Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir to be honored with 1st Annual Les Paul Spirit Award at Bonnaroo
June 7, 2016 – The Les Paul Foundation, whose mission is to honor and share the life, spirit and legacy of Les Paul through the generations has announced the Les Paul Spirit Award. The prestigious award will be presented annually beginning this June to an individual who exemplifies the spirit of the late, great Les Paul through innovation, engineering,technology and/or music. In addition to the award, a grant from the Les Paul Foundation and Bonnaroo Works Fund will be made in the honoree’s name to the charity of their choice which aligns with the mission of the Les Paul Foundation. Like Les Paul, the recipient will personify a spirit of excellence through musicianship and industry recognition. The Les Paul Foundation has partnered with Bonnaroo Works Fund to present this year’s award at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival with a commitment to hold future awards presentations at the popular music festival in Manchester, Tennessee for several years to come.
Legendary founding member of the Grateful Dead and music industry icon, Bob Weir, has been named the first honoree for the Les Paul Spirit Award. As The Grateful Dead co-lead vocalist with Jerry Garcia, Weir wrote a number of iconic songs including “The Other One,” “Sugar Magnolia,” “Playing in the Band,” and “Throwing Stones.” The Grateful Dead were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994, appeared on Forbes’ list of top-grossing entertainers and in the early Nineties were the highest grossing concert attraction in the U.S. The band was presented a GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. In 2015, Weir along with former Grateful Dead members Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann joined forces with GRAMMY winning singer/guitarist John Mayer to form the band Dead & Company. Weir has chosen The GRAMMY Foundation as the charity of his choice to receive the Les Paul Foundation grant.
Like Les Paul, Weir has experimented with new technologies and music trends, most apparent in his multimillion-dollar recording and broadcast facility in San Rafael, California called TRI Studios. The room contains more than 80 separate speakers and a couple dozen microphones all over the room to pick up and disperse sound. The entire system runs through sophisticated software capable of simulating various acoustic environments, from a small nightclub to Wembley Stadium, all controlled from a computer. Weir has called his TRI Studios his “spaceship” and anyone who has frequented the studio, recorded in it or experienced the technology knows that the title is quite fitting. He continues his innovation in the sound production and musical instrument construction space by following his own fascination with the vast possibilities for musicians. TRI Studios is a testament to this, giving fans a behind-the-scenes, all access feel through events filmed and broadcast in HD, while providing artists with a blank canvas to experiment and create.
“I cannot think of anyone more fitting to be honored with the first annual Les Paul Spirit Award than Bob Weir. Not only is he an extraordinary talent who has given us an amazing array of legendary music, but he is an innovator who understands music, technologies and the spirit of Les Paul,” said Michael Braunstein, Executive Director of The Les Paul Foundation. “If Les were still alive today, I have absolutely no doubt that he and Bob would be experimenting together at TRI Studios or at Les’ house and the results would be extraordinary. I am personally thrilled to be able to present Bob with the first Les Paul Spirit Award because I know he exemplifies everything Les was about and wanted to accomplish. I want to also thank Bonnaroo Works Fund for partnering with us on this exciting annual award which will continue to honor the true innovators of our industry.”
Weir will be honored at an intimate Bonnaroo Works Fund afternoon fundraiser “Bonnaro Eats & Greets” (invitation only) to be held Sunday, June 12, 2016 from 2;00-4:00 p.m. backstage at the festival. The Les Paul Spirit Award will be presented to Weir by Michael Braunstein, Executive Director of the Les Paul Foundation along with representatives of the Bonnaroo Music Festival.
The prestigious award is physically like no other. Made from actual hand-carved acoustic boards built by Les Paul himself, each year’s recipient will be given this one-of-a-kind piece of actual Les Paul memorabilia from his home studio, which he designed and created during his lifetime. The acoustic wood pieces have been carefully designed in a unique presentation box and supported by Les’ personal story of how they were created. No two awards will ever be exactly the same, given the unique nature of the studio pieces which are being used to create it. “It is a true piece of Les Paul art,” said Braunstein.
In addition to the presentation of the first annual Les Paul Spirit Award, The Les Paul Foundation has partnered with Bonnaroo Works Fund on several new activations on-site at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. The Les Paul Foundation will host an official Les Paul Jam Session at the Bonnaroo Works Fund Community Center each day. Guests can play guitar along with Les and experience the new Les Paul Foundation website. Additionally the Les Paul Foundation will unveil an assortment of new Les Paul merchandise to be sold exclusively on the Bonnaroo Music Festival grounds in Centeroo. Other activities including meet and greets with artists, video testimonials and on-site promotions will also take place as part of the overall Les Paul Foundation experience.
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