Halloween, yeah yeah, it’s a pretty cool holiday. People get to dress up and be someone they’re not and it’s when the weirdos and freaks come out, but there can always be something more, something better right? So let’s add a three-day music festival (four or more for some) filled with beautiful people, a huge lineup, and an art extravaganza comparable to Burning Man to the mix and you’ve got yourself one of the most imaginative experiences in the world.
Based out of the historic Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Fla., Suwannee Hulaween came back yet again for 2016 with an even bigger lineup and even more insane art installations. They boasted big names such as Disclosure, My Morning Jacket, Big Gigantic, STS9, Gramatik, Slow Magic, Logic, Rebelution, and Boys Noize just to name a few.
Of course the main headliners once again were The String Cheese Incident with another impressive seven sets throughout the weekend. Each set was unique in its own right but the ’80s-themed “Stringier Things” set was by far the most incredible. Eighties costumes, dancers, backup singers, beautiful lights, and people swayed on top of 50-foot poles in the middle of the crowd. And let’s not forget the giant inflatable Rubix Cubes and Stay Puft man floating on top of the crowd with fireworks and confetti blasting off behind of and in front of the stage. Yeah, that’s one way to end your main set that’s for sure. (We are sad to say though that we were trying to capture photos elsewhere during the main part, so we unfortunately couldn’t grab any images of this (what we were told) mind-blowing occasion.)
This year’s fest was capped at 20,000 attendees to back down on congestion and to make it sort of a more private and personal affair. This did not take away from the ambience or energy though, as the spirits were alive and well throughout the park as usual, bringing everyone together as one giant energy life force. The love in the air was immense and whether you like electronic music, hip-hop, ska, rock, bluegrass or jam bands, Hulaween will always have something just right for you.
Now for all you art aficionados out there, Spirit Lake has everything that you could ask for and then some. Everyone can agree that art itself is pretty cool, but art that glows, lights up, is interactive and that even breathes fire, brings an entire new atmosphere to an already impressive setting. Sculptures were as tall as the trees, including some that you could climb and sit on, some you could spin or swing on, some that spit fire into the sky and some that reflected upon the now famous Spirit Lake. All of this makes for a complete mind-fuck leading to an effervescent natural body and mind high that puts you on an entirely new energy wavelength of life. It’s not just about the music at Hulaween, it’s about the experience and sights that make this place and festival truly one of a kind. (Art Director, Andy Carrol)
So as my goosebumps trail away from reliving the weekend in my head, I sit here wondering if anything else could compare to such a magical place and event. I can’t tell you that right now, but all that I do know is that in my eyes, this is going to be one tough festival to top; it’s perfection at its finest. The music, the art, the Spanish moss-laced trees, the lasers and lights, the spirits, the setting, the energy, and mainly—the people. Suwannee Hulaween, you have my heart and you’ve changed my life forever yet again.