Review: Aura Music and Arts Festival
Aura Music and Arts Festival was yet another success at Spirit of Suwannee Music Park. Thursday began with some pregame acts on one of the four stages. The Technaflowera Music Hall hosted The Funky Nuggets, The Heavy Pets, and Greenhouse Lounge to prepare you for nonstop music from as early as noon ’til as late as 4 in the morning Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Friday, Valentine’s Day, was a day for Aura lovers to express themselves and connect with the music and visual art. Music was also found at Uncle Charlie’s Porch Stage, The Amplitheater, and Silent Disco Tent. Music started with Displace at the Porch Stage with their funk improv rock style, sweet sweet vocals, and fun covers. They performed a twisted version of “My Girl” and broke into space-funk jams. You don’t want to miss this a new band on the rise.
Also, there were the unforgettable performances by The Revivialists at the Amphlitheater Stage, complete with David Shaw running around on stage playing guitar and singing, and Rob Ingraham whaling on the saxophone. You can’t ask for a better time. We got to catch songs like “Fireflies” and “Criminal.”
Suwannee was filled with more than the average number of visual artists, which made for a pleasant experience. Live painters were present in front of the Porch Stage and in lines next to the sound board at the Amplitheater Stage. Visual projections by Dillon Endico and his friend Pat were going on at night at his art vendor shop. There, you would find a large canvas painted with a colorful sunset portrait and later at night, you’d find four additional canvases were added to the top hosting projections of an aquarium that flowed through the multiple canvases. Then there were also still projections of Endico’s personal art displayed in his vending tent.
The Heavy Pets played again on the Porch Stage and always bring that local homey vibe. Playing favorites like “So Thank You Music,” “Bibbles,” and Dew Points. Late night ended with a bang when Start Making Sense: Talking Heads Tribute played in the Technaflower Music Hall; it was a nice change to be inside and to escape the night cold. They played favorites like “And She Was,” “This Must Be The Place,” and “Born Under Punches.” This band was on point! They acted like and made you want to believe they were the real deal, and added some spacey jams to put a touch of their own taste into the covers. Frontman Jon Braun, as lead vocals and guitar, bounced around on stage with a remarkable voice so unbelievably close to David Byrne that it gave you goosebumps.
Marco Benevento Trio is always a treat. With his talented piano playing, he will melt you with his classical, modern twist. He played an instrumental cover of Pink FLoyd’s “Fearless” into Billy Joel’s “Bennie and The Jets.” He also played his single “Twin Killers.” Special guest Mike Dillon and Carly Meyers joined Benevento during “The Real Morning Party.”
Conspirator made it on the Porch Stage after Particle, and Particle’s set wasn’t one to miss. They blew up the Porch Stage, which was almost too small for their crowd. Particle knows how to keep you moving, and they performed an awesome cover of Pink Floyd’s “Have A Cigar” from the album Wish You Were Here.
Dopapod, on Saturday, had a tight performance with their fun jams and upbeat energy. You couldn’t stop your self from dancing! Not to mention, their light show was killer and is getting better with every show. Even a few small glow stick wars were tossed during their set. Mike Dilllon and Carly Meyers made an appearance during Dopapod’s set to play a fun punk song “Holiday in Cambodia,” a classic by the Dead Kennedeys.
Live art was displayed everywhere. At the Porch Stage you could find artists painting along to Marco Benevento, and later that night you would find two lines of painters spontaneously collaborating their ideas during Papadosio at the Amplitheater Stage. On another note, yoga practices were held daily out in the fields during the day to catch the little warmth of the weekend.
Aura Music and Arts Festival is definitely a rising and growing festival you will want to be a part of. I would recommend this gathering of beautiful art, sweet music and interaction to anyone. Check out Aura Music and Art Festival and the absolutely gorgeous Spirit of Suwannee Music Park for the next year when you want to escape to Florida.