Hulaween, the Halloween-themed festival put on by Jam rockers The String Cheese Incident, is closely approaching. This spooky event takes place from October 26 - 29, 2023 at the Spirit of Suwanee Music Park in Live Oak, FL. The lineup is pretty incredible this year, providing a well-balanced mix of jam rock, EDM, and funk, along with a side of hip hop. Viewing the schedule can be a bit daunting with so many great options at almost every time slot. Have no fear, as Grateful Web is here to provide insight into who to check out, from headliners to emerging artists.
Before discussing the bands on the lineup each day, let's take a moment to review the stage set-up. The festival has five stages with bands playing concurrently. The largest stage is The Meadow, which is a permanent structure in a large grassy meadow that hosts headliners and is conveniently located near the Canna VIP Lounge. The Hallows is adjacent to The Meadow, albeit slightly smaller, and will also boast headliners. The Amphitheater is nestled in the woods around the corner from The Meadow and The Hallows. The Spirit Lake and Campground Stages are much smaller and located within the camping areas.
Day One at any festival typically contains a lighter schedule. While the Meadow Stage is not in action on this night, the ledger is jam-packed with exciting artists. EDM headliners begin with Canadian producer and DJ Blond:ish, who brings her smooth house beats to the Amphitheater Stage. Producer and DJ John Summit follows on the Amphitheater Stage, with his high-octane beats and vibrant light show.
Jam rock headliners include the Kyle Hollingsworth Band on the Hallow Stage, which is a rock, funk, and jazz side project from String Cheese Incident keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth. Joe Russo's Almost Dead, the ascending creative interpreters of the Grateful Dead, have two huge sets this evening after The Kyle Hollingsworth Band.
Our emerging artist recommendations initiate with The Kitchen Dwellers, the psychedelic bluegrass quartet from Bozeman, MT. This band has been on the rise as of late and is the perfect choice for a late-night show at Spirit Lake. Get there early, as the stage is small and will fill up quickly on this first night. The Jauntee, a Boston, Mass-based jam rock and funk squad has a well-placed, late evening set on the Campground Stage. Finally, female producer and DJ Austeria will light up the Spirit Lake Stage in the early afternoon with her blend of industrial dubstep.
Despite the outstanding lineup on Day One, Day Two certainly emerges as a full-on buffet of musical delights. Future funk producer Yung Bae will illuminate the Amphitheater Stage in the later evening. Channel Tres, an American rapper, singer, and record producer from Compton, California, will close out the Amphitheater Stage with plenty of dance-friendly house beats and is not to be missed.
The jam rock headliners are quite strong on this day, starting with two sets by the festival hosts, The String Cheese Incident, on the Meadow Stage. Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio will follow with his horn-fueled side project, The Trey Anastasio Band. Finally, the self-described indie jam rock outfit that has been turning heads, Goose, will close out Day Two on the Amphitheater Stage. They certainly lit up the late night at the Peach Festival this year, and we fully expect a raging performance from this Connecticut quintet.
The emerging artists on Day Two are no slouch. We are particularly stoked to see Bad Snacks, an electronic/experimental hip-hop producer & artist who makes her own beats and sometimes enhances her songs by playing a synthesized violin. Her set starts at 4:15 p.m. on the Amphitheater Stage. The hip hop meets rock duo Stick & Ditty, hailing from Tampa, FL, who play everything from classic rock to country, with rap layered in, will be on the Camping Stage later in the evening. Chachuba will close out the Camping Stage with plenty of electro-trance fusion, coupled with urban and industrial beats.
Lespecial, a New York-based progtonic power trio, will be on hand for the late late night duties on this sure-to-be rager of a night. They draw from influences like Primus to create a heavy future groove. Their set lasts from 2:30-4:00 a.m. at Spirit Lake. Who needs sleep when music this good is still kicking at 4:00 a.m.?
The stacked lineup continues into Day Three, where famed electro-soul producer Pretty Lights will make his only festival appearance on the East Coast in five years. This is not the first time that Derek Smith has graced the Hulaween late night, as he was almost rained out in 2015. This already-certified face-melting set will take place at the Meadow Stage starting at midnight. The lone headlining rapper Smino will dish out electro-hip hop coupled with R&B at the Hallows Stage prior to Pretty Lights.
The jam rock headliners begin with Electric Kif on the Hallows Stage at 2:00 p.m., who transform jazz, rock, and electro-pop into a mind-melting experience. The Jennifer Hartswick Band follows on the Meadows Stage. Hartswick is better known as a trumpeter and soulful singer for the Trey Anastasio Band. Three sets of the String Cheese Incident, proceed, along with their guest-heavy set of covers that coincides with the costume theme for this unearthly Halloween party.
Incidentally, this year's costume theme is Full Moon Family Reunion. According to the Hulaween website:
Explore the universe as an interstellar wanderer embarking on a journey of self-discovery and magic. Dress as your zodiac sign, a tarot character, or stand upon the moon with aliens. Embrace werewolves, witches, or goblins, and channel your inner beast or protector. Unlock the mysteries of your destiny at the intersection of the past, present, and future!
Just prior to Pretty Lights, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong will take flight on the Spirit Lake Stage. This Baltimore, MD-based jam and funk quartet are no strangers to high-energy late-night performances. We are surprised to see them on the smaller Stage, but they will be a dynamite funk-driven force nonetheless.
Day Three's emerging artists are rooted in funk and start with Cadillac Jones on the Campground Stage, who deliver smooth and yummy neo-funk. The funky vibes continue on Spirit Lake Stage with Empire Strike Brass, a ten-piece funk squad with a well-developed horn section from Asheville, NC. As the day rolls on, Yam Yam brings the late-night funky feels from the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. They had a killer set at the Peach Festival, and we expect to see more of that on the Campground Stage at Hulaween. Finally, Melt, the indie-soul quintet from New York City, will close out the Campground Stage.
As the festival wanes on Day Four, the music will still bring the heat, starting with the bluegrass meets gypsy jazz and folk punk ensemble, The Jon Stickley Trio, on the Meadows Stage. The indie roots band Dispatch follows on the Hallows Stage. The festivities wind down early this night, as both String Cheese Incident and Pretty Lights have evening sets, with the latter ending at 8 pm.
Day Four's emerging artists start with QRTR, the Philadelphia, PA-based producer whose beats are an infusion of cinematic synth progressions and club-focused rhythms. Her set kicks off at 3 p.m. on the Amphitheater Stage. Sneezy, the funk and R&B squad from Chicago, IL, will keep the party going on Campground Stage at 7:45 p.m.
Jennifer Hartswick joins the Nth Power for the Jenth Power on the Spirit Lake Stage immediately following Sneezy. The Nth Power is a multi-genre playing, soul-preaching, funk machine led by rock star drummer Nikki Glaspie. Nikki and Jennifer have collaborated numerous times this year and we fully expect big things from these two musical powerhouses.
Eddie Roberts and the Lucky Strokes will close out this glorious festival, and usher the fans into reentry with a healthy dose of jazzy funk and R&B. Their set starts at 10:00 pm on the Campground Stage.