Music and art festival, Suwannee Hulaween has been growing on the ears and tongues of creative types all over the country in the last five years, but for the first time in the festival’s history, it sold out. 2017’s stacked, smothered and covered lineup may have had something to do with it, or maybe it was the anticipation of boundless artistic explorations, or maybe just the good word of everyone from the previous years. Whatever made it happen, the latest installment of Suwannee Hulaween was an enormous success.
Suwannee Hulaween is held in the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. The festival features four days of camping, music, visual art, activities, and food. Dozens of international musicians play on five separate stages throughout the park, but artists of other forms are invited to take part in molding the experience for patrons. The result is a sanctuary of creativity.
It all starts with setting up camp and taking a nice walk from your site to the venues.
Spirit Lake is filled to the brim with installations and unique things to do, generously made possible by artists discovered by Hulaween as well as fans who came to share their talents.
Of course, there are also general necessities such as food and drink always nearby.
And plenty of places to shop, including all sorts of attire and souvenirs provided by both the festival and traveling merchants.
It’s all done over Halloween weekend, so everyone is in prime party mode and in the costuming spirit even more than usual.
Plus, who doesn’t like bubbles?
And what’s Hulaween without Hula Hoops?
Even some friendly neighbors came to represent for the NOLA bands on the bill.
The whole thing is hosted annually by the band, The String Cheese Incident, who have been playing in the park for over a decade with Hula and other festivals. They played seven sets at the main venue. (The Meadow Stage) The fifth set, Saturday night’s, was one themed to Love, which also included a dazzling pyro-infused light show.
At night, the park takes on a whole new personality.
But don’t get overexcited and go too hard in the first couple nights, or you’ll regret it.
The genres included in 2017’s musical lineup were under no limit. With the festival’s roots being embedded in jam music, it has retained that quality, but has also grown to accept a younger audience and features now alternative rock, reggae, funk, electronic, and hip hop acts.
Despite such a mixture of backgrounds and tastes in the park, everyone seemed to “get it.” Hulaween has to be one of the most positive, if not the most positive, festival experiences in the universe of art. Just with the shear amount of people that attended, there was naturally room for bad vibes or conflict, but there were none to be had. All the Hulaween family felt the same unspoken agreement that this was a chance to put aside differences and simply enjoy life. That feeling of selfless community never gets old, which eliminates doubt that anyone who attended will be able to resist the call of Spirit Lake next year.