Jeff Cuellar

Where did you grow up?

I am originally from the Washington D.C area, but as a military brat, I ended up living in several places. I spent my first year of college in the United States Coast Guard Academy, before I decided I didn’t want to be in the military anymore. I transferred to the University of Tennessee, where I finished my education. I also spent some time abroad, in Spain.

 

Where do you live now?

We currently live just outside of Chicago. I am a happily married man. My wife, Megan, is a professor at Midwestern University, just outside of Chicago. She is a neuroscientist and focuses on traumatic brain injury. I have two wonderful children – a little boy, Kingston, who is 7, and a little girl, Simone, who is 1. We have a dog – we have always been a rescue dog family.

We have been in Chicago for about seven years. After my wife finished her Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee, we moved up here for her position. And what I do for AC Entertainment really puts me on the road a lot, and on an airplane.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I am an outdoors person. As an alumnus, I support the Tennessee Vols. We love to travel. I am a huge proponent of staycations and exploring the neighborhood and the places around us, as well. But if I can catch a flight and go oversees to a foreign land, I will be the first one to jump on. I am an avid music listener, with a massive record collection. I don’t think there’s a time during the day when music is not playing in our house or car. My favorite TV show right now is Stranger Things. I am an avid reader and try to stay up to date with what’s going on in the world and locally. I like to have a good time. I love working with people.

 

Since when have you been with AC Entertainment?

I have been with AC Entertainment since 2002, back when they originally formed Bonnaroo.

How long does it take to prepare for Bonnaroo? What do you do when the four-day festival ends?

I am in Manchester for almost three weeks to start the build and through the initial part of the takedown, and that’s my longest stay at one time…It’s really a great opportunity to focus and put all my energy into one place. But all throughout the year, we have planning meetings. We talk about what we want to improve and where the opportunities are. Bonnaroo never stops. I’m constantly working on it. We are now talking about 2020 budget, and we’re planning new things and talking about things we are looking to improve. It’s a constant flow all year long, whether it’s property restoration or new opportunities. The booking team is always working on booking. There really is not offseason for the festival. A lot of times, we are probably doing more work in this timeframe than we are on the ground during (the festival).

Additionally, AC Entertaining is producing eight festivals a year now.

 

What are some of your favorite things about Coffee County?

Manchester – and that may sound cheesy – but Manchester is home. I’ve dedicated a good chunk of my life – more than 18 years – to Bonnaroo, and now Exit 111. Of all the places I’ve lived, I’ve technically lived in Manchester longer than any one of those places. For me, every time I am coming for a meeting or for the festival is like homecoming. The people are friendly and accommodating. It feels like a good place to be. I like being part of the community when I’m in Manchester and I look forward to that every time. Being out on the Great Stage Park property, you can hear the crickets and the grasshoppers, and you feel the wind. And when Bonnaroo ends, the farmland is still so full of life – there are deer, there are different animals walking around – and that kind of juxtaposition is nice.