MagnoliaFest: 10/23-26

MagnoliaFest Ready to Rock the Suwannee Again
12th Annual Music Festival Features the Best in Roots & Jam Rock

MagFest - Spirit of the Suwannee by Nick Atlas
One of the most highly-regarded music festivals anywhere, MagnoliaFest returns to the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL October 23-26. MagFest, as the festival is affectionately called, is the festival that introduced the moss-draped Suwannee to the roots and jam audience. Many festivals have come and gone over the past 12 years, but only a few have managed to truly become destinations like MagnoliaFest has. A documentary film about the festival, "Music Farmers," appeared on PBS TV stations nationwide last year. The film illustrates how MagFest combines music, art, culture, camping, and community to create a festival that draws loyal fans year after.

This year's MagnoliaFest highlights the influence of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. Several former GD members and their related projects are set to appear along with an established core of other MagFest favorites and talented newcomers. MagnoliaFest actually began in 1997 as Big Cosmo's Sunshine Daydream weekend and was dedicated to the music and spirit of the late Grateful Dead guitarist Garcia. The name was changed to MagnoliaFest the following year to avoid conflict with another similarly-named event and evolved into a roots and jam festival that has presented everyone from The String Cheese Incident and Little Feat to Big Brother & The Holding Co.

The festival kicks off on Thursday October 23 with headline sets scheduled from The Lee Boys and former GD vocalist Donna Jean & the Tricksters. Friday includes a headline set from Melvin Seals & JGB. Saturday finds an exciting new trio dubbed KBM. Led by former Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann that also features Allman Brothers and ARU bassist Oteil Burbridge and Max Creek and Mike Gordon guitarist Scott Murawski. Besides lots of GD material, KBM also is developing new original songs with lyrics by none other than former Dead songwriter Robert Hunter. KBM Has a three-hour set scheduled Saturday, October 25. Also appearing Saturday is newgrass master Sam Bush and his band.

Festival favorites performing at MagFest include New York roots rockers Donna the Buffalo, The Avett Brothers, The Duhks, Moonalice, as well as Peter Rowan who will be leading MagnoliaFest's all-star bluegrass tribute to the late fiddler Vassar Clements on Sunday. Rowan will also be performing with his brothers Chris and Loren. In all, over 30 bands will appear on four stages over the festival's four full days.

While the music festival world expands, MagnoliaFest remains committed to presenting a music experience completely unlike any other. The festival takes place in an intimate, naturally breathtaking environment that takes pride in being truly family-friendly. MagnoliaFest attracts about 7,000 people, most of whom are longtime fans. These fans have helped the festival become a true community of music lovers who share of themselves and their passion freely. The campground jamming is much like a bluegrass festival, but the wide-ranging variety of music is more akin to larger music events.

For complete information including secure ticket and lineup, visit the MagnoliaFest website at

[Published on: 10/13/08]

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astroworms Mon 10/13/2008 02:29PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!



Bowlegged Texan Mon 10/13/2008 02:59PM
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Bowlegged Texan

Suwannee is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. Confusing as hell late night...

canoftunapudding Mon 10/13/2008 03:25PM
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Most scenic venue in the East

Nasty Nate Mon 10/13/2008 04:29PM
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Nasty Nate

Funny.. I dont think Peter Rowan is on the lineup for the Magfest site. If so I will have to stay for a while on sunday..

Nasty Nate Mon 10/13/2008 04:35PM
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Nasty Nate

Oh.. and I cannot wait. Disney and Hollywood studios this weekend. Magfest next. I'm gonna be broke as a joke.

gregboyer starstarstarstarstar Mon 10/13/2008 04:58PM
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MagFest is great. Best venue I have ever been to by far. Good times and good people. Only better festival is Wanee.

chidodger Mon 10/13/2008 05:13PM
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I heard nothing but things about KBM after thier chicago performance at green apple last spring,(pissed off I missed it) can't wait to hear what the new material sounds like, these guys could end up being quite a surprise.

Lightenupyourload Mon 10/13/2008 05:56PM
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SO EXCITED!! Rowan is definitely playing Sunday, if you don't usually stay for Sundays you should, crowd thins out and a lot of people get on stage to jam. Saturday's gonna be crazy and crowded (lot of people coming for the day for KBM). Gonna be a lotta "lost" souls wandern the campsites....

kevinegor Mon 10/13/2008 06:59PM
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Great festival but the site is owned by cops who go around with infared googles busting people in their tents. I know a couple people who have been busted. I stopped going a couple years ago. What a shame cause it's the most beautiful park.

Nasty Nate Mon 10/13/2008 07:17PM
Show -6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
DJ Saturday Baxter Mon 10/13/2008 07:35PM
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DJ Saturday Baxter

I have been going to The Spirit of Suwannee music park for festivals for over ten years. I have never had a problem. it has always absolutely the best time! Although...i wouldnt go to this festival this the Bearcreek music fest starts on the 14 of Nov. It has a way , way sicker line-up. Tons of super funky improvisational groove and dance bands. It actaully has the sickest line-up i have ever seen for NE florida. Bad Ass!

Hans starstarstarstar Tue 10/14/2008 07:52AM
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I love going up there, right in my old back yard. Shhh, one of the great Florida secrets IMO! Each festival has a bit of a different feel - from the raucous blues party with the Allmans, to the crazy grass of Springfest, to the hybrid of Magfest that really mixes somewhere in the middle.

