Suwannee Hulaween 2016 Festival Re-Cap

 by Zach Leete

At its inception in 2013, Hulaween defied expectations and cemented itself as one of the best music festival experiences in Florida, and possibly the entire United States. Therefore, it comes as little surprise that Suwannee’s trademark blend of the funky and the freaky has transmogrified into legend status three short years later. It’s nearly impossible to pin down what makes Hulaween magical because the sheer number of magical elements fused together to create this spooky patchwork is simply unmatched – whether measuring in physical numbers or pure willpower. Suwannee is an enchanting place on its own, but it’s the denizens of the night that truly bring this space to life.   The eclectic mix of artists hailing from a variety of genres including Jam, EDM, Reggae, Indie, Hip-Hop, and Jazz ensure every moment is memorable and unique from those past. The String Cheese Incident curates the festival, performing multiple sets in between the other talented acts. This years standout performances included:  
  • Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals – Paak is a breath of fresh air in a hip-hop industry primarily dominated by stagnation. Paak’s sincerity resonates throughout every single track, and his dynamic stage presence only bolsters the quality of his inimitable performances. Imagine taking the most honest portions of Kendrick Lamar’s portfolio and mixing it with the classical trimmings of Erykah Badu, while trimming away the commentary to focus purely on the music – this is Anderson .Paak.
  • Big Gigantic ft. The Motet – Big Gigantic is constantly making appearances at festivals across the country. Although their ticket has become a bit less sought-after, and their EDM sets often nosedive into top-40 drivel, they were in rare form at Hulaween 2016. The duo played a throwback set that heavily embraced their early influences, delighting the massive throng of dancing bodies partaking in their funk-driven exercises. The inclusion of the Motet elevated their performance into the stratosphere; they definitely took us along for the ride.
  • Claude VonStroke – Wow. Claude isn’t the type of artist you generally envision at a Suwannee event, but absolutely nobody turned Suwannee into a rave quite like this man. Claude proved that ravers come in all shapes and sizes, even those who don’t typically embrace EDM.
  • Disclosure (DJ Set) – Disclosure was one of the biggest surprises on the Hulaween lineup this year. Disclosure is famous for throwing down extremely clean, dance-friendly sets and their momentum was hardly affected by the lack of supporting house artists at the festival.
  • Illenium – Future Bass is here to stay. Genre forerunner Illenium has been working diligently since first appearing on the scene. He just keeps getting better and better. Illenium’s set was heartfelt, emotional, and explosive. People lost their costumes at this one.
  • SunSquabi – this talented trio shocked everyone with one of Hulaween’s most technical performances. Sunsquabi sits comfortably at the crossroads between jam music, reggae, and EDM. Some of the weekend’s juiciest jams were delivered thanks to these young guns. When October rolls around in 2017, expect the Suwannee family to reunite for another round of costumes, music, shenanigans, and surprises. Suwannee Hulaween has proved that it’s willing to experiment and adapt to the shifting seasons of music while remaining true to itself and the vision of its original founders. This is truly the premier Halloween-themed music festival the country has to offer.  ]]]]> ]]>