Review and Photography by Joel Shover
To say that magic exists in this universe is easy, but to experience it firsthand is surely a treat. There is a place in this world where such magic exists, and that place is the Spirit of Suwanee Music Park in the town of Live Oak, Florida, which just hosted upwards of thirty-five thousand mystical souls searching for those good musical vibes at the 10th anniversary of HULAWEEN.
Though I’ve covered other festivals at the park this would be my first HULAWEEN, and as you all read this as my witness, it is not my last!! As I write this my mind is still flourishing with unbelievable memories that reached new heights in sight, smell, sound, touch and taste! Hula you covered them all!
I decided I would ride up to the park a day early and when I arrived, I realized I was 3 days late. Technically the festival started on Thursday, but many fans were already set up at their respectful campsites raging away! I nestled myself over in a primitive campsite down by the river and my HULAWEEN had officially started as I was reunited with old friends and some new as we set off for a walkabout to the famed 80 acres.
Our senses were correct as we found sound with a stealth set from Florida’s own Moonstone Riders. We approached the campsite on 1st and Colorado, and they had an RV stage set up and rocked out to a large crowd of happy fans! A lot of artists come to the park to make a name for themselves, and The Moonstone Riders proved each day they played they are good enough to play any stage that the park has to offer! Look to see them on the lineup for next year’s HULAWEEN. Now that I had some music and camp was set up, it was now time to snooze under the Spanish moss filled live oaks that help make this place so beautiful.
The first day of the festival brought the realization that I was not going to be able to catch all the artists playing, this festival is huge! The last time I was at the park when the main stage was in the field was in 2016 when Greg Allman and Widespread Panic played the Wanee Fest. Attention artists, If I missed your set at this Hulaween, please reach out to me I will do my best to cover a live show somewhere or right back here next year at HULAWEEN 2024! Every artist that made this lineup has the talent and they deserve the credit for playing on such a large scale, it’s not easy just ask them!
The day started with fresh brewed campsite coffee and once that coffee kicked in it was off to Spirit Lake for some mandatory visual stimulation along with the sounds of AUSTERIA on the Spirit lake stage all the way from Maryland with her energetic dubstep sounds. Photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.310813938369366&type=3
Check her out here https://linktr.ee/austeria
After taking in more sights around the lake and hanging inside spiders I made my way to the Hollows stage for String Cheese’s own KYLE HOLLINGSWORTH BAND. Kyles’ creative playing style and upbeat persona had the fans getting comfortably into the weekend’s groove, and eagerly waiting to see what the Cheese had in store for us.
A short walk away from the Hollows Stage is the Amphitheater Stage, this stage I will always know as the Mushroom Stage! Call it what you will, JOSHWA was laying down his beats and already had the crowd in a trance by the time I arrived!
Follow JOSHWA here: https://soundcloud.com/joshwauk
The fans were all talking about Altin Gün from the moment I was setting up my campsite and now I would see what all the hype was about. Altin Gun is an Amsterdam based Turkish Psych band touring promoting their fourth studio album “Ask”. They absolutely blew away the crowd with their unique sound blended with a funky vibe that carried through the weekend! Be sure to check this band out ASAP!
Check them out here. https://altingunband.com/shows/
It was time for some yummy pork tacos before heading back over to the Hollows stage for tonight’s headliner, JOE RUSSO’S ALMOST DEAD that kicked off with Bob Dylans “Tangled up in Blue” and featured an amazing cover of The Grateful Dead’s “My Brother Essau” but not to be overshadowed by the memorable “Terrapin Station” that closed out the set! JRAD always delivers!
