Review: Suwannee Hulaween 2017 boogie-woogied the soul out of my body
By Anna Bryson
Suwannee Hulaween once again met my wild expectations, holding its No. 1 spot on my list of Florida’s best music festivals.
In a magical cypress and oak forest, along the Suwannee River, were a few precious days of pure ecstasy. 20,000 people united Oct. 27 to 29 under the power of music, creating an environment of love, with no inhibitions.
The jam band, who hosted the festival, The String Cheese Incident, played all four nights and absolutely killed it, as always.
On Saturday night, I experienced my favorite set of the festival from Disco Biscuits, a band I’d never seen before. I boogie-woogie-oogied my soul right out of my body.
With a sound dubbed as “trance-fusion,” this jam band’s goal was to create the wildest music imaginable. Their sound is so danceable that you will find yourself dancing like a fool; your body taken over by dance moves you didn’t know existed. Their set was mostly instrumental, with the exception of a few lyrical pieces.
Their songs were unpredictable — they would hop into a classical piece or break into a jazz frenzy right in the middle of an extended rock jam. I actually injured my leg from dancing so hard at this set. I have no regrets.
Other honorable mentions were jam band Perpetual Groove, producer RL Grime, rapper Vince Staples and reggae artist Damian Marley.
Another standout set from Saturday was Paris-based producer FKJ. A friend once described his sound to me as “elevator music to heaven,” a pinpoint-accurate statement. His slow, heavenly grooves were a certain crowd pleaser.
Manic Focus and Vince Staples played simultaneously Friday night, much to my disappointment, and Lettuce and RL Grime’s sets also clashed. Friday night was no misfortune though, with Bassnectar playing a full set into early Saturday morning.
On Sunday, EDM band Keys N Krates played at the same time as Portugal. The Man. I managed to head bang for thirty minutes at their set, and then sprinted over to Portugal. The Man. I thankfully caught their latest hit, “Feel It Still,” and a classic PTM song, “Modern Jesus” from their 2013 album, “Evil Friends.”
After those sets, Space Jesus played — an insane experience. He dropped his latest song “Sofa Surfin” only two days prior. If you haven’t heard that song yet, do yourself a favor and bump that right now. The crowd got down, wild and weird.
Later in the night, headliner GRiZ played his funky jams and the good times rolled.
This year’s festival was another one for the books. They say that one weekend at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park will change your life, and I’m here to tell you it’s true. Every artist that Hulaween selects, both musical and visual, spreads a message of love and equality.
Pictured Above: Bassnectar dazzling the crowd with his mind-blowing light show. He’s been playing music since 1996. Courtesy of Live Edits Lab | Suwannee Hulaween