You know, every year the rumors of super powered undercover cops spring up from probably shouldn't dismiss his comment completely ...its probably all exagerrated and I've never had a problem, but there has to be some truth to it. Every myth has some basis in fact. Suwanee does always have a strong county cop presence, some festivals more than others, and they do actively work the fairgrounds keeping public behavior under control. Its a trade off, cause its a great festival for kids and families too, and I really don't have any problem making sure people don't go off the deep end.

Hey and if nothing else the rumors keep the really dark elements away anyway imho ;)

Sadly, I won't be at this one (Panic on Sunday at the St. Augustine amphitheatre) nor the newly rebranded Bear Creek (missing Yonder outdoors here, I should have my newgrass fan card revoked) 'cause were having another baby...but the whole familly should definatley be out for Springfest.

oysteria starstarstarstarstar Tue 10/14/2008 08:41AM
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this is a great place. I saw String cheese on easter sunday's 4-20-02. They never came back because of the filthy pigs busting a bunch of their followers. Im all for keeping the meth smokng nitrous tank folks out of the place but i dont think a little THC ever made anyone crush any babies. I hope some pigs out there are reading this. surely not though. decriminilize plants and focus on the chemicals. you fucking idiot pigs.

gavinsthehydro420 starstarstarstar Tue 10/14/2008 10:32AM
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Ya i went last year right across from me those dudes that go around selling bunk shit wearing tye dye tearshirts selling bunk shit saw them sell shit to this kid they both go popped so just be careful its a whole lot of fun u just gotta be smart about what u do there are cops with infrared cathing people jus smokeing the herbal medication which is bs they need to be stopping other shit than just somking but Go to Bear Creek people november 14-16 shoulf be alot of good people good music there will be a late night tent if u want to take adeventure listen for music jamming in the night you will be very pleased they r from my hometown GReen Hit check em out melt ur face off n they hold it down so be prepared so jus dont smoke n the open if u smoke and get n ur dont do shit out n the open be good.jsu smoke n the car jus place it safe u will have awsome DANKNIFIED Weeknd everyone have Great Day see you ther if u make Peace n funk


iwantstogetfunkedup Tue 10/14/2008 12:15PM
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^^^ Does anyone know what language that is??

schofizzl Tue 10/14/2008 12:59PM
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yeah "G" try out some periods and get Firefox, it spell checks your entries before you post them.

Lightenupyourload Tue 10/14/2008 03:00PM
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mags been going on for 12 years and has a much lighter cop presence, imo, than the newer fests, i.e. bear creek and wanee, and other fests just passing through, like sci. the mag music folks have things worked out w/ the cops, and the cops know that it's largely a good crowd and leave mag-goers alone. but i can imagine bear creek's gonna be thick.

kider54 starstar Tue 10/14/2008 04:53PM
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Love the spot, wouldn't call it "one of FLorida's secrets" its pretty well known. Don't know about the infrared, but I most definatley got tackled, cuffed, and did time for touching a piece of glass. It was at a fesite with ratdog and sts9 back in the day. I was way out of town, and had nobody to bail me out. Almost failed out of college, missed the whole next week. Finally got out, walked barefoot like 10 miles back, and my car was towed, tent was all fuct. Most definately one of the worst times of my life. Definately less here than pressence than other festies, but remember to be on your best behavior.

Conjugal Burning Wed 10/15/2008 07:26AM
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Conjugal Burning

wow Kider54... that was one hell of a story. I admire the fact that you still love the spot after such a crap situation fell upon you simply for touching a piece of glass. right on yo. be careful mag-peeps

Lightenupyourload Wed 10/15/2008 07:49AM
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I think it was 2 years ago they had a checkpoint w/ dogs on the highway right outside the mag entrance on friday of festie. I was thankful I got there thurs but other friends weren't so lucky....

paulthewolf Wed 10/15/2008 11:00AM
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That is just not true. I admit that I am involved with Bear Creek and work with the park. If you feel that my comments are biased, so be it. However, there has never been a roadblock with dogs at the SOS. It just never happened. This is a conservative part of the world and law enforcement can be tough in enforcing the law. Over the years, through the hard work of the Magfest folks and others, arrests have gone down considerably, mostly because folks have learned to behave responsibly and privately.

Come to any event at this park, follow the rules, be safe and have an amazing experience at the best camping venue in the south. If your idea of a music festival is to be able to puff when and where you like, this is not the place for you. Be safe, respect your neighbors( which include law enforcement)and have fun.

Broesau Wed 10/15/2008 11:51AM
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I smoke meth and have never ever crushed a baby.

Lightenupyourload Wed 10/15/2008 12:11PM
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paul, I didn't say the block was at SOS. It was outside on highway 129, which the park has no control of. You obviously didn't read my post above

Nasty Nate Wed 10/15/2008 01:35PM
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Nasty Nate

I don't know Spirit of Swannee is nice. But Ginnie Springs has to take it for the most awesome in florida. Out of the whole south....

On the road block thing.......... it did happen, I remember.

Nasty Nate Wed 10/15/2008 01:36PM
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Nasty Nate

p.s. Schedule is up.

Lightenupyourload Wed 10/15/2008 02:10PM
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wow that sat. night amphitheater lineup looks sick!

kider54 starstarstar Wed 10/15/2008 10:48PM
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I still say that after some burn-out stole me and my family's rubbermade bin full of food at bear-creek last year. I think I know who did it, and he won't be back, so no worries. But for real 6-up, i was deep in the woods when I got popped. I got denied for a job as a stock-broker because of that. Still the music is worth it. GREAT LINE-UP.

Most scenic venue in the east, is an opinion. I'm partial to deerfields. But those 2 and nelson's ledges are by far above and beyond, they all have there own advantages, including swimming.