Follow JRAD here: http://www.joerussosalmostdead.com/
Tangled Up in Blue (Bob Dylan cover)
Feel Like a Stranger (Grateful Dead cover)
Fire on the Mountain (Grateful Dead cover)
Good Lovin’ (The Olympics cover)
Candyman (Grateful Dead cover)
My Brother Esau (Grateful Dead cover)
Franklin’s Tower (Grateful Dead cover)
Me and My Uncle (John Phillips cover)
Bertha (Grateful Dead cover)
Throwing Stones (Grateful Dead cover)
Terrapin Station (Grateful Dead cover)
There might or might not have been a walk out to the Wooksville stage in 80 acres after that smoking JRAD set……The world may never know. IYKTYK.
The music started out with the always beautiful Erin & The Wildfire that brought their indie pop sounds from Virginia back to the park. Erin & The Wildfire are always an amazing performance and the sounds they produce are simply just beautiful! If you don’t follow them already do so now!
Follow Erin & The Wildfire here: https://www.erinandthewildfire.com/
The Amphitheater stage featured Maria Tambien spinning a downtempo-organic, and deep-folktronica to the pleasure of the packed crowd dancing and spinning along. Maria took the time to tell me how special The Spirit of Suwanee Music Park is to her, as she has been coming to the park since the mid 2000’s and now to perform here is surreal. Maria also wanted to thank everyone that came out to this set, the Incendia set late night, and closing Spirit Lake with her dear friend Luke Quaranta on the djembe from the Toubab Krewe.
Follow Maria Tambien here: https://soundcloud.com/maria_tambien
Talking about love for the park, the next performer I saw has played every HULAWEEN and other festivals at the park, he needs no introduction, VLAD THE INHALER took the Spirit Lake stage by storm.
Get familiar with his sounds here https://soundcloud.com/vlad-the-inhaler
More love for the park and history came from the next act, STEELN PEACHES. These musicians saw the Allmans Playing on the main stage in the park as they were running around as kids and now life had come full circle, and the crowd was eagerly waiting. After a few sound tweaks, they were off and running performing the sweet soothing souths of the Allman Brothers. I tell you those sounds traveling through the Spanish moss in that park made my soul shine along with the sunshine. The Brothers in heaven shined through for sure! These guys need to play every festival at the park!
Follow the band here: https://www.steelnpeaches.com/
By the grace of God, we were all treated to the man, the myth, and the legend, GEORGE PORTER JR all because of a last-minute audible call to save the day and George obliged. He was joined by longtime friends, Alfred Jordan and Mark Mullins, along with Chris Adkins on guitar- and they absolutely killed it! That set is what this park is all about! We love you George Porter JR.
Follow George here, and go see him live! https://www.georgeporterjr.com/
THE STRING CHEESE INCIDENT took the stage for the first of many sets that featured the grooving “Get Tight”, some birthday wishes, and the appropriate “Hot Lanta” for the baking October sun.
Follow String Cheese Incident here: https://www.stringcheeseincident.com/
A little LETTUCE for a Cheese sandwich? The boys from LETTUCE had the whole field feeling funky that featured a crowd favorite “Everyone Want’s to Rule the World” and they closed the set with “Sounds Like a Party” and what a party it was, but it was only beginning or was it?
follow the funk here: https://www.lettucefunk.com/
Mt. Crushmore (>)
It’s Just Begun (The Jimmy Castor Bunch cover)
House of Lett
Trapezoid (inc. reggae jam)
The Lock (inc. ‘School Boy Crush’ by Average White Band)
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
(Tears for Fears cover) (Rule The Waffles remix inc. ‘… more )
Phyllis (inc. ‘Ain’t Nobody’ by Chaka… more )
Sounds Like a Party
The Meadows Stage was set for a GOOSE-CIDENT as Rick, Peter, Ben, & Jeff from GOOSE joined The String Cheese Incident on stage to the crowd’s delight! I’m still not over this as I write this! unbelievably great to see this! This is the Magic that this park delivers! They broke out Goose’s “Animal” then jumped into Cheese’s “Texas”.
Colonel” Les Claypool marched his Fearless Flying Frog Brigade to the festival that featured an elaborate eight song set that featured a cover of Pink Floyds “Pigs (Three Different Ones)”. Claypool is truly a master at his craft and had the crowd wanting more! Go see this show, it’s amazing!
