Meet Daniel S. Robertson Jr! Daniel grew up in Savannah. He went to Emory University and studied anthropology, philosophy and theatre, graduating in 2000. Daniel moved to Athens in 2014 with his family. He is the co-owner of Live Wire Athens, an event venue and concert hall in downtown Athens. He runs Live Wire Athens with his 3 siblings, Brenden, Andrew and Erin, and is also the event coordinator for AthFest Music & Arts Festival as well as Sigh in July. Daniel lives with his fiance Alexandra Baudoin d’Ajoux on their farm with their children Atreiu, Ryker and Montana. He loves camping, hiking and kayaking, craft beer and whiskey as well as music festivals and farming.
What made you decide to go from what you were studying in college to music venue owner and promotion?
When I was studying in college, I wanted to learn as much as possible so I took as many classes in different areas as possible. Meanwhile, I had to pay for college and paying for college is extremely expensive so I worked several jobs. Bartending was lucrative in Atlanta in the 90s so I stuck with it for the duration of my college career, and even part time when I started my professional career. Shortly after I graduated I was working with Locos in Savannah and JJ Cagneys (Home of Perpetual Groove) came up for sale. It was on River Street, which was a really happening place in Savannah. My dad and I, with some partners, jumped at the opportunity to own our own business and music venue. Live Wire Music Hall, as named by my brother Brenden, was a 6,000 square foot, three level powerhouse of music, family and love. We opened in 2008. My younger brother, Andrew, who was in his teens at the time, was working for me at Loco’s as a delivery driver. Brenden, my other brother, was in college at SCAD, studying sound design. It was the first opportunity for all of us to work together, and it was cool to be a music venue owner. We opened up and just went for it, and we were there for five years until 2013. During that time period, I learned how to be a talent buyer, a promoter, and the hard lessons of being a small business owner. Fortunately, meeting an extraordinary number of musicians such as Colonel Bruce Hampton, George Porter Jr., Jimmy Herring, Ike Stubblefield and so many more sparked a passion for the biz! It was fun, to say the least. I loved it and really got into it. I was like this is kind of a cool career, so why not?
What is your favorite restaurant in Athens, and what do you like there?
I am not a favorite restaurant person, I am a favorite dish person. There are certain dishes at certain places that I will go for every time. First thing is the pupusas at Tlaloc, a Peruvian stuffed pastry dish. That is pretty much what I eat there, along with the pickled slaw which is pretty fantastic. Love, love, love Viva Argentine’s empanadas and lomo saltado and, of course, Gabby’s cupcakes are fantastic. I like those two places a lot. For burgers, I go to Grindhouse, owned by one of my longtime friends from Emory, Alex Brounstein.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
Disney World because my kids are itching to go, and I would love to go. I have been there seven times, five as an adult. I am a big fan of the fantasy, imagination and creativity of it! But, the places I feel like I haven’t experienced that I really want to experience and I would love for my kids to see, would be Egypt, Fiji and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
If you could have any band play LIve Wire Athens, dead or alive, who would it be?
Led Zeppelin, that is easy.
What is your favorite thing to do in Athens?
We go to the lakes surrounding Athens often as a family, at least once a month. I have been to about every one of them in the four years we have been here. I also really like to go around Athens to enjoy the culture, music and craft breweries. There is nothing like sitting outside, sipping a local craft brew, listening to great music and doing some people watching!
Do you have a favorite lake?
For ease of use with kids and where we go, there is a creek called 2-Mile Creek at Lake Lanier. We load up the boats, pack the vehicles and head to the lake. In less than 2 hrs we are launching with a seven year old, five year old and two year old, plus our dogs. We paddle about two hundred feet and we are on almost our own island in the middle of the lake. We can fish from there, kayak the kids can play on the beach. That one in particular is awesome! Lake Hartwell is a lot cleaner than Lake Lanier. Lake Burton is great for fishing. They all have their different things that we like about them. The length of the drive kind of influences where we go and which day we choose to go where.
Do you have a camper or do you tent camp?
I have an RV. We also tent camp. Most of the time we take day trips and that kind of thing. I just don’t have the time to go away for long, and we run a farm. Without a sitter, we can’t leave our house for more than thirty-six hours.
What is your favorite place to camp?
The Smoky Mountains
What three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word “home”?
Family, comfort and love.