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 Wanee Review 
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Wanee Mushroom
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Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:14 pm
Posts: 58
Post Wanee Review
I wrote this up for a blog that asked me to talked about by Wanee experience... thought you all might enjoy some thoughts from a first timer:



Any seasoned music festival veteran knows that large-scale events that gather thousands of people in one place to camp out and enjoy a weekend of music bring with them a certain level of discomfort. From massive traffic jams that leave you stuck in your car for up to 8 hours (I'm looking at you, Bonnaroo), to scorching heat, and long lines for portapotties, beer, food, and security - music festivals have a way of inducing as much pain as they bring enjoyment.

However, this past weekend I attended a music festival that will forever change my perception of what a music festival can and should be: The Wanee Music Festival at the beautiful Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL. This fest essentially removes most of the negatives that come along with the typical music festival and amplifies everything that makes a music festival of this size so much damn fun.

As we pulled up to the festival on Thursday morning it was clear things at this event were going to be different from our prior experiences. Traffic was light getting in, and we would soon learn that's because we were late to the party. Even though the festival "officially" started Thursday morning, music acts had started playing as early as Tuesday. This allows people to arrive a couple of days early, find a choice camping spot, and get the party started a little early - it also ensures there won't be any of those hours-long waits to get in to the venue. Instead of being lined up in a field to camp behind our cars, the staff at the SOSMP directed us in to the park and told us we could camp wherever we wanted. We drove through and realized this party was already in full swing - folks we talked to along the way to what would be our campsite had already been there for days.

After driving around the expansive music park for a little while, we settled on camping along the banks of the extraordinarily scenic Suwannee River. While setting up our camp, the sound of a large group of people hooting and laughing could be heard echoing across the bank of the river - so we obviously had to check out what was going on. After walking a few minutes down the river trail, we found a large beach with dozens of people laying out enjoying the sun, swimming in the river, and enjoying a massive slip and slide built from camping tarps and an intimidatingly high rope swing tossing festival attendees in to the dark Suwannee River water. That's right - a river, a beach, rope swings, and a slip and slide. This festival is definitely VERY different. We were already having a blast, and hadn't even made it to the stages yet.

A short walk down River Rd (the main road that runs through the park) brought us to the main venue at the Wanee Music Fest: The Peach Stage. This is a large stage with a giant field that provides great sight lines and plenty of room to set up blankets and chairs. We saw incredible performances at the main stage from Widespread Panic, The Allman Brothers Band, rock legend Robert Plant and the Band of Joy, DJ Logic (with a guest appearance by John Popper), and loads of other incredible acts.

However, one of the biggest surprises for me, was the smaller venue at the festival: The Mushroom Stage. Set amongst the oak trees and covered by a natural canopy of trees and moss, this natural amphitheater is quite possibly one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen live music performed. The ambience and intimacy this venue provides seems to bring out the best in the acts that perform at it. Popular acts like Keller Williams, John Popper, Hot Tuna, and Galactic brought the house down while less familiar acts such as Big Gigantic and the Soul Rebels certainly made a bunch of new fans.

When it was time to pull the stakes and depart the SOSMP - I found myself really not wanting the leave. The people that attend this fest are some the of the warmest, friendliest music fans I've ever met, and the setting is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. If you've never attended the Wanee Fest before and you enjoy music festivals you should definitely check this one out next year. But be warned: it might ruin all other music festivals for you.


Mon Apr 18, 2011 7:58 am Profile
Wanee Pro
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Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 1:09 pm
Posts: 303
Post Re: Wanee Review
Well written!

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Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:06 am Profile
Wanee Gnome

Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:23 pm
Posts: 14
Location: Lutz Fl.
Post Re: Wanee Review
You got it right man. Hope this next year goes by fast.


Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:30 am Profile
Wanee Lover
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Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2009 2:02 pm
Posts: 1668
Post Re: Wanee Review
SSSHHHHHHHH!!!! We dont want anyone else to know about our little secret festival. 8-)


Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:39 am Profile
Wanee Lover

Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 10:35 am
Posts: 1437
Post Re: Wanee Review
loose lips sink ships! :lol:


Mon Apr 18, 2011 9:44 am Profile
Wanee Mushroom

Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 5:53 pm
Posts: 75
Post Re: Wanee Review
As a seasoned veteran of Wanee I am once again amazed at how well Spirit of Suwannee runs their festivals. They get it! All festival have their own vibe and the folks at SOS recognize and foster this energy. Never saw anyone getting hassled, police were around but never in the crowd and stop a SOS worker and they will help with a smile. I saw a fella pass out at the mushroom stage and there was a staff person there helping within no time, yet they remain on the sidelines the rest of the time. The gate security is respectful and, quite honestly, not real concerned about what you take into the stage as long as you are smart with it.
I did notice a new phrase I heard on many occasions. "Thats Wanee". Wanee is not just the name of a festival anymore...it is a spirit, a way of life for 4-5 days...a state of mind that has not left me yet. I can't wait to get back to Wanee and all it means.


Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:04 am Profile
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:11 am
Posts: 1671
Post Re: Wanee Review
^^^^^^What he said^^^^^^^^^

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Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:13 am Profile
Wanee Mushroom
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Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:14 pm
Posts: 58
Post Re: Wanee Review
Definitely had such a good time that it sort of ruined the memory of other music festivals for me.

Looks like I'm going to be heading to SOSMP a few times a year from here on out.


Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:49 am Profile
Wanee Master
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Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2011 9:24 pm
Posts: 5813
Location: Thomasville, Ga
Post Re: Wanee Review
amen!! :D

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Mon Apr 18, 2011 1:20 pm Profile
Wanee Mushroom

Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:05 pm
Posts: 57
Location: Valdosta, GA
Post Re: Wanee Review
Well said and very fitting.
I enjoyed all 7 d :D ys I was there.
Plus my 6th or 7th (can't remember) and my 3 yo little boys first.
He was the 2nd one to brave the water slide Friday. :shock: It was killer.


Mon Apr 18, 2011 5:57 pm Profile
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