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Review: Wanee Music Festival 4/18 – 4/20

April 25th, 2013 -

Photo credit: Gary Gordon

Close to 40 different bands descended on Suwannee County along with thousands upon thousands of music lovers for the annual three day Wanee Festival at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. The Wanee Music Festival was first held in 2005 and has since grown into the largest music festival in Suwannee County featuring southern tinged rock, groovy jam bands, swamp funk, roots reggae and more.

Wanee is a fest hosted by The Allman Brothers Band, boasting a stellar line-up of musical masters such as Widespread Panic, Gov’t Mule, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Les Claypool, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Dumpstaphunk, Greyboy Allstars, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Galactic and more. This year’s festival also featured an incredible Reggae jam flair with the legendary Steel Pulse, Michael Franti as well as Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad.


You Know You’re at Wanee When…

You pull into check in and the first person you see says “merry wanee:)” followed by frequent sightings of gnomes, mushrooms and endless campsites tucked into every open crevice of the surreal, tranquil landscape.

You see the grounds magically transformed by music lovers’ RVs and tents dispersed amongst bright, colorful bursts of tapestries, lights and other expressions of individuality, peace, love, and community.

None of your cell phones work, you have no Internet access and while trying to get a signal near the main road, you have now given the same guy directions to his spot four times in one hour and you just saw him entering the loop the wrong way, again.

You are tucked away in the woods like a secret fairy-tale sanctuary at the “Mushroom Stage” surrounded by majestic and omnipresent cypress trees dully serving as the backdrop display in a natural amphitheater radiating a wealth of energy. The scene is perfected by random string up hammocks to truly enjoy the music in a “chillaxed” fashion.

The main field is jam-packed with people vs. other Spirit of Suwannee fests.


The Best Part of Suwannee During the Springtime is…

Breezy days with rays of sunshine and cool nights with little mosquitoes and plenty of campfires.

Wildflowers line the highways leading into magical mornings and evenings at the spirit-filled Suwannee River.

Bikes, bathing suits and barren skin abound instead of bulky, bundled, bodies in the freezing cold.

From the moment you set foot on the grounds, you know in your heart and soul you will make the Wanee pilgrimage EVERY year!!!



5 things I Learned at Wanee:

You should spend all your vendor tickets before you leave.

 You will get rained on, it always rains, it can get muddy, be prepared, bring your waterproof boots.

There will be set time conflicts between the Peach and Mushroom stage, deal with it.

You will feel a deep sense of freedom in safe surroundings but you are never alone.

Your  camping neighbor will be your BFF for the weekend.

You won’t stop smiling and you won’t know why!



The Best Wanee Music Moments:

 North Mississippi Allstars Sit In: Robert Randolph, Butch Trucks, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Oteil Burbridge: “Shake What Yo Mama Gave You”.

 The Allman Brothers Bands “One Way Out” Encore (Elmore James cover) with Artimus Pyle, Luther Dickinson and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars.

Warren Haynes and Artimus Pyle sitting in with MIchael Franti for a “Long Drive Home”.

John Bell, Dave Schools, JoJo Hermann and Jimmy Herring with Gov’t Mule covering Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer”.

Steel Pulse bringing in 04/20/2013 in the pouring rain with “Roller Skates” into “Rally Round”
to “Chant A Psalm” as unaffected fans, vigorously dancing in the water mud.

Widespread Panic’s “I’ve Been Working” with Artimus Pyle on drums, Derek Trucks on guitar, Susan Tedeschi on guitar/vocals.

Galactic, the final performance of Wanee 2013, “Ain’t No Love”, “I am the Walrus” Beatles cover, culminating in “When the Levee Breaks” to goose bump ridden fans. Epic!

One Response to “Review: Wanee Music Festival 4/18 – 4/20”

Jeb MacVittie says:

Let us not forget a true WANEE moment Gregg playing guitar with his son Devon on thursdays rock session starring Royal Southern Brotherhood

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