1. STILL ALIVE

1/18

Some 20 years ago, Pearl Jam formed in Seattle, a humble posse of vets from other bands, led by a poetic, singing surfer, who helped usher in a new era in pop culture. Today, Pearl Jam is not only a hard working, globetrotting rock band, but also a component in a microverse made up of diehard fans and an entire organization that supports their every Pearl Jam whim with merchandise, community, and content -- something they celebrated over Labor Day at their Destination Weekend festival in Wisconsin.

Photographer Anna Knowlden is part of that community, having started out a few years ago filling orders in Pearl Jam's warehouse. But she'd always been into photography, and started documenting the band members' various side projects like Brad, and Eddie Vedder's ukulele project. Over Destination Weekend, Knowlden, the event's official photographer, worked with SPIN on this exclusive gallery of her backstage photos — along with her stories.

Above: Eddie Vedder (left) chats with Dhani Harrison (George's son, right) backstage.

START THE GALLERY >>

Interview by Peter Gaston

2. STILL ALIVE

2/18

Some 20 years ago, Pearl Jam formed in Seattle, a humble posse of vets from other bands, led by a poetic, singing surfer, who helped usher in a new era in pop culture. Today, Pearl Jam is not only a hard working, globetrotting rock band, but also a component in a microverse made up of diehard fans and an entire organization that supports their every Pearl Jam whim with merchandise, community, and content -- something they celebrated over Labor Day at their Destination Weekend festival in Wisconsin.

Photographer Anna Knowlden is part of that community, having started out a few years ago filling orders in Pearl Jam's warehouse. But she'd always been into photography, and started documenting the band members' various side projects like Brad, and Eddie Vedder's ukulele project. Over Destination Weekend, Knowlden, the event's official photographer, worked with SPIN on this exclusive gallery of her backstage photos — along with her stories.

Above: Eddie Vedder (left) chats with Dhani Harrison (George's son, right) backstage.

START THE GALLERY >>

Interview by Peter Gaston

3. SURPRISE! CHRIS CORNELL & EDDIE VEDDER REUNITE

3/18

While most of the sets at Destination Weekend involved the festival's announced performers, the appearance of Soundgarden's Chris Cornell was a total surprise. Even more stunning: Cornell showed up to sing material by Temple of the Dog, Soundgarden's collaborative project with Pearl Jam, like the alterna-hit "Hunger Strike."

"To have a reunion of Temple of the Dog at Pearl Jam's 20th anniversary was just unreal," says Knowlden. "No one knew he was going to be there."

4. THENEWNO2

4/18

Dhani Harrison's band, thenewno2, played one of the festival's smaller stages, but were a big hit, says Knowlden. Here, Harrison was having a few audio issues and had to resort to more rudimentary measures. "He actually used this little megaphone to get somebody to fix the sound onstage," she says.

5. PARTING GIFT

5/18

Eddie Vedder embraces Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, whose band played earlier in the night. Homme popped up to sing with Pearl Jam during "In the Moonlight," a never-before-played rarity.

"The crowd was going crazy, of course," Knowlden says of the moment. "[Eddie and Josh] shared a bottle of wine and they hugged."

6. BETTER MAN?

6/18

Part of the PJ20 weekend included a "museum" onsite, featuring loads of Pearl Jam paraphernalia. Before it opened, guitarist Mike McCready took a tour, and goofed off a bit. "He thought it would be funny to pretend he was a wax figure," says Knowlden. Unfortunately, he didn't hold his pose long enough for any fans to spot him within the exhibit.

7. MUDHONEY

7/18

Another of the weekend's hand-picked openers was Mudhoney, led by singer Mark Arm. "[Pearl Jam bassist] Jeff [Ament] and and [guitarist] Stone [Gossard] were in Green River with him, so there’s a huge connection with Mark and Pearl Jam," Knowlden says. They teamed up to cover MC5's "Kick Out the Jams."

8. JOHN DOE

8/18

"I just loved his shirt," says Knowlden of John Doe, the X frontman, who performed at the festival. Here, he's waiting to head up into the wings to watch the Strokes play.

9. THE STROKES

9/18

"[Drummer Fabrizio Morretti] was telling me about how he and Julian [Casablancas] would play Pearl Jam and sing along with it when they were kids," Knowlden says of the NYC rockers, one of the main stage's opening acts. "They’re just huge, huge fans of Pearl Jam."

10. JULIAN CASABLANCAS

10/18

And then Casablancas lived out that childhood dream, singing "Not For You" during Pearl Jam's set.

11. GONNA SEE MY FRIEND

11/18

The entire weekend had a congenial feel, says Knowlden. "It was like going to camp, when you were a kid. Everyone was just out and about, having a laugh, meeting new people. It was a big just hangout."

Here, Pearl Jam drummer Matt Cameron -- with his own custom wristbands -- gives a backstage squeeze to Dhani Harrison.

12. JOHN DOE AND EDDIE VEDDER

12/18

Vedder joined Doe during his side stage set for a performance of Doe's "The Golden State." Over the years, Vedder has urged his fans to look backwards in time and discover the bands that influenced him. X, one of those bands, will tour with Pearl Jam in coming months.

13. BOOOOOOM!

13/18

Boom Gaspar is Pearl Jam's longtime touring keyboardist, and is adored by the band's fans, who bellow his name -- "Boooooooom!" -- whenever he solos. "Here, he's blowing kisses to his wife," says Knowlden. "He's just a sweetheart, always cracking jokes. He's a good guy."

14. MIKE MCCREADY & JOSEPH ARTHUR

14/18

Pearl Jam's axeman guests with Ohio-born singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur, while Jeff Ament watches in the background. Knowlden loved how the PJ cameos drove loads of fans to the smaller stages: "They want their fans to see these bands, so what's the best way to get these fans to see these bands? They start showing up with them onstage."

15. GLEN HANSARD WITH PEARL JAM

15/18

The Swell Season singer and Once star opened for Eddie Vedder's solo ukulele tour, and the two have clearly bonded. Hansard popped up throughout the weekend, first as a backup singer during Temple of the Dog, and also for a guest spot on PJ's "Who You Are" and "Smile." Vedder returned the favor, singing with Hansard on the Swell Season's "Falling Slowly."

16. LIAM FINN

16/18

Watching Liam Finn was one of Knowlden's favorite experiences of the weekend. "He makes you laugh and smile the whole time he’s playing," she says of the singer-songwriter, whose dad, Neil, was in Crowded House. "He’s just so full of energy. The expressions on his face. Oh my god."

17. EDDIE AND LIAM

17/18

Finn pulled off one of the boldest moves of the weekend: covering a Pearl Jam song, then making Vedder sing it with him. After working out his own version of "Habit," off 1996's No Code, on Saturday, Finn brought Vedder out to play it with him on Sunday. "I had to be in the pit for this one so I could get Eddie's face," says Knowlden.

18. ROCKIN' IN THE FREE WORLD

18/18

"Ed just had everyone who was there come up onstage to sing with him," says Knowlden of the set-closing jam. "People were jumping off of Matt Cameron’s little platform, and Liam [Finn] was bashing things with the tambourine. It was insane."

But the whole experience was really all about the fans. "People came from as far away as Australia, and they're people who communicate on the band's online forums, and build these pen pal friendships, just because they love this band," Knowlden adds. "It’s a really cool thing."