A Ode to Suwannee

Festivals draw a lot of images to mind don’t they? I know when I was young, I thought Woodstock was just a bunch of grown ups walking around naked on leashes. I found out as I got older this is not that far from the truth.

But Hulaween, which is hosted at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park (SOSMP) in Live Oak Fl, is not your ordinary festival. To begin, unlike the generic stadiums and fairgrounds of the 2019 typical PLUR festival, SOSMP is rich with history, music, and culture. It began under the patronage and organization of the passionate Cornett family. Their main mission was to spread the knowledge and beauty of Bluegrass music, and eventually, this lead to a music camp for kids at SOSMP. Brilliant.

Then the park expanded its offerings, hosting events all throughout the year to show of the stunning natural beauty and the storied art installations.

And that is where Hulaween comes in. It is one of many at the SOSMP, but it is also the only of its kind. There is nothing more ß than that.

Hulaween incorporates the spooky Halloween season (my favorite, I was born on 10-31) with an art, light, and music experience that centers around the stunning Spirit Lake, the heart of SOSMP. It fuses technology as well. A topic I cover a lot here on the ß blog because it reminds me of the black sheep story. Everyone is scared of technology, it is so different, it may jeopardize our status, the list goes on. At the same time, we can’t stop admiring it, or buying it.

Back to Hulaween though. The immersive experience is incredible, first the art and light display around Spirit Lake is like walking through a living circus. There are cottages with hidden doors to secret gardens. There is a Church of the Lost where anyone can step up to the pulpit and stream their conscious. Then there is the grandmother witch sculpture, who although hideous with her warts, is somehow inviting us to step into her cauldron.

And finally the music, spread throughout 5 unique stages, reverberates off the land, so sometimes from our campground you can hear a combination of sounds. The silent disco was also a highlight of the fusion of technology and music. There were 150 us, with the headphones all on, listening to 1 of 3 DJs hosting the party. Everyone in their own microcosm, happy, jamming, I had a great time trying to guess the DJ based off people’s dance (usually eccentric mind you) moves.

However my favorite part of Hulaween, is the kindness that exists. The community itself is ß. People say hello to each other, ALWAYS. They offer a water or candy, or anything they have, without anyone asking for it. They share. You just don’t get that anymore in the “real world.” When I am in Publix, no one makes eye contact, let alone says hello. I want to bring this overflowing love from Hulaween to my everyday life. We don’t improve on our own, we don’t cure our blues ignoring each other. It is just the opposite, we open up, we lend a hand, we remind ourselves that we can always improve and its much better attained with a helping friend! ß

PPS I got on stage with Tom Morello, look for me floating above the red balloon in image below <3333333 Serendipity.



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