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 Post subject: Farm Aid 1985
PostPosted: Wed August 9th, 2017, 19:38 GMT 
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As I mentioned over in the boozers thread, last weekend I was at a bar and started talking to the woman next to me who turned out to have been Dylan's green room manager at Farm Aid! I live in Champaign so it's fairly easy to find somebody who either went to Farm Aid or was connected to it in some way, but I'd never met anyone this close to Dylan before. I had a nice phone conversation with her yesterday so she could tell me the whole story, and she gave me permission to record it so I could relay it here. Here's the transcript:

"In September of 1985 I was working as a DJ for a small lo-fi radio station out of Danville, IL. It was an evening show called “Nightrock” and my on air personality name was “Kelly Karnes." I saw a notice at work about an upcoming event called Farm Aid to be held in nearby Champaign, IL on September 22nd.

Wait, let me go back a minute. Earlier, in 1980 while attending Butler University as a music major, I began working concert shows for a caterer that was contracted to feed the artists, their crew and the local unions at shows all around the Midwest. Having those experiences from college, I decided that I should volunteer for Farm Aid as a little side job for some extra money going into Christmas and the holidays. During those college years as the caterer, I learned how to be really comfortable around very talented people who sometimes were also famous. I was always drawn to talent and it came very naturally to me. I enlisted my best friend Andrea (also from Butler and a fellow concert caterer) to help at Farm Aid too. We arrived the day before for set up and Andrea was placed in the trailer for credentials and I was given the job of running one of the 3 mobile home trailers set up as dressing rooms. They had been donated and were absolutely filthy. I mean FILTHY. Andrea and I stayed up all night cleaning them up. Woosh.

The day started early and my job was to meet with the artists and their management, take them to their dressing rooms, and assist them with anything they needed. Then, at the appropriate time, escort them to the “Green Room,” which was just another trailer next to the stage used as a “holding area." My trailer proved to be the busiest of the three. Out of the 80 or however many artists to perform that day, 41 of them were assigned to my trailer. 41!? Are you kidding me!

As you can imagine, this was a huge production and the first of this kind of event in Champaign, so even though the best of the best in concert production had been brought in to pull this off, there were unforeseen problems that came up.

We were told it was B.B. King’s 60th birthday. Well, it was actually about a week after his birthday but his band and crew were celebrating it all the same. I met with B.B. King’s manager while B.B. was on stage and helped her (and about 30 of his friends and family) bring in a very large sheet cake to his trailer to surprise him after his set. Now, each artist was assigned their room for only a very specific period of time and then they had to rotate out in order for the next artist to prepare.

It was night-time now and the really big headliners were going on. Now at this point I was exhausted and had cycled through everyone from Kenny Rogers, Carole King and Van Halen without much incident. (Well, Eddie not coming out of the restroom until I retrieved his wife Valerie Bertinelli to coax him out was a minor setback). They made it to the stage on time though. Fortunately, I had worked with them prior to Farm Aid.

Now, clearly you're a Bob Dylan fan, so you know how documented it is that people sometimes act a little nervous or weird around Dylan. This was the case with one of the Production Managers that I reported to for the day. At some point, I realized that we were expecting Bob Dylan and his band to arrive. The area was shut down and the Production Manager was running around screaming at everyone to clear and to not speak to Bob Dylan when he passes by.

The Production Manager then began yelling at B.B. King’s entourage to get out of the room! He was absolutely hysterical. He was worried that Bob would show up without a trailer to go to because of King's birthday party. Then the Production Manger flung open the trailer door with the remaining sheet cake in his hand and just threw it right on the ground! Right on the ground, can you believe? I was so surprised and pretty upset too. All of B.B. King’s party got silent immediately and obviously they were upset too. Luckily, B.B. was not in the room when this occurred but he learned of it quickly. I was then “fired” by the Production Manager since I could not seem to get the rooms cleared out quickly enough for Dylan. Now this was not gonna fly with me as I felt that I had no right to interrupt his birthday party. Little 20 year old me is gonna walk up to a legend like B.B. King and tell him, 'Happy Birthday, now get moving!' I don't think so. Especially when there was a completely empty trailer nearby that Dylan could use if B.B.'s party was not done in time.

