Nothing makes me feel more at home then reading the sign “Spirit of Suwannee Music Park,” and after attending many of this past years festivals held there, I can say none of them supplied the family-friendly vibe like the 18th annual Suwannee Springfest. From the root beer float stand to the kids tent, Springfest is a great event for the music-loving family.
Wondering through the campgrounds I immediately noticed something was a little off from other festivals. This crowd of a little over 5,000 had kids running around shooting toy laser guns at each other, along with huge pickin’ canopies to accommodate campground jam sessions. This brought about a great sense of community. Since it was the 18th year of the festival, many people and their families have been coming to the festival for over a decade. It was more then a festival for some, it was a vacation where generations of family can get along, beating out the more traditional family get-toghethers that some of us endure.
And what better to accompany this vibe than perfect weather? With the exception of some Sunday rain, the entire weekend was clear blue skies shining down on the beautiful Spirit of Suwannee Music Park. Festival-goers were able to see beams of light shining through the ancient Spanish moss. Each night started with a breath-taking sunset, followed by a cool breeze moving through the park. One moment that specifically stands out, was when Greensky Bluegrass’ Saturday set was accented by a natural array of oranges, pinks, and purples dancing along the sky. It was a beautiful moment for anyone there.
Furthermore, we can’t forget about the stacked lineup of musicians that were at this years Springfest. People of all ages can appreciate legends like Del McCoury and Sam Bush, and old-timers can get a taste of what’s to come from the headlining performances by The Punch Brothers and Avett Brothers. Every act seemed to find its way into the ears and hearts of all who were there.
For me, Suwannee Springfest was one of the best festivals I have ever been to. Everyone was there for the music; there were no 3-D mapped screens or awe-inspiring light shows, which can be great, but can also take away from the music. That’s why we all go to these things anyway right? The music? Springfest has a sense of connection that sends you back to your roots and I hope to be there again year after year.