For those who rarely dip their toes into the muddy, sweat-stained world of music festival culture, it can be easy to forget that one of the Southeast's best festival grounds, Spirit of the Suwannee Park in Live Oak, sits just three and a half hours north of Tampa.
Countless Tampa Bay music fans (and more than a few local bands) make their way up to Live Oak every year for roots, jam and folk festivals like Wanee, Bear Creek and Suwannee Springfest, among many others.
This weekend is Magnolia Fest, featuring Willie Nelson, John Prine, Kris Kristofferson, Stephen Marley, Mavis Staples, Drive-By Truckers and Dawes, among many others. Four-day tickets are $170 through Tuesday, $190 at the gate; single-day tickets start at $50. Click here for details.
We figured this would be a good opportunity to round up some of the upcoming festivals in Live Oak so you can plan a road trip. Here are five big fests coming to Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park:
Suwannee Hulaween (Oct. 31-Nov. 2): It's a smaller fest, but jam fans will flock to this one, featuring multiple sets by the String Cheese Incident, Sound Tribe Sector 9 and Big Gigantic. Tickets are $189 in advance, $220 at the gate; single-day passes are $80. Click here.
Bear Creek Music & Art Festival (Nov. 14-17): One of the biggies, this year's Bear Creek is headlined by The Roots, Bootsy Collins and a host of jam and funk bands playing multiple sets, including Galactic, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk and Toubab Krewe. Tickets to the Friday through Sunday shows are $175 through Nov. 3; $185 from Nov. 5 to the day of; $195 at the gate. Thursday is a separate-ticketed show, with tickets $50 in advance and $60 at the gate. Click here.
Aura Music & Arts Festival (Feb. 14-16): Electronic jam music is the name of the game here, with headliners Lotus, Papadosio and Conspirator, featuring members of the Disco Biscuits. Tickets are $125 advance. Click here.
Suwannee Springfest (March 20-23): Old-time folk music with a modern twist is on the agenda here, with the Avett Brothers, Punch Brothers, Sam Bush Band, Jason Isbell, Steep Canyon Rangers, JJ Grey and others on the bill. Advance tickets are $140 through Jan. 4, but you can get a $125 ticket if you're going to Magnolia Fest this weekend. Click here for details.
Wanee Music Festival (April 10-12): The lineup for Wanee 2014 hasn't been unveiled, but there is a big Allman Brothers Band logo on the festival's home page. Hmm...
-- Jay Cridlin, tbt*