If you’re an internet junkie, then you surely frequent the popular bulletin site, Reddit.com, A.K.A. the front page of the internet. Suwannee Hulaween‘s producers, Michael Berg and Paul Levine, recently took part in an “Ask Me Anything” session answering questions from fans about the upcoming event. We highlighted some of the must critical questions from the casual interview below.
From /u/soysasquatch: “There has been talk of improvements with some stage additions and relocations. Can you discuss the changes and do you see any new challenges with set overlap or should we expect similar to last year?”
Paul Levine: “We are adding a new stage and moving the location of the Campground Stage. The new stage will be called “The Patch” and will be located in Horse Stable camping. It will run at the same time as the Amphitheater and we believe it will help take a lot of pressure off the Amphitheater and make shows there less crowded and more enjoyable. The new stage location is gorgeous and convenient. The Campground Stage will push Spirit Lake further around the lake, making it bigger. I don’t think conflict will be much tougher than last year, as we try hard to not have similar genres and styles conflict.”
Michael Berg: “Yeah, we take the schedule very seriously and think there will be little to no conflict on people going one way or another. The Ampitheater and The Patch will play on and off with Spirit Lake and the Meadow all weekend, ping ponging back and forth. We noted people’s comments about overflow at the Ampitheater last year and this is an effort to alleviate that and send people one way or another.”
From /u/zionstella: “I hear that Dance Safe will be there this year, is that true? Have you all gotten any blow back from the park or from Suwannee county about Dance Safe providing their service? Also, can we make Hula an official non political zone PLEASE?”
Michael Berg: “We want our event to be your escape from reality. Whether that is your daily life at work, home being a parent, or even just from politics in your social media feed or on tv. Politics are bringing out the ugly side of people the past year, especially with the current state of affairs with the current election cycle (see south park re: giant douche vs a turd sandwich?). While we will not censor anyone’s opinions or their right to have them, we hope everyone leaves it at the gate and comes to just enjoy the company of like minded music & art loving fans. You might just find me hiding from it all at Spirit Lake!”
Paul Levine: “Dance Safe will be at Hula and will have a booth in the vending area. The Park, Hulaween, and Suwannee County all believe strongly in festival guest safety and we all recognize that Dance Safe provides a valuable service to the public.”
From /u/drdankenshtien: “Do you guys (as the ones in charge of these kinds of events) get excited to see a particular show? Ever wanted to stack a lineup to your liking? Like would you “squee” if you got to book Steve Miller Band or if you could put together an amazing collaboration? Also, who would you book for your own personal magical music extravaganza?”
Michael Berg: “We are fans first and LOVE music. Some sets I am geeked for this year include: Anderson .Paak, Bob Moses, Rufus, Greensky Bluegrass, Disclosure and OF COURSE… My Morning Jacket.”
Paul Levine: “I know I speak for my partners when I say that we are serious music fans and we book Hulaween very much with our own tastes in mind. I love soul and funk music, and you can see that in the bill. (my partners love it too) Each year at Hula, we get the opportunity to book a lot of our heroes and favorite musicians. There are a couple bigger shows we hope to do one day at Suwannee, but we can’t mention names and jinx the dreams!!!”
To expand on the previous question, we asked: We’ve noticed there are a significant amount of first-time Hulaween acts on the 2016 lineup, as well as the incorporation of some different genres we haven’t yet seen at Hula. What were your overall goals for the music selection in this year’s festival?
Michael Berg: Our overall goal was to book a show we’d want to be at ourselves in conjunction w/ building and expanding upon what we brought to the table w/ acts like Chance the Rapper and Odesza in 2015 w/ artists such as Disclosure, Logic, Anderson .Paak, Claude VonStroke, Bob Moses, Rufus Du Sol, Oh Wonder, Boys Noize, What So Not etc. It was important to us while doing that to still remain true to our jamband roots, which we have covered with acts like String Cheese, Umphrey’s, STS9, Greensky Bluegrass, Lettuce, Claypool Lennon Delirium and of course the acts that fall in other genres but still appeal to those fans like My Morning Jacket, Gramatik, Manic Focus and so forth.
From /u/FloridaBacon: “During our last visit to Suwannee for the Disc Jam I noticed most of the main roads around the park have been widened to two lanes. Are there any other improvements to the park or facilities you can share with us? … Can you give us an idea where the new stage will be placed, which direction it’s facing, and how much of special persons/horse/stables camping will be used for the new venue space? Lastly, you two are huge music fans as well as producers: What would your dream supergroup look like? (Living musicians only)”
Paul Levine: “The new roads will make getting around much easier and faster. We also cut a new path that will connect the new stage and 80 Acres to Spirit Lake and The Amphitheater. This will cut down walking times from those areas to each other nearly in half. The new stage is in the horse camping area and faces the river. Special Persons and Horse Camping are all taken by the new stage, VIP camping and pedestrian walkways. It’s gonna be very cool. As for a favorite Supergroup of living musicians, that’s a tough one. Having done 8 Bear Creeks, we did a bunch of them already.”
From /u/whytheforest: “Hi, thank you all again for doing this! My question is regarding the theme camp competition. I know it has been done in previous years, but I never understood quite how it goes down. Do the judges just roam for a few hours on Friday and pick? How far do they look? Do people know when they are being considered and what exactly defines a theme camp? My crew is planning on making one and would love more details on this.”
Michael Berg: “Last year Paul and I drove around on a golf cart with Tara from Silver Wrapper who is our marketing director and on the artist relations team. We loved so many of them and ultimately chose a group we came upon who had set up an altar and were holding a wedding. Love won that day (and always). We will do the same thing this year. Basically deck out your campsite, name it with your crew, and have fun… the winner will rise to the top!”
From /u/Gabbbiiieeew: “Is the 80’s Stringier Things theme for the whole weekend, or just one Cheese set? A.K.A. should I pack 80’s themed costumes all weekend or just one day?”
Paul Levine:“Well, I guess that is up to you. Stringier Things is the theme of the Saturday night Theme set. Have fun the rest of the nights as you please. I think some folks will use it as a weekend theme but, not all of the folks.”
From /u/army_of_monkeys: “Hey guys, which have been your best and worst moments at HULAWEEN so far since the launch?”
Michael Berg: “Worst: Canceling Big G and Conspirator on the Saturday night of year one due to awful rain and the meadow being FILLED with water. That was the second night of fest we canceled that season/year.
Best: The overhead drone shot of SCI set last year when the entire festival was in the meadow just getting the F down together. Really felt like 3 years of hard work (at that point) culminated in that moment of togetherness. THAT is what HULA is all about. Togetherness and shared consciousness.
Runner up: watching and listening to peoples reaction to Spirit Lake last year walking around myself with friends. We can NOT wait for y’all to see what we have planned for this year!!”
Paul Levine: “For me, the worst moment actually turned into an amazing moment. The great flood of Hula #1 was tough, as Conspirator and and Big G got rained out. That was a total bummer. Got to enjoy the rain backstage with some of those folks and it ended up being a great hang. Probably the best moment of Hula was last year looking out over the beautiful crowd with my partners and realizing how special Suwannee Hulaween had become.”
From /u/nyvar: “Will the app be updated for this year’s event?”
Michael Berg: “The app this year is going to be AMAZING. It’s almost done and we’ll post about it on the socials soon! It will include artist data, the official Spotify playlist, the map, tips for a better experience and will ping fans with updates/notifications.”
Check out the full Reddit AMA HERE.
Weekend passes are available and moving quickly at www.suwanneehulaween.com. Ticket sales will be limited to 20,000 attendees, so grab tickets now in order to avoid missing out on Hulaween 2016.