Photos by Ginger Wesson
Suwannee Hulaween holds the most special place in my heart when it comes to music festivals. The first time I ever stepped inside Spirit Lake was in 2016. After that, I swore I would never miss a single Hula as long as the festival and I were both still kicking. I feel as if it’s nearly impossible to form the right words to express just how amazing that place is, so bear with me while I try.
The festival always feels like a spiritual cleanse for me. It’s beyond inspiring. I dream about that place all year long, and it still feels like a dream when I’m there. I always say, “It will make you want to become a better person. To others, to the earth, and to yourself.” Hulaween is simply not of this world. I want nothing more than to have everyone I love come experience it with me at least once. I’m not exactly an emotional person by any means, but that place turns me into a giant mushball. It always breaks my heart a little bit every time I step out of Spirit Lake for that last time.
Nothing I say could ever truly give Hula the justice it deserves, but I thought sharing some of my favorite features of the festival might give you a slight idea of the magic that is Suwannee Hulaween.
This installation is one of my favorite returning pieces of the festival. Between the lights and some people showing off their mad swinging/ gymnastics skills, it’s the perfect area to watch the Spirit Lake light shows all night.
Frick Frack Casino
The “No cash, no limit, barter blackjack experience,” that is Frick Frack Blackjack can be found at many festivals year-round. It’s one of my favorite things to go watch at Hulaween because people certainly don’t mess around there. They even had Jason Hann from The String Cheese Incident guest dealing on Friday night. Things seen up for bets this year included: pants fresh off the body, a valid driver’s license, six Oreo cookies (and not a single more), one shot of vodka straight from the handle, and a bicycle (still not sure how they snuck that one in).
The Hula Sign
The big Hula sign is one of my favorite places to sit and watch Cheese sets, take photos with friends, or have a giant onesie meetup party (shoutout to Sean Wilke and The Alchemist Collective). This year, the Hula sign got quite the cheesy makeover, which kinda looks like Spongebob if I’m being completely honest.
Okay, big “Duh,” on this one, but Hulaween does a fantastic job at trying to please fans of just about every genre. Some of my top musical highlights of the weekend include Holly Woods opening up Spirit Lake on Thursday, Bassnectar’s spin on Griztronics on Friday, and Anderson .Paak’s tribute to Mac Miller on Saturday that gave everyone goosebumps.
Spirit Lake Secrets
It’s easy to get lost in the sauce… I mean the art… in Spirit Lake, but sometimes you have to look deeper into the art for the real magic. If you didn’t find the secret ball pit behind the fireplace, the tiny room in a cabinet, and sat down for a nice dinner in House of the Lost, you messed up.
Like I said, it feels nearly impossible to form the proper words to give Hulaween the justice it deserves. However, I hope this was a nice glimpse into my absolute favorite place on earth. Hold tight for 2020 news…
…and I hope to see you out at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park next October!