Up on the Roof
David Makalaster ((With Southbound Pachyderm tease))
Riddles Are Abound Tonight (Sausage cover)
Pigs (Three Different Ones) (Pink Floyd cover)
Amanitas (Les Claypool song)
Precipitation (Les Claypool and the Holy Mackerel cover)
One Better (Les Claypool song)
TREY ANASTASIO BAND took to the Meadows Stage and jumped right into the “Ghost”. The thirteen-song set featured one of the smoothest, yet mellow “Wolfman’s Brother” that I can recall to date! Crowd favorites “Set Your Soul Free” and “Everything’s Right” had fans rocking and singing along with the Tab Horns featuring Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman, while “Cayman Review” and “Sand” had the fans really showing off their dancing and “Hula” skills! Trey Anastasio Band was a very welcomed edition to HULAWEEN.
I heard fans saying that they are now fans of Trey that I never thought I would hear that from! Great job TAB great Job!
Follow Trey Anastasio Band here: https://trey.com/
Ghost (Phish cover)
Cayman Review (Trey Anastasio song)
Set Your Soul Free (Trey Anastasio song)
Alive Again (Trey Anastasio song)
The Moma Dance (Phish cover)
Love Is What We Are (Phish cover)
Simple Twist Up Dave (Trey Anastasio song)
Wolfman’s Brother (Phish cover)
Oblivion (Trey Anastasio song)
Sand (Phish cover)
A Wave of Hope (Trey Anastasio song)
Everything’s Right (Phish cover)
First Tube (Phish cover)
GOOSE took the Hallows Stage for their headlining set That had the band dressed as food, Trevor Dog, Pickle Rick, Huevo Jeff, Pea-Ter, & Ben Spuds. It didn’t stop there, the birthday boy, and camera man Danny Bacon, and of course Coach Dew! GOOSE jumped right into the mainstream smash “Hungersite”. Their ten-song set featured covers from Herbie Hancock “Cantaloupe Island” and Fat Freddy’s Drop “Fish in the Sea” that had everyone wondering if those songs were planned for the TAB horn section to play with them again (one can dream)! To say the least GOOSE did not disappoint and I think they found a new love for the park while they were here! I’m sure we will see them back.
Follow GOOSE here: https://www.goosetheband.com/
Cantaloupe Island (Herbie Hancock cover)
Fish in the Sea (Fat Freddy’s Drop cover)
Pancakes (Great Blue cover)
The day started with the sweet sounds of The Jennifer Hartswick Band, but not before getting the credit she deserves for all she does for this park and the festivals it produces. Paul Levine even said we should have a Jennifer Hartswick Festival!
Follow Jennifer Hartswick here: https://www.jenniferhartswick.com/
More funk? Yes please! FUNK YOU hit the Hallows Stage and did not stop running with their high-energy funkified funkadelia experience you couldn’t help but get funky yourself! Funk You is the real deal, and they will Funk You properly. PHOTOS:https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.312387954878631&type=3
Follow Funk You here: https://funkyoumusic.com/
The first of three sets from The String Cheese Incident featured “Let’s Go Outside”, “Suntan”, and Best Feeling” in the eight-song set that had everyone in anticipation for the third set.
The second set of The String Cheese Incident featured “Can’t Wait Another Day”, “All We Got” and a beautiful “Suwannee Jam” PHOTOS: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.312766758174084&type=3
I took a walk back over to Spirit Lake to take in some more sights that I missed the previous days. I was able to see the MURAL MAZE that featured so many amazing pieces of artwork I could have spent weeks inside Spirit Lake, there are not enough beautiful amazing words to describe the stimulation and inspiration you get walking through it!
MURAL MAZE photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.313992244718202&type=3
COUCH played the Spirit Lake stage bringing their Boston-style-rhythm and blues to the park! Distinct with horns this group is full of anergy and had the party rocking at the lake! There was no walking away from that stage without a smile!
