BY MELISSA RUGGIERI/AJC Music Scene
When Gregg Allman was buried on the first sun-soaked Saturday of June, fans filled Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon to get a glimpse of the freshly churned gravesite, a few feet and a thin fence away from his brother Duane and Allman Brothers Band bassist Berry Oakley.
Ideally, the Allman team will one day be united without any segregating structure.
“One way or the other, the intention is to enlarge the area so (everyone) is in a secure area together. There will be a memorial wall behind all of the graves, and the rest of the Allman family is welcome to come home as well,” said Gregg Allman’s longtime manager, Michael Lehman.
The Macon-Bibb Country Parks and Recreation Department oversees Rose Hill Cemetery, and Lehman said he and Allman’s family have been working with the department to figure out the best way to “move the lines.”
Lehman also noted that the ashes of Butch Trucks, who died in January, will also likely join his musical family.
“We want to make it a family plot for sure,” said Duane’s daughter, Galadrielle Allman. “It’s always a really fine balance with Rose Hill, because it is so beautiful with allowing the fans in, but also wanting it to be protected. We know (Gregg’s presence) will increase the number of people who want to be there and we can hope it will remain as peaceful as it’s been. We feel so grateful that he’ll never be alone.”
During an interview last week to discuss Allman’s final album, “Southern Blood,” which arrives Sept. 8, Lehman and Galadrielle also reflected on the day of Allman’s funeral.
“I don’t think any of us realized how important Gregg was to Macon and to Georgia and to the country and to the world,” Lehman said. “Once we met with officials and realized there was going to be an outpouring of love, we (knew) it was the right decision to allow fans to line the streets from funeral home to the cemetery and allow fans to come down by foot to pay their respects. It reminded many of us of what had occurred at so many shows – that there were always fans who were welcome to stand by the stage and they were always quiet and respectful and in a way, this was a final gift that Gregory and the family gave – to allow (access) to such a private moment.”
Added Galadrielle, “It was the most beautiful blue sky and incredible showing of love for him. To see the fans turns out in the numbers they did; people were so respectful, especially in the cemetery where we didn’t expect fans to be there. All you could hear was a mockingbird singing, it was so beautiful.”
Duane’s daughter, who lives in California, said she tries to visit her father’s grave at least once a year and relishes the setting at Rose Hill.
“There’s such history there, with the water and the train tracks and the oak trees. It’s a comfort to know (Gregg) is there,” she said. “It a destination for reconnecting for me and it will be even more important now that going to see Gregory is an option.”