Suwannee Hulaween Provides The Best Halloween Experience

Suwannee Hulaween Provides The Best Halloween Experience

Thousands packed into the woods surrounding the majestic Spirit Lake in Live Oak, Florida this weekend to enjoy some spooky fun and listen to their favorite artists at Suwannee Hulaween 2017. With headliners such as The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, and GriZ, it was sure to be a success. However, anyone who has even been to Hulaween knows that it’s so much more than the music.

As you walk into the venue, the first thing you see is an endless array of art installations that are truly breathtaking. From large steel sculptures to a jellyfish field swing set, there are so many unique art pieces to not only admire but interact with as well. The art at Hulaween is both eclectic and out-of-the-box, which is fitting for such a dynamic festival. This year’s Art Director, Andrew Carroll, did nothing short of an amazing job constructing a haunting, yet beautiful, scene at Spirit Lake.

Some art installations that stood out this year included fence murals, life-size interactive masks, and “Rune’s Tree”, a large wooden sculpture created by artist Thomas Dambo.

“Rune’s Tree by Thomas Dambo”

“Life-size masks and string display by String Theory and Stet 2”

“Fence mural by Ashley Simota”

The stages surrounding Spirit Lake were also works of art. The Meadow Stage is where most of the headliners performed, placed in the middle of an abundant field that also housed a Ferris wheel and dozens of local food and drinks vendors. However, the coolest stage this year had to have been a smaller stage near the entrance of the venue that spouted fire and had two rooms on each side where guests could partake in acrobatics and view a fiery display through kaleidoscopes. Although it was a smaller stage, it was not something to miss out on.

One set that really surprised me this year was Tank and The Bangas’s set at the Amphitheater stage Saturday afternoon. I stumbled upon the set while exploring the festival, and I was captivated by their sound while walking by and decided to take a seat and enjoy the show. They are a groovy funk-soul group from New Orleans and it was their first time performing at Hulaween. The lead vocalist, Terriona Ball, did a great job balancing her vocals, performing, and intermittent spouts of beautiful poetry.

“This is our first Hulaween,” Ball said, “but it won’t be our last.”

The camping experience was one of the best parts of the event. Everyone went out of their way to meet new people and develop new friendships, making the massive campground seem smaller as people began combining groups and heading to shows together. It is a laid-back camping scene with food and drinks vendors set up all over each campground. There were several different campgrounds to choose from, including a sober campground and family campground, making it a festival for all ages and lifestyles. 

Overall, Suwannee Hulaween is not a festival to miss. With astonishing art installations, captivating stages, and global talent, it makes for one of the best music festivals in Florida and puts it high on the charts nationally. If Halloween isn’t your thing, this is still a vibrant, carefree festival that anyone would enjoy. If you love Halloween and going all out to dress up, this is truly a Hula Heaven that you need to experience.

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