Timeline | Jefferson Waful On Umphrey's Festival Weekend

We spoke with Umphrey's McGee LD Jefferson Waful last week and he told us about the crazy weekend he was about to embark upon with the band for visits to both the Mountain Jam and Wakarusa festivals. In an effort to show all the work, insane hours and downtime that goes into presenting these rock shows we love, we asked Jefferson to jot down brief notes detailing his experience over the weekend for a new feature we simply call "Timeline."

[Photo by Phil Clarkin]

Wednesday, June 4 - Brooklyn, NY

5:38 p.m. - Having dinner at the corner bar and read on Twitter that Bayliss is sound- checking "Help On The Way" > "Slipknot!" with Bob Weir at Brooklyn Bowl. It’s odd to have a member of Umphrey’s playing with a member of the Grateful Dead at my hometown venue and not be there. I’m currently waiting for the UM crew to land at La Guardia and tell me where and when we depart for Mountain Jam. We have drive tonight so we can load in at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning.

6:51 p.m. - Depart LaGuardia Hampton Inn

7:45 p.m. - Stop for food at the Macaroni House in Ramsey, NJ

8:33 p.m. - Back on the road. Wondering if I can stream the Headcount show on my phone.

8:52 p.m. - It's dead silent in the van. Everyone is looking at their phones. No music.

10:17 p.m. - Arrive in Hunter, NY. Walk into hotel lobby at exact first note of "Roundabout." Recognize staying here from like seven years ago. Weird Middle Eastern smell. Taking way too long to check in

10:22 p.m. - Check out takes EXACTLY as long as "Roundabout" is. We walk out of the lobby as final notes hit. Total coincidence

10:34 p.m. - Hotel bar. No cell reception. No WiFi. Kind of panicking. Kind of rejoicing. Order a Makers on the rocks.

11:27 p.m. - Back in the room watching Bayliss play with Bobby

[Photo by Rob Chapman]

11:58 p.m. - Trying to go to bed. Three to four hours earlier than normal. Kevin Eubanks makes cameo on Fallon

3:53 a.m. - I awake for no reason. Roll around and try to fall back to sleep.

Thursday, June 5 - Hunter, NY

7:15 a.m. - Alarm goes off. Shower. It's raining outside. Welcome to festival season

7:48 a.m. - Depart hotel in van. Rain pours in side of door into van. Not used to traveling in vans.

7:55 a.m. - Doesn't seem like there's a Starbucks in this town

8 a.m. - Mediocre coffee, eggs and bacon in catering.

8:16 a.m. - Start programming lights. One advantage of a grey day is it’s marginally easier to see the beams without being in direct sunlight.

11:32 a.m. - Two drummers soundchecking on two stages side-by-side. Sounds like Guitar Center

3:30 p.m. - Finish programming lights. Heading back to hotel to hopefully get some sleep

4:17 p.m. - Back at hotel catching up on emails and phone calls. One corner of the room gets cell service

5:48 p.m. - Lay awake listening to Howard Stern. No sleep

6:45 p.m. - Back to the festival for dinner. Sausage and salad.

9:07 p.m. - Sitting around bored. Watching pre-NBA coverage backstage. Band is rehearsing a jagged new progression while the National Anthem blares from a TV.

10:00 p.m. - Feverishly programming last minute positions for band members.

10:45 p.m. - Show time. Can't talk now.

Friday, June 6 - Hunter, NY

[Photo by Jeremy Smith]

2 a.m. - Show over

2:29 a.m. - In band van now heading back to Brooklyn. Crew decides to stay in Hunter, but I want to get home to my own bed. Jake is DJ'ing. Hall & Oates “You Make My Dreams Come True” blares from the stereo. Next stop, Brooklyn!

2:41 a.m. - Oh wait, now waiting for unnamed band member to "grab his things real quick" at the hotel before heading to NYC.

2:46 a.m. - Depart for NYC. Pantera on.

3:07 a.m. - Springsteen. "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out." One of my favorite parts of my job is hearing pro musicians tell insightful stories about studio recordings. Jake, in particular is an encyclopedia of music history. Farag is sleeping.

3:22 a.m. - Being in a van puts things in perspective. Everyone in UM traveled in a van for years. I never did. Heart's "Straight On" plays. Debating which sister was hotter.

3:31 a.m. - More people starting to fall asleep.

3:36 a.m. - Beatles' "Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey" plays

3:42 a.m. - Jake keeps saying "we should cover THIS" song. During every song.

3:47 a.m. - Joel is OUT.

3:51 a.m. - My back hurts from van seating.

3:53 a.m. - Entire rhythm section is now officially asleep. Stasik and Myers rear bench is quiet.

3:58 a.m. - Stopping to pee. Thank god I didn't have to be the one to ask.

4:14 a.m. - Doing yoga poses in a Dunkin' Donuts parking lot, immersed in the pungent, stale aroma of inferior coffee. This is probably the highlight of my day.

4:17 a.m. - "Swamp Music" by Skynyrd. Sounds exactly like another song I know.

