1. Love is in the air! The festival officially kicked off on Valentines Day. I personally can think of no better way to spend a holiday with your significant other than at a festival in the romantic grounds of Suwannee all weekend. Couples were everywhere – dressed in matching theme costumes, snuggling in hammocks, bonding over acro-yoga workshops.
2. It has become tradition at Aura for at least one artist to do an entire cover set. Last year, Kung-Fu covered Stevie Wonder songs with Nigel Hall leading the performance on vocals. This year Stokeswood chose to do a Hall & Oats set that was truly magnificent. We were wary of if they would be able to pull it off, but Stokeswood had the whole crowd dancing and singing along, and you could tell they were having a blast on stage as well. Start Making Sense played a late night Talking Heads tribute set that packed out the music hall and gave us all a blast from the past.
3. You can’t mention Suwannee without talking about the food vendors. It’s always a joy to see a friendly face serve your food. This year, Aura was stocked with the classics – Free Lovin’ Foodery, Solar Café and Fair Shot Coffee – but there were also some fantastic newbies joining the lineup – Goatacado (who were taking Valentine’s dinner reservations at a wooden table complete with candles and flowers), Funkadelic Food Truck, and even a Buchi Kombucha lounge serving their famous fermented tea.
4. One of the best parts about AURA is that it’s not just a music festival; it’s an experience. They do a great job of creating a community by offering workshops and spaces that bring people together. This year the festival was blessed with the presence of Eagles Nest Outfitters, who set up a Lotus Lounge complete with professional lighting, a DJ booth, and ENO hammocks for festival-goers to lounge in. They also offered a diverse lineup of yoga and healing arts workshops coordinated by AURA’s Yoga & Meditation Director, Joaquin De Teresa of BoomYoga. Workshops included topics like Shake Your Asana yoga, Ecstatic Dance, Yogi Shaman Breath Empowerment, Flow Arts, AcroYoga, Chakra Meditation and a Sound Healing All Star Jam.
5. The VIP experience this year was extremely well organized and came with some proper perks. VIP guests scored a free pair of Vibram Five Fingers, meet and greets with Papadosio and Lotus, camp fires, heaters, couches, and free beverages and Buchi kombucha. Our good friend Meg Ryan ran the VIP area and tricked it out with tapestries and festival flare. Meg did a fantastic job of making sure everyone was pampered proper for the weekend.
The Suwannee provides the perfect setting for the Love that comes with Aura music festival. We can’t wait for next year already!