The Magic of Suwannee Hulaween 2016 [Review and Photos]


Magic has been the theme of my Suwannee Hulaween 2016 recap since the moment I set foot on my beloved second home turf, Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. I had the whole article laid out perfectly in my head and I should have written this over a week ago while the fairytale was still fresh in my mind. However, I returned to the “real” world and got caught up in the busyness of doing nothing really important like checking email, cleaning the tent, paying bills, etc.

I made countless mental notes during the weekend, ready to convince you all that this was seriously one of the most memorable events in eternity. Unfortunately, hardly any of those notes were recorded and the few scribbles I did scratch out on paper were eaten by dragons, like these ones:


Now I’m stuck looking for inspiration so I’ve decided to write this review for Sarah Melendez. Sarah is the gift-of-gab expert behind our authentically sparkly social media posts. She is also a healer of hearts, a friend to the forgotten, and my forever moon sister. Sarah is the ultimate believer in magic, UFO’s and anything else generally considered strange. She and I would twirl around in witchy black capes and decorate our houses for Halloween everyday if it were socially acceptable. And maybe one day we will make it so.

Ashley & Sarah @ Hulaween 2013

Sarah could not attend Hula this year but I carried her on my heart-sleeve everywhere I went like a personal talisman. Her blessings, coupled with the help of our features editor Courtney Scout, brought me all the good luck of being in exactly the right place at exactly the right time – just like magic. So without further delay, I dedicate Hulaween 2016 to Sarah, the Extraterrestrial Goddess of Night:





With Hulaween completing its fourth year at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, The String Cheese Incident has revealed itself to be a secret society of supernatural wizards masquerading as a mortal band. The past three Hulaweens were merely a trial run for the level of mystical perfection achieved in 2016. SCI and SOSMP staff combined powers to create a four-day event that was beyond our wildest dreams. From the adjusted traffic patterns between stages to the immaculately planned performance schedule, everything was exactly as it should be. Tada!


photo by Chris Rivera of Bearlosophy

The spirits of Suwannee are real, and they are pranksters. Did you walk into Spirit Lake and suddenly feel the temperature drop a few degrees? Someone or something may have brushed by you sending goosebumps down your skin, but when you turned around no one was there. Oh, but there was. The spirits love to play tricks in the shadows.

Did you circle around lost in the dark like, “I know I was just here. I know this is the right way”? Did you trip over a branch, or lose something you swear was just in your hand? It’s not your imagination. They’re always watching AND waiting for just the right moment to play the perfect Halloween mind game.



Like two twisted vampires in the night, Les Claypool and Sean Lennon entered the gateway of my soul with full permission granted. Threading their hypnotic basslines and fascinating illusions into the fabric of my being, the dark duo immortalized me…and I liked it.



photo by Josh Timmermans of Noble Visions

I’m one of the many fans who discovered Jim James’ angelic voice on the infamous American Dad episode, “My Morning Straightjacket.” There’s a hard drive filled with their entire discography stashed in my storage unit somewhere I’d forgotten about until the initial Hulaween lineup announcement was made, and I’ve been anticipating their performance ever since. This was my first time seeing MMJ and now I truly understand their cult-like following. We all need a light to lead us through the darkness.


MMJ Setlist: Wordless, Compound, Off the Rec, Spring, Evil Urges, Laylow, Rocket, Steam, State of the Art, Tropics, Circuital, Easy, Victory >, End of Run >, Highly Sus, Touch Me 2 >, Another Brick, OBH

It was the perfect time for salvation, right before the second coming of Cheesus:



Halloween is a celebration of the imagination. It is an open invitation to be any creature your mind can picture. It is a time to be as silly or serious, dark or colorful, strange or normal as you want. What is fiction becomes real at Hulaween. Who says there’s no such thing as unicorns or zombies?!?


photo by Patrick Hughes for Suwannee Hulaween 2016


Suwannee Hulaween has a magical way of transporting us back to our childhood. It is a playground for adults. You may have to return back to your 9-5 job, but at least you’ll return with a renewal of childlike joy. Hop in the time machine and be that kid again!



photos by Chris Rivera of Bearlosophy


I’m not really sure how to put the magic of love into words, so I’ll just let these images do the explaining:



View our FULL PHOTO GALLERY HERE and read our related Hulaween 2016 articles below:

Snarky Puppy, Karl Denson, Twiddle and More Talk Suwannee Hulaween 2016, ’80s Music, Exclusive News

Highlights of Reddit AMA with Suwannee Hulaween Producers Michael Berg and Paul Levine

Suwannee Hulaween 2016 Silent Disco Preview


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