Just like the holiday it embodies, Hulaween has become a beloved annual tradition. A celebration of Halloween, all things String Cheese Incident, music, art, and community, Hulaween has quickly become the festival not to miss.
The expansion and mass appeal of Hulaween was apparent last year with over 20,000 attendees, a tripling in size from the previous year. With such exponential growth in three years, new regulations and modifications to the festival are being put in place for Hulaween 2016. This year ticket sales are capped at 20,000 weekend passes, vehicles entering the campgrounds will be limited and must purchase a car camping pass, and a brand new stage has been added.
When it comes to car camping at Spirit of Suwannee this year, Hulaween has hired 40 extra parking attendants in order to help with the flow of vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Attendees will be relieved to know that, just as in years past, you will still be able to camp wherever you choose. “All we are doing is limiting the number of cars that are coming in,” stated Michael Berg, Producer/Promoter for Silver Wrapper. “We are taking measures to help the overall experience. Attendees who have been coming to Suwannee for all of these years and have their special camping spots will be able to come in and still get those spots just as easily as they would have at any other event at Suwannee.”
By limiting the amount of cars coming in, the hope is to create more opportunities for space closer to the venue and creating more room for tents and communal areas for large groups camping together. Those who do not want to purchase a car camping pass will park in a lot just outside the grounds and will be taken into the campsite via Hulaween’s new and free shuttle service.
“We are doing this to enhance the entire experience. It’s not to make things difficult, it’s not to make things more complicated. It’s honestly quite the opposite and a lot of thought went into it,” Berg said.
The brand new stage, The Patch, is another element of Hulaween that has taken a lot of thought and planning. The Patch will be the second biggest stage of the festival and will be located behind the Meadow Stage (main stage area) near the horse stable camping area. The idea behind The Patch is to help reduce congestion at the Amphitheater Stage.
“The whole idea is to keep people moving around the site and not have everyone in one place all at the same time,” said Berg. “There will be no more mass exodus from the Meadow as this stage provides a way to split up the crowd. After a show at the main stage, you’re either going towards the Amphitheater or you’re going towards The Patch.”
Artists playing The Patch includes Gramatik, Snarky Puppy, STS9, and Oh Wonder.
Additionally, The Patch was added because of the ever expanding music lineup. In order to book more acts, an extra stage was needed.
Way before there was a need for more stages, a limits on tickets, or even a stacked lineup, Hulaween had originally been The String Cheese Incident’s Halloween celebration. Bouncing around the country for many years, Hulaween never quite found a permanent stable home, until now.
“The original plan was to do three years at Suwannee because it started with Halloween on a Thursday and by last year Halloween landed on a Saturday.” stated Berg. “We all felt that if the festival wasn’t to the point where we wanted it to be by the third year then maybe it just wasn’t mean to be. Luckily, the festival has gotten to that place for us. Hulaween is not just another blip on the radar and we feel confident that we have created something in conjunction with the community that supports it and hopefully it’s here to stay for a really long time.”
It all started when a much younger Jackie dove into her parents’ record collection, grabbed that trippy Magical Mystery Tour album, and played “Strawberry Fields” over and over again until it was engrained into her soul. She grew up on the dreams and stories of Simon and Garfunkel, “Bleeker Street” being one of her favorites, the seduction of The Doors, Van Morrison, because “Brown Eyed Girl” is definitely her song, and the likes of Jefferson Airplane, The Who, Jimi Hendrix…you get the picture. It may not show on the outside, but Jackie has a hippie heart, and that reflects in her musical tastes today. While some of her favorites may or may not be jam bands, her taste in music feeds into many genres. From alternative, Brit, and indie rock - OK, maybe all rock - to pop, to rap, to electronic, she loves it all. As a northerner, she thought she would never understand country until she found herself on a Georgia farm in cowboy boots watching Luke Bryan shake it for her- yeah, she got that. She is a chronic wanderluster, she doesn't believe in guilty pleasures, enjoys a great Moscow Mule, and is an absolute music festival fanatic- you’ll find her wherever the music takes her.