Saturday, October 24, 2015

Suwannee Hulaween This Halloween Weekend!

The String Cheese Incident. festgrrl photo.
You might wonder how a mash-up of twangy bluegrass and untzy electronica can live in the same universe, much less play well together.

To see how it’s done, check out the upcoming Suwannee Hulaween festival, happening Oct. 30-Nov 1 at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Fla. Hosted by the talented (and oddly named) national touring improvisational band, The String Cheese Incident, Suwannee Hulaween has, in just two years, become a go-to festival of the Southeast. 

Suwannee Hulaween is a community of creatives who break free of the lock-step world for a glorious weekend, and that is a refreshing place to be. photo
Now in its third year, Hulaween serves up a divergent menu of funk, folk, electronica, bluegrass, prog-rock, disco, blues, DJs, trance, trip-hop, hip-hop, Dub, Americana, reggae, jam and a few bands that pretty much defy description. If you can’t find music you like on this lineup, to quote a friend of mine: “There’s something BAD wrong witcha!”

From the thump-thump fat electric-bass madness of Les Claypool’s Primus to the breezy bluegrass of Railroad Earth, Suwannee Hulaween is a dance festival that rocks it 24 hours a day. After the main stages close down, the Silent Disco (you wear headphones) cranks up through the early morning hours.

Among all the fests at the Spanish-moss draped paradise that is Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Hulaween puts on the biggest and baddest spectacle—we’re talking pillars of fire on the main stage (last year, a disembodied head of Michael Jackson floated above during a cover of Thriller,) a ferris wheel in front of the music, and the “Spirit Lake” psychedelic light forest that has had enormous, fire-filled iron sculptures (a la Burning Man) the past two years, along with fire dancers, trapeze performers, painters, and mandala builders. This short video explains Spirit Lake more than any words I could come up with -- Very Cool! 

This is Halloween, and these festers take their regalia responsibility seriously. I have seen some outrageous group costumes and get-ups the last two years that take the holiday far beyond witches and vampires. Last year, two guys put on Haz-Mat suits with the words “FARMER” on their backs and went through the crowd carrying bright lights and pesticide sprayers spritzing water. Epic! This year’s costume theme is a take on the 1970s dance-party show Soul Train – they are asking folks to come up with costumes in the theme of “Ghoul Train.” But really, pretty much anything goes. There is also an “Ultimate Campsite” contest Friday night that, if you win, earns you and 7 of your friends a VIP upgrade for the weekend.
festgrrl photo.

The String Cheese Incident are madly talented musicians, and they will play all three days of the festival in a variety of styles, sometimes charge-ahead bluegrass, sometimes untzy-beat, sometimes jazz and jam.

The festival kicks off on Thursday, Oct. 29, with a “pre party” that costs $60 (which includes primitive camping plus shows by Dumpstaphunk, Jo Russo’s Almost Dead, Eoto, and Herd of Watts.)

The fest proper starts on Friday, and weekend tickets (which include primitive camping) are $259 advanced and $269 at the gate. (Note to festers – if you bought Early Bird, a weekend ticket was just $170.) Saturday & Sunday only tickets (include primitive camping) are $195, and single-day tickets (no camping, and you can't go into the campground) are $105. VIP options are also available, and campsites with electric and water cost extra.

Festgrrl just returned from a week at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park for the Americana Magnolia Fest, and it is just so beautiful there this time of year. Bonus to camp among a kind community of friends you know and friends you’ll meet.

festgrrl photo

Grab your costume get-up and get on out there to Hulaween. 

Here’s the lineup:

Suwannee Hulaween 2015 Lineup

The String Cheese Incident (3 nights)
Pretty Lights
Chance the Rapper & Social Experiment
Slightly Stoopid
Railroad Earth
The Floozies
The Polish Ambassador
Sam Bush Band
The New Mastersounds
Manic Science (Manic Focus x Break Science)
Future Rock
Michal Menert
Elephant Revival
The Nth Power
Stick Figure
Little Hurricane
Sister Sparrow and the Dirtybirds
Big Wild
Turbo Suit
The Heavy Pets
Shook Twins
Greenhouse Lounge
Thomas Wynn & The Believers
The Heard
Modern Measure
Jon Stickley Trio
Catfish Alliance
Post Pluto
Master Radical
Great Peacock
Billy Gilmore & Friends
The Hip Abduction
Beebs & Her Money Makers
Come Back Alice
The Groove Orient
Flat Land
Bath Salt Zombies
Morning Fatty
Holey Miss Moley

Thursday Pre-Party
Joe Russo’s Almost Dead
Herd of Watts

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

When's that fest again?


