Hulaween 2015: The Gift that Keeps on Giving [recap]
There’s a good chance that if you sat out on this year’s Hulaween at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, you experienced exponential amounts of FOMO all weekend long, and perhaps are still feeling residual effects of a mediocre Halloween. On the contrary, if you chose to get cheesy all weekend with The String Cheese Incident themselves + insane amounts of musical talent while dressed head-to-toe in elaborate (and ridiculous) costumes at one of the most breath-taking venues out there, odds are you experienced the most unforgettable 3-day weekend of your whole life, and now even Christmas is taking a backseat to Halloween as your favorite holiday. Whether it was your first Hulaween at SOSMP or your third, you can relive those special spooky moments throughout our recap of this year’s Hula, and be sure to check out our entire selection of Hulaween 2015 photos as well.
Despite the blistering Florida sunshine beating down through the Spanish-moss draped Suwannee land, festival patrons dressed to impress in their Halloween outfits, downed their morning mimosas and traveled out to the amphitheater stage to catch Big Wild early Friday afternoon. Jackson aka Big Wild wowed the crowd with his futuristic bass melodies, alternating from instrument to instrument on stage and setting the perfect tone for the weekend ahead.
No time was to be wasted after that, because the one-and-only Polish Ambassador came on stage with his signature vibrant yellow jumpsuit and shades and cranked out bangers like “Let The Rhythm Just“ ft. Mr. Lif and Ayla Nereo and even a crowd-pleasing remix of A-ha’s “Take On Me” for those timeless 80’s vibes.
The first String Cheese Incident set of the weekend was highly-anticipated by dedicated followers of SCI and those seeing the cheese for their first times as well. Out of the last three year’s that I’ve seen SCI, this was my favorite set of them all, and they packed a super-funky punch from beginning to end.
Right before SCI, funk-duo The Floozies threw down as the sunlight dissipated, causing the real weirdness to commence. Shortly thereafter, one of the most monumental moments ensued for electronic music lovers when Mr. Derek Vincent Smith himself aka Pretty Lights dished out heaping servings of smooth yet glitchy electro-soul bangers, and the lasers weren’t half bad either.
Although myself along with a massive amount of fellow ragers dressed up all three days of the weekend, the Halloween spirit on Saturday was flourishing throughout every campsite more than ever. Exploring the depths of Suwannee’s Spirit Lake was most definitely one of the most amazing experiences of all weekend, from interactive burning-man like structures to live visionary paintings and trippy lighting structures for the silent disco stages, it was a Halloween wonderland to say at the least. After visiting from campsite to campsite and checking out all of the décor, we set out for the music to check out some Odesza. This electronic-duo always blows my mind each time I see them perform, and they brought an entirely new vibe to the Suwannee amphitheater, ending their set with a heavy trap remix of “Make Me Feel Better” that had festival patrons dropping low to the forest floor.
Cheese took to the stage dressed in their “Ghoul Train” costumes and pleased fans once again with their relentless energy and ability to compile multiple genres into one jam-packed set. Oh yeah, and as one of the biggest surprises of the weekend, legendary Wu-Tang member GZA performed as Don Cornelius of Soul Train alongside SCI. Even rap fans got their fix over the weekend when Chance The Rapper performed Saturday evening, and one fan even got a tad too excited and decided to charge it on stage with Chance, that is until security quickly escorted the intoxicated fan offstage. It always seems like a good idea at the time. Saturday night was special indeed with a stacked silent disco lineup that had been on my mind all day long. Unlimited Aspect, the collaborative group between Unlimited Gravity and Project Aspect featuring live drummer Steven Kuzma, brought some of the craziest energy to the stage all weekend, and one can only imagine the insanity that would’ve ensued if that set wasn’t played through headphones. Their combination of glitch, dubstep, and live instruments created the ultimate immersive music environment to cap another night of epic performances.
As it goes for every beloved festival, Sunday came in the blink of an eye and we were already dreading going back to reality come Sunday morning. But there was no time to be wasted, because Manic Science had an early set that jumpstarted Sunday fun-day, with Borahm Lee and Adam Deitch of BreakScience joining forces with Manic Focus for one of the grooviest throwdowns in the history of Suwannee.
Manic Science was even accompanied by some members of Lettuce after a while, creating a funk symphony right before our eyes and ears. We rushed to save a spot for GRiZ at the amphitheater stage, and from the looks of it, everyone else was doing the same. I hadn’t seen the amp stage that full that early in the afternoon in quite some time, and the amount of people getting down to Grant’s saxy bass in that unbearable heat was remarkable, and fans were relieved that they came out to witness the magic when he dropped fresh tracks from ‘Say It Loud’ and some older goodies as well as some GRiZmatik originals.
Fans of Lettuce got their fix of greens Sunday evening, and what a better way to conclude a weekend of phenomenal tunes than a set from the one-and-only STS9, who played a relatively mellow set that ended with “World Go Round” and “Instantly“. Emotional as we all were, and as much as we wanted to ignore real life and stay at Hulaween forever, Tribe couldn’t have said farewell in a better way.
Up until Hulaween 2015, rumors had circulated about Hulaween moving from the SOSMP location. We’d like to tell you that Suwannee is Hulaween’s permanent home, but that would be a lie. However, we can tell you that the festival will continue calling Suwannee home for at least another year or two. If you love music and ghouls, ghosts, The String Cheese Incident and all things Halloween, we recommend you begin planning your outfits for next year’s Hulaween. Stay connected through Hulaween’s Facebook and Twitter for updates and announcements.