4:36 a.m. - Getting light outside as we cross the George Washington Bridge and Bayliss snaps a photo of the Manhattan skyline. Tourist.

5:29 a.m. - HOME

5:59 a.m. - Sleep. Hopefully...

9:32 a.m. - Awoken by barking dogs and trash pickup. Lie in bed til 11 a.m. hoping to fall back to sleep. It doesn't happen.

11:33 a.m. - Out of bed and heading for coffee. Three hours until I leave for the airport. Need to pack.

2:39 p.m. - En route to airport. Praying my suitcase comes in under 50 lbs.

4:10 p.m. - Celebrating the fact that my suitcase came in at 42 lbs with a vodka soda at a crowded airport bar that apparently doesn’t have efficient air conditioning. Gotta love LaGuardia.

5:02 p.m. - On plane. Southwest. Several of us took the window/aisle gamble and lucked into empty middle seats. I'm with Joel. We’ll see if he stays awake.

5:18 p.m. - Pilot addresses us "well howdy folks..." which is never followed by good news. He informs us we're number 12 for takeoff. Joel is watching the Cubs game on his phone and tells me they're getting perfect game'd. It's only the bottom of the 4th.

5:40 p.m. - The Cubs scored. We're cleared for takeoff. Joel still awake.

5:45 p.m. - Wheels up!

6:00 p.m. - Aaaaand Joel is out

6:42 p.m. CT - Wheels down in Nashville. Tour bus meets us outside baggage claim.

7:19 p.m. - Feels like being back home on a bus. It’s a different bus, but they’re all pretty similar on the inside.

7:43 p.m. - Dinner at a restaurant in a strip mall. Half of us opt for a nicer restaurant, while the other guys go to Ruby Tuesdays.

9:02 p.m. - Depart Nashville

10:17 p.m. - Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction show is on. It's blaring. Everyone watches in silence. Mad respect. Cat Stevens' "Peace Train" with choir is spine tingling. We watch the entire broadcast in the back lounge as we drive towards Arkansas.

11:26 p.m. - Prepare new coffee maker in front lounge in anticipation of 7 a.m. wake up call.

11:36 p.m. In my bunk listening to Howard. Feeling the rhythm of the road swaying me to sleep.

Saturday, June 7 - Ozark, AR

4:35 a.m. - Awake for no reason. Damn it.

7:00 a.m. - Alarm goes off. Hit snooze

7:16 a.m. - Pounding black coffee

8:10 a.m. - Loading in to the “late night” Revival Tent where we’ll play 16 hours from now.

11:56 a.m. - Forced to finish programming as first band of the day takes the stage.

12:08 p.m. - Lunch. Not too many options. I opt for three servings of salad.

12:17 p.m. - Walk to the main stage to find a lighting staff member to ask about logistics for tomorrow’s show and late night programming for it.

12:48 p.m. - Back in the late night tent, I start programming the main stage show on our lighting console (in blind mode).

4:16 p.m. - Head to main stage to load show on USB stick onto console and check to make sure my programming was correct. It is.

5:02 p.m. - Head to dinner in a private home on the grounds. String Cheese Incident is sitting in the other room and each member comes by to chat up the members of Umphrey's.

6:59 p.m. - Nap time (hopefully)

8:37 p.m. - Can’t sleep. Listening to Howard. I’ve heard this show like five times by now. Decide to get up

10:01 p.m. - Finish programming lights in late night tent

Sunday, June 8 - Ozark, AR

[Photo by Phil Clarkin]

12:03 a.m. - Showtime.

1:30 a.m. Load out. A storm is coming. We are racing to move our floor lights from the Revival stage to the main stage so I can program positions before the sun comes up. We load them onto a box truck while the rest of our crew scrambles to load out backline and audio gear.

2:17 a.m. - The box truck won’t start and I’m radio-ing our production manager to devise a plan B.

2:21 a.m. - The box truck starts.

3:02 a.m. - Start programming positions on the main stage

6:37 a.m. - Done programming. Walk back to our bus as the sky turns red.

6:57 a.m. - Bed.

12:14 p.m. - Awake to rain and mud. We're out of coffee and a Woodstock documentary is on. Looking out our window and hippies in the mud and watching VH1 Classic looks very similar. I’m panicking about coffee.

12:47 p.m. - Coffee arrives. Gabby is my hero.

2 p.m. - I had planned to do more programming for our set tonight but there is lots and lots of rain so the lights need to be covered in trash bags. WE’LL DO IT LIVE.

5:30 p.m. - Dinner

7:28 p.m. Preparing to program our floor lights which has not happened yet due to weather. I have a 15-minute window before EOTO's set to focus them.

10 p.m. - Feverishly program

10:30 p.m. - Showtime on the main stage.

Monday, June 9 - Ozark, AR

[Photo by Phil Clarkin]

12 a.m. - Show over

1:37 a.m. - Load out complete

2:16 a.m. Back on the bus heading to Nashville, where I’ll clean the mud off my boots in a hotel bathtub and wait to head to Bonnaroo.

Thanks to Jefferson Waful for sharing his experience with us!

[Published on: 6/11/14]

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