Feature photo courtesy of Tara Gracer
For the first time in two years, the Halloween festival extravaganza returned to the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park for its 8th annual installment. For a festival that has missed out on a year like all others due to the pandemic, Hulaween sure didn’t miss a step.
With blowout performances from The String Cheese Incident, Daily Bread, Earthgang, and Skrillex, Hulaween was everything we knew we were missing. Each night we were blessed with surprise after-hour sets from some of the acts of the day. Of course, one of the biggest surprises of the weekend was a surprise b3b at Incendia with Bonobo, Skrillex, and Chris Lake! Hopefully if you’re reading this, you didn’t drop the ball like I did and actually caught some of the action.
Aside from all the incredible acts of the weekend, it was a breath of fresh air to return to Suwannee and all of its spooky magic over the Halloween weekend. Getting to see all the attendees go all out in their Halloween costumes throughout the weekend and frolic throughout the grounds was truly a sight to see.
All in all, the festival was run very smoothly and efficiently. Upon entry, attendees needed to provide either a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccine digital entry pass on the Bindle app, which made the process of getting into the park and campgrounds fairly quick and easy for us. The festival was also a cashless event, though we didn’t have to load money onto our wristbands as most other cashless events require. It was super convenient to not have to keep constantly re-loading.
There were dozens upon dozens of vendors—from food to clothing to accessories—located all throughout the festival, so there was something for anyone and everyone. I was extremely fascinated with the amount of variety that there was from the vendors we’ve all grown to know and love, to new and exciting ones that became instant favorites!
This year, Hulaween also introduced a new stage dubbed The Hallows which replaced The Patch stage. They debuted the stage on Thursday night for the DeadBeats Takeover, and I must say, I was very impressed with not only the stage production itself but also the coordination between the The Meadows (main stage) and The Hallows located where the Ferris wheel and used to be. Hulaween also did a great job at alternating genres at each stage so that each day, fans of certain genres could experience a different stage! Just perfect planning and execution on their end.
Now, let’s talk about some of my favorite sets from the weekend! After not seeing him for over 5 years, Skrillex did what he does best and proved why he is still considered one of the best in the game. Mixing across the entire dance subgenre spectrum, his set was pure hype from start to finish.
I always enjoy catching some hip-hop & rap at a fest, and Earthgang did not disappoint. They did an incredible job at keeping the crowd engaged throughout the entire set and it was a straight party, simply put.
Last but not least, I want to highlight Mersiv. Fresh off an album release a couple short weeks ago, he absolutely demolished Spirit Lake on Sunday. It was a highly anticipated set throughout the entire weekend, and it was well worth the wait. If you haven’t heard his newest album “Pretty Dark Loud,” please do yourself a favor and take a listen. His entire set was a journey through bass and one of the most talked about sets even after the festival.
All in all, it was a beautiful and thrilling weekend spent at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park. With the gap year in festivals, you’d think it would take a little getting used to get back in the groove of things but to be quite honest, it almost felt as if we never even left. For that, I thank you Suwannee. Hulaween, you will always have my heart. ‘Til next year!