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Inside The Annual Suwanee Hulaween Music Festival

It felt so good to be back home in the woods of Suwanee this past weekend. By home I mean I had only ever been to Suwanee camping when I was a young Florida girly. So yes, *gasps* this was my first Hulaween and is certainly not going to be my last.   

While driving through the campground entrance, I couldn’t help but notice all the smiling faces. The energy was calm and the crowd was in pure bliss walking through the Spanish moss. It felt like a scene out of a movie and setting up camp was a breeze. I was lucky to set up by friendly neighbors, who even offered me tea every morning. Talk about 5-star service. The quality of the grounds was very impressive too. I love a nice ‘roughing it’ weekend in the woods, but the staff at Suwanee made such an effort to keep everything as it was, naturally beautiful. Shout out to them for all their hard work- we see you! 

Let’s skip to the part about the badass bands. Time to confess my favorite sets of the weekend.

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Da Cheese   

String Cheese Incident hosts Hulaween every year, blessing us with their presence while also switching it up every year with a new theme. This year’s theme was ‘Smells like Teen Spirit of the Suwanee.’ An ode to everything 90s! And boy did they bring all the 90’s jams. Saturday night cheese was my favorite as they debuted our nostalgic classics such as No Diggity, California Love, One Hand in My Pocket, Creep, and of course, Smells Like Teen Spirit. All four days of cheese were a must at one point or another but if you missed Saturday night, you better find it on Reddit. (Don’t worry I got you.)   

https://youtu.be/xvjhmCzZpY0   

Vampa   

If you know me, you know I’m a house junkie who loves all the boots and cats. However, this dubstep queen had me rethinking my whole music preference. I was able to catch a little of her Saturday afternoon set at the marvelous Spirit Lake, but I believe she shined when I got to catch her whole silent disco set at 2:00 am. The Chicago Native brought some dirt, playing from her new EP, Resurrection and all the riddim we needed at that hour. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing a young and talented girl my age shine on that stage. Keep on headbanging and I can’t wait to see what else she is going to bring the table with recently signing with Zed’s Dead’s record label. #FangGang   

Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals   

First off, let’s talk about how Anderson and the boys dressed as Kiss. I was mentally prepared to hear their rendition of “Beth” but I don’t think anyone’s heart is ever going to be ready for that. Opening with “Heart Don’t Stand a Chance” and giving us “Milk and Honey” it wasn’t until he played “Dang” is when I started tearing up. This was my second time seeing Paak and I can say I will never turn down a Paak set ever. He gave us all the comedown and groove vibes we needed after a crazy Saturday night. He even blessed us with “Make it Better” by him and Smokey Robinson, which happens to be my favorite love song at the moment. Yes, Lawd!    

Walker & Royce   

Literally, bury me at the club. Sunday was full of all the funk and deep house vibes with a killer lineup of J. Worra, Tchami, Whethan, but my heart lies with Walker & Royce. They made me feel like I was at Space in Miami at 7:00 am again but it was just 2:45 in the afternoon. The whole amphitheater was shaking while we buzzed to our favorites like “Take me to your leader” and “Rave Grave.” Their vibe was an essential part of my Sunday and gave me the energy to continue shuffling until the break of dawn.    

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Bassnectar   

Shall we discuss what Lorin did to us? How he gave us “Chicken Dippaz” right off the bat and closed with “Hold on” in the sweetest goodbye? He did it to us again and I’m still recovering. Last time I saw Nectar was Okeechobee 2017, so I have missed him a lot and this Hula set was everything I hoped for. All the grime and flow he carefully curates in every set. He truly is a set not to ever miss when on a lineup.   

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Marc Rebillet   

HOWEVER, I did have to leave Bassnectar to catch another legend on an opposite spectrum. If you have even heard of the words Marc Rebillet, then my friend, you are doing good in life. He is an electronic music master and although his beats are the sickest, his comedic lyrics are where you need to pay attention. His whole set is improvised so no set is the same and it is a delicious, new treat every time. When walking up to his set at Spirit Lake, I found him in solely his underwear and the thickest gold chain I saw all weekend rapping about seizures. So yeah, this was probably my favorite set of the whole weekend. Check him out if you are in need of a good laugh after this weekend.  

https://youtu.be/_WBo0DyFnjU  

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I had an unforgettable time at Hulaween this year with my family, new and old friends, and I am already packing everything I forgot to bring this year. Thanks to my friends at Brotherly Love Productions for the opportunity to cover this event and see ya next year. Until then, Happy Hula! 🙂 

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