their own set. "I told her she's an inspiration for me," he says. "I thought she was one of the most spiritual performers there. The next morning I kept her in the forefront of my mind."
The Hackensaws will need the inspiration this week, as they travel to gigs in Kentucky, Illinois, Iowa, and Kansas– before heading home on their trademark ride, the "Dirty Bird," their 1964 GM motorcoach.
And the crowd went wild... for the Hackensaws.
PHOTO BY LILA FENTON