Follow Couch here: https://www.couchtheband.com/
The third set of for The String Cheese Incident featured the band dressed as werewolves howling as they took the stage. It was an all-out full moon “Family Affair” set with the TAB Horns as Transylvania Vampires from OHIO. This fun energetic moon themed set featured covers from The Police “Walking on the Moon”, Little Feats’ “Spanish Moon” and why not throw in an Allman family “Revival”.
This set was smoking!
PIGEONS PLAYING PING PONG were set to take the stage in Spirit Lake stage with their HULAWEEN themed ‘DAFT SIDE OF THE MOON. This fifteen-song set featured Daft punk covers mixed with Pink Floyd covers to the amazement of the fans! The energy these guys bring to a stage is vivacious! You will find me at a show in the near future, these guys were so much fun to photograph as well.
Follow Pigeons Playing Ping Pong here: https://www.pigeonsplayingpingpong.com/
Melting Lights (>)
Pigs (Three Different Ones) / Have a Cigar (Pink Floyd cover) (Pigs (Three Different Ones) x… more )
One More Time (Daft Punk cover) (> “Poseidon” reprise)
Alright Tonight (>)
Comfortably Numb (Pink Floyd cover) (> “Alright Tonight” reprise)
Get Lucky / Around the World (Daft Punk cover) (Around the World x Get Lucky mashup. >)
Run Like Hell (Pink Floyd cover) (>)
Crescendolls (Daft Punk cover) (>)
Fun in Funk (>)
Young Lust (Pink Floyd cover) (> “Fun in Funk” reprise)
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (Daft Punk cover) (> “Schwanthem” reprise)
BIG WILD had something special in store for the fans at the Amphitheater stage as they rocked it out in the 1980’s fitness theme.
Check out photos from their set here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.313381834779243&type=3
Follow Big Wild here: https://bigwildmusic.com/
Pretty Lights took the stage with a packed house and when I say packed I mean packed! The17 song set had the crowd going all hours of the morning even after the music ended! The visuals that Pretty Lights bring along with the music are truly mesmerizing. Pretty Lights set featured a nod to the Allmans with “After Midnight”, a Simon and Garfunkel cover “Sound of Silence”, Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child”, and Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like an Eagle” and fly we did into the night……
Follow Pretty Lights here: https://prettylightsmusic.com/
(Unknown) (New – Wake Up)
(Unknown) (New – Time to Build a Home)
You Get High (Swirl/Modular Jam)
The Invisible Man (Chris Karns cover)
I Know the Truth
After Midnight (J.J. Cale cover) (‘Midnight Rider’ Allman… more )
I Can See It in Your Face
Ghost Town (The Specials cover)
Solar Sailor (Remix)
Sound of Silence (Simon and Garfunkel through the years cover) (Remix)
(Unknown) (New – Hot Rox, >>>)
Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover) (Remix)
Fly Like an Eagle (Steve Miller Band cover) (Remix)
High School Art Class
(Unknown) (RLGL / Kung Fu)
Sunday Funday brought a walkabout and captured some of the crowd. You were great, each one I met throughout the weekend, you are awesome! There are a few albums of pictures to find yourselves.
JON STICKLEY TRIO took the stage Meadows Stage Sunday the trio features Lyndsay Pruett on violin and Hunter Deacon on drums got the crowd going with their sultry sounds.
Follow John Stickley Trio here: https://www.jonstickley.com/
DISPATCH fired up the Hallow Stage and they meant business with their roots rocking set. With eight studio albums and five live albums along with twenty-five years of touring I would be safe to say these guys know how to do it and do it well.
Follow Dispatch here: https://dispatchmusic.com/
My HULAWEEN was by far an experience I will never forget, all the music old and new, all the friends, old and new, and all the memories old and new! See you next year HULAWEEN.
FAN, STAFF, ARTISTS PHOTO ALBUMS HERE :
Till the next show….Joel
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