Things To Do

The Sights, Sounds and Sets of Suwannee Hulaween 2017 Music Festival

Hulaween 2017 was a weekend full of memorable melodies, multiple musical acts, countless Rick and Morty costumes, hammocks and an abundance of mesmerizing artwork.

From October 27 through 29, festival-goers attended the fifth Suwannee Hulaween.

Held over Halloween weekend, better known locally as Florida/Georgia weekend, festival-goers enjoyed a camping and musical experience comparable to Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival. Only instead of being four-hours away, Hulaween with its music and dreamy, illuminated art installations  takes place at Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Fla., about an hour and a half away from Gainesville.

For those looking for a break from their nagging and buzzing phone, as well as the opportunity to relax with others who just wanted to have a good time, Suwannee offered a four day immersive experience to connect with others through music.

Five stages occupied the 800 plus acre camping grounds, which allowed for a seemingly infinite musical soundtrack to the weekend. Throughout the park, 20,000 fans set up tapestry-clad campsites, each more impressive than the next.

hulaween4Hulaween’s first sold-out festival didn’t disappoint with notable headliners including Marian Hill, GriZ, Damian Marley, Chet Faker, Portugal. The Man, R.L. Grime, the String Cheese Incident, Run the Jewels, Bassnectar, Vince Staples, among others.

The diverse lineup boasted sounds to please any ear and was dubbed by many to be a “World Series musical lineup.” Friday night’s lineup showcased electronic-esque music, like Bassnectar, Big Wild and the upbeat rapping of Vince Staples. Saturday and Sunday slowed things down with the sultry beats of Chet Faker, the mellow steel drums of Damian Marley and the infectious riffs of Portugal. The Man.

Festival-goers were encouraged to dress up for Halloween weekend. Music sets were also pay-per-view live streamed for those unable to attend, with proceeds benefiting people affected by recent natural disasters including Hurricane Irma which devastated many areas of Florida.

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As late afternoon shows ushered in the night, costumes became increasingly elaborate. The festival continued to see new attendees arriving throughout the weekend, and many festival-goers seemed to have a costume for every time of day. Costumes ranged from one person  dressed as Donald Trump complete with a Soviet flag in his suit pocket and accompanied by exaggerated gestures, to Rick and Morty costumes, to just about every variation of a onesie, and everything and anything in between.

But costumes were just some of the many sights at the festival.

Spirit Lake , a waterfront destination within the festival around the campsite’s lake, housed a variety of art installations and hosted parties until the early hours of the morning. Colorful lights adorned the towering trees of Suwannee, complete with hammock station sponsored by Eno for those much-needed naps in between sets, or just for a chance to relax and take in the sights and sounds of the festival.

Hulaween is becoming larger every year.

Tickets initially sold for $199, although they climbed to as high as $259, and were capped at 20,000 to preserve a sense of intimacy within the festival.

As Hulaween 2017 fades into a blissful memory, we can rest assured that its sixth year will be one worth attending, as each year has outperformed the last.

With an ever-growing lineup and increasingly impressive experience, Hulaween has proven to be a festival worth adding to any music lover’s list of yearly excursions.