Suwannee Hulaween hosts a wide range of music, art, and performances throughout the Halloweekend at the Spirit of Suwannee music park in Live Oak Florida, a fan-favorite venue that also […]
Suwannee Hulaween hosts a wide range of music, art, and performances throughout the Halloweekend at the Spirit of Suwannee music park in Live Oak Florida, a fan-favorite venue that also homes events like Tipper and Friends and Resonate Festival throughout the year. The woods of Suwannee provided a magical backdrop for four full days and nights of dancing under the full moon. Jam-packed with beautiful music and art, this year’s festival was the perfect way to celebrate ten years of Hula!
The lineup boasts something for everyone, ranging from Hip-Hop to House to Dubstep to Bluegrass to Jam-bands. The main stages, the Meadow and Hollows stages, sat right across from each other with a massive field dividing them and a sea of festival-goers in between.
The Meadows hosted six sets from festival founders The String Cheese Incident, Trey Anastasio of Phish, and his band, tons of other exciting acts and even two nights of Pretty Lights Live, returning after the esteemed electronic artists’ five-year hiatus.
The Hollows stage, or the second mainstage as we liked to call it, had performances from Goose, Dispatch, Mt. Joy, Smino, Manic Focus Live Band, Les Claypool (of Primus), and his Flying Frog Brigade, where they performed Pink Floyd’s Animals album, as well as a multitude of other artists.
The Amphitheater stage, or The Amph, was one of the hotbeds of the weekend. Attendees had this stage packed out from front to back, especially for fan-favorite sets from John Summit, Channel Tres, Elderbrook, and Big Wild. Even earlier sets in the day like Marvel Years at 2pm and Champagne Drip at 4pm were popping off, with the stage slowly filling up ahead of Lab Group‘s highly anticipated 6pm performance.
The Spirit Lake stage was fueled by tons of diverse electronic music, speed house from Chyl, deep dubstep from Khiva, NotLö and Veil, glitchy breaks from EPROM, high-energy bass from Moore Kismet, ISOxo, SoDown, MZG, AUSTERIA and INZO, and even trap with a brass ensemble from Apashe.
A couple of jam acts also played the Spirit Lake stage, with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong even performing their fan-favorite Daft Side Of The Moon set, where they performed both Pink Floyd and Daft Punk covers and created a perfect celebratory late-night vibe right before Pretty Lights began on the mainstage.
The star of the festival was definitely Spirit Lake itself and the surrounding art exhibits. My personal favorite was the projection mapping on the lake, with lasers atop and different visuals ranging from fractalized trippy landscapes to spooky Halloween-themed imagery.
Other standouts from the Spirit Lake exhibits, which surrounded the lake all 360* degrees around, were Frick Frack Blackjack, the Mural Maze, and the late-night Incedia stage, which saw surprise performances from John Summit, ISOxo, Manic Focus b2b MZG, and dozens more.
Pretty Lights Live was truly an awe-inducing experience. Those who were there know the special presence in the air when the legendary performer graced the Meadows stage. It was the perfect mix of a jam and electronic show, a stellar fit for Hulaween’s crowd. The five-person ensemble led by the man himself, Derek Vincent Smith, busted out remixes of classic rock anthems like Grateful Dead’s “Shakedown Steeet,” Pink Floyd’s “Time,” and Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like An Eagle” among many others. He also showcased some Pretty Lights staple tunes like “Finally Moving,” “I Know The Truth,” “Hot Like Sauce” and “Rainbows & Waterfalls” across the two nights.
Manic Focus and his live band, consisting of Marvel Years on the guitar and drummer Colby Buckler, also put on one of our top sets of the weekend. They brilliantly fused their live instrumentals with both Manic Focus staple tracks like “Life Goes On” ft. GRiZ and cuts off the new Never Not Blue album, “Blamma” and “Illa Mind” in collaboration with bandmate Marvel Years. Manic Focus even debuted a new rap verse to close out the set, which he had previously teased with a selfie video reciting the rhymes on Instagram.
It’s safe to say this was one of our favorite festival experiences of 2023 and we cannot wait for what’s to come for Hulaween as they celebrate their tenth birthday. It was one hell of a celebration and between all of the beautiful music, brilliant art, and warm, welcoming attendees and staff, there is no shot we are missing Hula in 2024.
What were your top performances of Hulaween 2023? Let us know down below in the comments and keep an eye out for exclusive interviews from the festival with HIHF favorites Khiva and VEIL! You can peep their Road To Hulaween guest mixes here and we hope to see you at Suwannee next Halloween for Hula 2024!