The Les Paul Foundation, whose mission is to honor and share the life, spirit and legacy of Les Paul through the generations has announced GRAMMY™ Award winning artist, U2’s The Edge to be honored with the second annual Les Paul Spirit Award at this year’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. The award will be presented to The Edge on Friday, June 9th, 2017, the same day Les Paul would have turned 102 years old. In 2016, the Les Paul Spirit Award was presented to Grateful Dead founding member Bob Weir.
The prestigious award is presented annually 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 Edge’s name to the charity of his choice which aligns with the mission of the Les Paul Foundation. Like Les Paul, The Edge personifies a spirit of excellence through musicianship and industry recognition.
As a musician of uncommon versatility, The Edge’s unmistakable guitar sound is a cornerstone of U2’s sonic signature. His distinctive personal and original style has made him one of the most respected and influential players in the history of rock music. Like Les Paul, The Edge has always been focused on sound and innovation. In 2006, The Edge and Les Paul shared stories back stage in New York at a Music Icons event which benefited Music Rising, a charity Edge co-founded in 2005. The Edge’s extraordinary techniques can be heard on “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “With or Without You,” “Beautiful Day” and numerous other U2 songs being played to capacity crowds on the band’s current The Joshua Tree 2017 stadium tour. Rolling Stone Magazine named The Edge one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, the same list that bore Les Paul’s name as well.
“Notes actually do mean something. They have power. I think of notes as being expensive. You don’t just throw them around.” – The Edge
“I cannot think of anyone more fitting to be honored this year with the annual Les Paul Spirit Award than The Edge. Not only is he an extraordinary talent who has given us an incredible array of amazing music but he is also an innovator who understands that sound, technologies, and a personal creative spirit play a role in creating music that cannot be forgotten. This is truly 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 the Edge would be experimenting together likely at Les’ house. It is truly a remarkable opportunity to present someone of such stature like The Edge this exclusive and prestigious award. 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.”
The Edge will be honored at an intimate Bonnaroo Works Fund event “Bonnaro Eats & Greets” (invitation only) to be held on what would have been Les Paul’s 102nd birthday on Friday, June 9, 2017 from 6:30 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. The Les Paul Spirit Award will be presented to The Edge 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 is presented a one-of-a-kind piece of actual Les Paul memorabilia from his home studio, which he designed and created during his lifetime. The original acoustic wood panel has been carefully designed for hanging and is 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 original Les Paul art and technology,” said Braunstein.
In addition to the presentation of the Les Paul Spirit Award, The Les Paul Foundation has partnered with Bonnaroo Works Fund on several activations on-site at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. The Les Paul Foundation will host an official Les Paul activation at the Bonnaroo Works Fund Community Center each day. Additionally the Les Paul Foundation will unveil an assortment of new Les Paul merchandise to be sold exclusively at The Bonnaroo Works Fund tent and will conduct daily giveaways of Les Paul prize packs and guitars.