Oct.23-25:  Camping With the Blues at the Sertoma Youth Ranch near Brooksville, Fla. (not far from Tampa)  See the lineup here. Nice place to camp, tickets are $50 for a weekend pass and $15-$30 for a single-day pass. You can review the various camping options and fees here.

Oct. 30-Nov. 1: Suwannee Hulaween, the amazing art, costume, and music extravaganza hosted by Colorado jamband, The String Cheese Incident, happens at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Fl. Pretty Lights, Slightly Stoopid, Lettuce, Primus, Sam Bush Band and a whole lot of other bands play in a linuep that's a mashup of funk, bluegrass and electronica. Yeah, it works. Plus there's a psychedelic electric forest and a ferris wheel! Thursday night pre-party with Joe Russo's Almost Dead. Advanced weekend tickets are $245. The pre-party is $65. Trust me, it's worth it.

Nov. 5-8: Riverhawk with Fred Eaglesmith, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, The Grand Slambovians, Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band, and lots more, happens at the lovely Sertoma Youth Ranch near Brooksville, Fla. (not far from Tampa) Three-day advanced ticket (includes primitive camping) is $106; $74 if you only want to stay two nights. Lots of other ticket options here.  


Friday, October 2, 2015

Avett Brothers, Tedeschi Trucks Band Headline This Week's Magnolia Fest

Husband and wife Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks. Relix photo. 
Of all the music festivals that festgrrl attends, one of the chillest is Magnolia Fest, which is happening this very week -- Oct. 15-18.

In its 19th year at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Fla., Magnolia Fest somehow manages to be both family-friendly and one hell of an adult rager at the same time. Because once the kiddies are tucked in, the all-night campfire picking parties begin. The music is a nice blend of bluegrass, blues, funk, and Americana. The Avett Brothers and Tedeschi Trucks band headline this year.

The Avett Brothers always rage it! Publicity photo.

I love Magnolia Fest. I love the fall leaves, the pumpkins, and the preponderance smiles all around. It's so relaxing and life-affirming. Go, and you will know what I mean.

festgrrl photo.
I recommend planning to stay Sunday night. The fest telescopes down to just one stage on Sunday - the stage with all the hammocks - and Donna the Buffalo always closes out Sunday night right. You can see the daily schedule here and keep up with the fest's Facebook page here.

Pumpkins at the after-hours music camp, Slopryland. festgrrl photo.

Three-day tickets, which include primitive camping beneath the lovely oaks and pines,  are $200 advanced, and $210 at the gate. Single-day ticket and VIP options are also available. Here is the full lineup:

Tedeschi Trucks Band
The Avett Brothers
The Del McCoury Band
Keller Williams Grateful Gospel
Lake Street Dive
Jeff Austin Band featuring Danny Barnes, Ross Martin & Eric Thorin
Oteil Burbridge and Roosevelt Collier Band
Steep Canyon Rangers
Rebirth Brass Band
New Orleans Suspects
Donna the Buffalo
Jim Lauderdale
Col. Bruce Hampton
Jerry Joseph & The Jack Mormons
Lost Bayou Ramblers
The Lee Boys
The Congress
Band of Heathens
Nikki Talley
The Applebutter Express
Grits & Soul
Sloppy Joe
Grandpa’s Cough Medicine
The Corbitt Brothers
Quebe Sisters
Big Cosmo
Berry Oakley’s Skylab
Habanero Honeys
Flagship Romance
This Frontier Needs Heroes
Bryce Alastair Band
Back From The Brink
Bonnie Blue
Mojo Gurus