10 Bands Not To Miss at Hulaween 2016
Words By Coleman Schwartz & Julie Hutchins
Hulaween is a highlight of the festival season and as always, Suwanee is setting the bar high. This year’s “Stringer Things” theme is sure to incite spooky jams and mischievousness into the late night. After 2015’s surge of attendees, the festival made the decision to cap ticket sales off at 20,000 and expand the grounds. Suwanee added 2 new stages, The Meadow and The Patch, to accommodate the ridiculously surreal line up. With a bill that hosts 7 sets of String Cheese, 3 sets of Umphrey’s McGee, My Morning Jacket, and STS9 as main stage staples. As an excited festival attendee, it can be overwhelming to create a schedule that makes all the rounds. Go see your favorite headliners, but don’t forget to check out all of the awesome side stage action. We’ve compromised a list of some of our favorite acts you should not miss!
Here’s our top 10 picks:
Hailing from the sleepy Midwest, Broccoli Samurai is waking folks up to live electronica everywhere they go. Broccoli Samurai's line-up includes a bevy of synth and keys that create an ambient atmosphere while live drums, bass, and guitar blend tones into a super charged, yet natural soundscape. You can expect these guys to venture into unmarked musical territory. The quartet exemplifies extraordinary perseverance and endurance in regards to jamming and touring. Broccoli Samurai is currently on a massive tour, visiting over 30 cities in 6-weeks. Show these nifty tour warriors some love! You will not be disappointed.
Thursday 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM Campground
Hailing from Portland, Fruition is the essence of west coast equanimity. The full line up includes luscious 3-part harmonies and a myriad of sing-along melodies. Their songs are bound to leave you feeling lighter, brighter and yearning for more! Sandwiched in between Umphrey’s McGee and Greensky Bluegrass, Hulaween could not have been planned a better pre-party line up.
Thursday 9:15 PM - 10:15 PM Spirit Lake
Now this is what I call a super group. Joe Russo, Marco Benevento and Oteil Burbrdige are no strangers to the exploratory world of improvisation. Individually, each member is an aficionado at multiple instruments and will certainly bring a smorgasbord of influences to the table. The trio emerged this summer at Peach Fest and are truly a special treat for Hulaween. Joe Russo and Oteil Burbridge will undoubtedly embody the spirit of the Dead, accompanied by Marco Benvento’s zany jazz scats. All those attending this set, will certainly feast on astonishing improvisation. Russo, Benevento, and Burbridge are always on the move forming new collaboration constantly. There’s no telling when these master musician’s schedules will align again. Do not miss this act!
Friday 1:45 PM - 2:45 PM The Amphitheatre
Funk rock from Asheville, NC will undoubtedly provide a good time for all those interested in going hard Friday night. The Fritz are on the rise. The boys have broken out into the festival scene rocking out all over the nation. The Fritz embodies the dirty and futuristic vibrations of the synth. Super groovy and dance oriented. Soulful vocals and funky bass will keep you moving into the late night.
Friday 11:00 PM - 12:00 AM Campground
These Colorado-based live-electronic funksters have managed to bridge future-funk into the world of jamtronica. Their remarkably smooth fusion of organic and electronic music has captivated the attention of audiences nationwide, and their set deserves a nod as the sleeper for best dance party of the entire festival.
Friday 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM Spirit Lake
Larry Keel and Drew Emmitt
Larry Keel is one of the best and most decorated bluegrass guitarists of the last 25 years, with two Telluride Bluegrass Festival guitar competition championships under his belt. He truly has the songwriting talent to back up his instrumental prowess, and he is a great listener when playing with others. Drew Emmitt is an acclaimed mandolinist/guitarist, best known as a founding member of Colorado’s Leftover Salmon, one of the great inspirations behind today’s vibrant jamgrass scene. The musical dialogue going on at this set is certain to be some of the most engaging you will find on any stage all weekend.
Saturday 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM Meadow
This Bozeman, MT-based quintet plays an eclectic mix of electro-funk and progressive rock, with plenty of improvisation on top. Their compositions are concurrently soulful and explosive. Anchored by a rock-solid rhythm section, their dual-lead guitar work has already dazzled many a fan of Umphrey's McGee. Come out and lend some support to one of the west coast's hardest-touring jambands as they make their second pilgrimage to the beautiful Spirit of Suwannee Music Park.
Saturday 6:45 PM - 7:45p PM Campground
ATLiens, Higher Learning will send you to outer space on synth waves and atmospheric. The quartet boasts two producers as well as live drums and bass. A staple act of the south east circuit, Higher Learning is sure to feel the love at Suwanee. Get down to the intergalactic sounds of Higher Learning as space and time dissolve into new dimensions.
Saturday 10:00 PM - 11:00 PM Campground
The Travelin’ McCourys
Another early act to be aware of! The Travelin’ McCourys were born to bring bluegrass to good people. Be a good person and check out their set. They certainly embody the soul of bluegrass tradition and are not afraid to extend songs and improv. If you like fast pickin’, foot stompin’ and sing-alongin’, the Travelin’ Mccourys are the perfect afternoon jive.
Sunday 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Meadow
This Vermont-based jamband plays music with a message that is unabashed in its positivity. Their patient, exploratory style of improvisation creates the perfect canvas on which to blend disparate musical styles into a beautiful, spontaneous aural creation. Fresh off a fantastic west coast run, this quartet is on fire right now and a must-see for anyone interested in groove-based music.
Sunday 8:15 PM - 9:15 PM Spirit Lake
I have always admired Hulaween’s diversity and all encompassing atmosphere. The wide variety of genres reaches an incredibly vast audience! Ranging from bluegrass, progressive rock, jamband, funk, and dancetronica this festival truly provides a little something for everyone. I am always inspired by how quickly people can unite over a simple song. A diverse line up encourages patrons to be open and accepting of many musical styles. There are so many options! Try something new and see what happens! Hulaween’s limitless spirit and the magic of wise live oaks ensure it will be the best festival of the year!