Well I’ll be hanged, it happened again. Luke Skywalker is swimming down the middle of the river and barking at foaming brown bubbles. Most likely, he’ll paddle for about four hours and come out somewhere near Cedar Key. Hopefully, no one will call the law. Life’s story has once again landed us in the north forests of Live Oak, Florida, on the banks of the Suwannee River and the Suwannee Roots Revival: Welcome back to the pocket. The weather is here and I wish you were beautiful. The leaves are changing color and the air smells like football. The convergence is complete and the prophesy, as foretold, will be fulfilled. You’ve been all around the world to hear world class festival music at wooded campgrounds and what have you learned? Some, like Horning’s HIdeout in Oregon and the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Florida, just find a way to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Like the man said, “Music lives here.”
The evening breezes have begun to get a little cooler and the Crimson Tide is trying to make it to November undefeated. It can only mean one thing, time to pull out your camping gear and head to the Sprit of Suwannee Music Park. Is it a glamping year or are you rolling up in a tarp by the fire? It doesn’t really matter as long as you show up.
Come back to the oak trees, Spanish moss and the meandering Suwannee River, where quiet, lazy days are permeated by the soundtrack of banjo music and barking chihuahuas. Don’t worry kids, unlike Oregon, no one is checking your car for contraband hounds. Here in Florida, we love dogs. Even kids as they run together in the field and crowds begin to gather around the bat house in an effort to catch a glimpse of the evening exodus.
Thanks to Camp Happiness for providing the backdrop for this year’s annual fall celebration. With a rest station right on Spirit Lake, they provided a full cacophony of music, frivolity and a fair amount of glamping. Yes Virginia, you may have quiche and mimomas on Friday and Saturday, as well. This is the home turf and all glamping gear is welcome. For those traveling long distances, leave the blinking lights at home and we’ll handle the decorations.
The line up was fantastic this year as one by one, great acts dripped across one of the several stages. From the Bela Fleck-Abigail Washburn banjo explosion to Chatham County Line knocking Louvin Brother’s tunes right out of the park, everyone got exactly what they deserved. Check out the list here to see who you missed. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to happen again. Next time you’ll make better choices.
Stay close to the Suwannee Roots Revival site for future information and photos. Feel free to check out the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in between festivals for a quiet few days of forest camping. Best policy is to arrive a few days early and stay a few days late. Watching the entire festival arrive, set up and then break down and leave is real fun. Sound a little strange? Don’t worry…this is real life.
Ed. note: There was a brief Banjovi sighting late Friday night around the wooded campsites overlooking the river and then again Saturday afternoon at the face painting tent. Apparently unsatisfied with his glittery Kiss face art, he allegedly began making barking sounds and flopping around like a deranged mule, before trying to pull the tent down with his teeth. It sure was good to see tat old yak gelder again.
Camp Happiness Flashbacks:
- Darth Walthall: One of the Sith twins usually present at Live Oak survived a poisoning episode after hosting a “wild-berry and mushroom crepe breakfast”. Thanks goes out to the quick EMS response team and the subsequent stomach pump technology. They sure have come a long way with that. Kudos goes out to her high score on the “bounce back” meter. Careful when walking around tents, although Scotteesha, the mystery pooper, was notably absent, there are, nevertheless, puddles of sick in the back forty.
- Stephanie and Marty: The Samoan fire dance team graced the Camp Happiness circle with their original Lava Shake and human sacrifice review. Her wiggly, barefoot stomp dancing and his impressive hot coal walking were a late night treat for the throngs of curious onlookers.
- Deerfield Beach Thug Sightings: Several members of Uproot Hootenanny made the long trip from South Florida to the lake shore camping area, only to be mistaken as illegal pumpkin pickers and and immediately deported to Nicaragua. Last reports were that they had been heard playing in a bluegrass bar near their new home of San Juan del Sur. Sometimes bad things happen to weird people.
- Sunshine: Everyone has a lady in camp who makes sure everything is greased and sliding along nicely. Someone who wakes up singing and drops flowers everywhere she goes. As always, thanks to one of the official park matriarchs for helping keep everyone happy while continually moving forward at a reasonable pace. The morning bread selection was divine and between music acts, everyone that ventured into the campsite got spoiled. How can you be so much fun all of the time? Thanks for putting up with some of our people, including your husband. I know they can be a handful.
Thanks to DreamSpider Music and Event Production for inviting nailtravels back to the Suwannee and Roots. For the fourth year, we have been proud to promote the festival, venue and the performers. Thanks to Randy and Beth Judy, the rest of the Suwannee staff and all who helped out to make it one of the nicest festivals anywhere. See you next year!
Stay tuned as we head back to Live Oak for Hulaween and then catch up with Dead & Co. on their fall tour. Eeek.