The East Coast’s Best Music Festival: Suwannee Hulaween

Zachary Fedewa/The Avion Newspaper
A festival attendee embraces a new fad seen at music festivals and
hula-hops at the Suwanee Hulaween Festival.

Zachary Fedewa/Senior Photographer

At the end of October each year, Suwanee Music Park draws over 20,000 music goers to what is considered the best festival the east coast has to offer, Suwanee Hulaween. Hulaween, or “Hula” for short, is considered to be different than any other music festival in Florida; the environment is touted to be reliant on one thing: Love.

Suwannee Hulaween is located at Suwannee Music Park, home to the historic Suwannee River. Hula offers five main stages and a few smaller “mobile” stages that popped up unexpectedly. The music at Hula is considered to be a Jam, Electronic, Indie Rock, and Hip-Hop/Urban style festival. The featured artists included Bassnectar, Damien Marley, The String Cheese Incident, GriZ, Claude VonStroke and Portugal. The Man.

Upon arriving at the festival grounds on Friday afternoon, the campsites were already buzzing with people who had purchased the early arrival tickets. In just a short weekend, Suwannee Music Park is transformed into a city almost 10% the size of the Orlando. Hula is different from other music festivals because it is so relaxed on both parking and camping.  I noticed that there was a mutual love and energy amongst the festival goers, staff, and performers.

Through the lack of restrictions, it seemed as though the cars and tents alike fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. The campsites ranged from packed 80-acre fields to primitive camping in the woods. There was an intense sense of family through all the different camps I came across. A vast number of groups were dressed in coordinated costumes. Many “festival veterans” brought decorated golf carts outfitted with decorations and speakers.Here are some tips for your next music festival:

Bring baby wipes! Do not plan on showering without waiting in a line for an hour or longer.

Get out of your comfort zone, deviate from the group and see different sets.

Bring a cooler stocked with food and drinks.

Purchase the early arrival and car camping passes before they get sold out. This will allow you to get settled into your campground before the events start.

Try to get some sleep! Although many people live off good vibes and energy drinks, it is best to get some rest.

Drink plenty of water.

Wear earplugs so you can live to hear another day. These festivals can give you permanent hearing damage.

Read the FAQ’s online before you arrive.

Stay off your phone.
Enjoy the atmosphere.

Connect with people you do not know, share ideas, love one another.

Suwanee is a place where people find lifelong friends, and where people can be accepted for who they are. People travel from across the country to experience the unique experience Hula has to offer. As a first-time festival goer, I found the entire event intimidating at first. The positive vibes in the people around me became contagious and made the festival something to remember.