I went to my friend Peggy Lyda, who was one of the owners of the promoting company out of Austin and in charge of the entire show. I was reinstated and would report directly to her. The Production Manager was pulled aside and calmed down and then seemingly out of nowhere Mr. Bob Dylan approached me. I treated him as I had any other artist. I could see he was happy about that. No pretense or overriding nervousness. I said, 'Hello Mr. Dylan, let me show to your trailer. Is there anything you need?' His only request was that I make sure his backup singers were taken care of. 'Anything they want, please.' I assured him I would and then took him to his room. Shortly afterwards he found me again to ask 'For a favor.' 'Of course Mr. Dylan, what would you like?' He asked, 'Would you be able to get me to B.B. King? Could you find him for me? I need to speak to him?' He clearly had found out about the birthday party incident and wanted to talk to B.B. 'Yes, I think I can do that.' I answered. So I started running all over the grounds trying to find B.B.

I found him in the media tent and I explained to him that Bob Dylan had asked that I find him and take him to him. B.B. did not seem surprised by the request and simply said 'Ok.' I wished him Happy Birthday and asked how his set had gone. He said was happy with his set. When we got to the trailer Dylan was waiting outside near the stairs completely alone. He watched us approach and the two men hugged and then stepped apart. I then heard Dylan say in his low garbled voice, “Beeeeee Beeeee” and then B.B. leaned back his head just a bit and with a slight tilt he said, “Boooob” both in an endearing way. I then stepped away to give them their privacy. They spoke for just a few minutes. Then Dylan motioned for me to approach. He asked if I could take them down to the media tent for a photo. We started walking and this is when it dawned on me that I was walking between B.B. King and Bob Dylan! What a moment! It was also the best time I thought to ask for a guitar pick from both of them. I have a huge guitar pick collection and to add these two would be amazing. We stopped and B.B. found one in his pocket quickly and Bob began the search for one looking in every pocket both shirt and jeans (front and back) twice. He finally gave up and apologized over and over again for not having one. No worries. I still have B.B.’s! To myself I thought what an amazing moment!! I lead them to the tent and did not see either of them again. That's still one of my favorite memories!"


Has anyone ever seen a photo of BB and Bob at Farm Aid? I don't think I've seen it. I wonder who has it now.


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 Post subject: Re: Farm Aid 1985
PostPosted: Wed August 9th, 2017, 20:01 GMT 
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Joined: Wed December 16th, 2009, 12:57 GMT
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Cool story!


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 Post subject: Re: Farm Aid 1985
PostPosted: Thu August 10th, 2017, 05:59 GMT 
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Location: Between Lincoln County Road and Armageddon
Great story! Thanks for sharing it.


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 Post subject: Re: Farm Aid 1985
PostPosted: Fri August 11th, 2017, 01:26 GMT 

Joined: Sun November 16th, 2014, 01:17 GMT
Posts: 104
If unpublished, that Dylan and King photo is probably in the ol' archives in Tulsa town.


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 Post subject: Re: Farm Aid 1985
PostPosted: Fri August 11th, 2017, 02:26 GMT 
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That was the best story in the world. No other could ever approach it, or equal it's majesty.


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 Post subject: Re: Farm Aid 1985
PostPosted: Fri August 11th, 2017, 02:31 GMT 
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Location: In a hole in the ground there lived a....
Thanks for sharing this story with us.


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 Post subject: Re: Farm Aid 1985
PostPosted: Fri August 11th, 2017, 05:52 GMT 
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cloudofwit wrote:
If unpublished, that Dylan and King photo is probably in the ol' archives in Tulsa town.

Maybe, if it isn't in the hands of either Dylan or King's own personal collections or close family's. Surely even someone like Dylan has to keep some pictures right? Maybe an old "Live Laugh Love" family album on the coffee table for collectin' dust?


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 Post subject: Re: Farm Aid 1985
PostPosted: Fri August 11th, 2017, 12:17 GMT 

Joined: Sun November 16th, 2014, 01:17 GMT
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You're right; that could just as easily be true.


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 Post subject: Re: Farm Aid 1985
PostPosted: Fri August 11th, 2017, 14:21 GMT 
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What a great story! Thanks NC. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Farm Aid 1985
PostPosted: Sat August 12th, 2017, 08:42 GMT 

Joined: Mon March 7th, 2011, 21:11 GMT
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Location: Outside the Gates of Eden
gibsona07 wrote:
What a great story! Thanks NC. :D

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


What gibsona07, said :D


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 Post subject: Re: Farm Aid 1985
PostPosted: Sat August 12th, 2017, 09:03 GMT 
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Joined: Wed December 16th, 2009, 12:57 GMT
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Nice also to read anecdotes about Bob where he behaves like you hope he would


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