Located just south of the Florida-Georgia line in Live Oak, the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park & Campground lives and breathes music, making it revered in the minds of music fans and artists alike.
The site that hosts events like Hulaween and the Suwannee River Jam will kick off its 2023 festival season with the Suwannee Spring Reunion from March 23-26.
Now in its fifth year, the festival will include performances from veteran Suwannee artists like Jim Lauderdale, Donna The Buffalo, Joe Craven and Sloppy Joe, along with special on-stage collaborations like The Infamous Stringdusters with Molly Tuttle, instrumental and songwriting workshops, a kids talent show and more.
The action will take place across five official stages — the tree-lined Amphitheater Stage, the Porch Stage, the Dance Tent Stage, the Music Hall and the Music Farmers Stage — in addition to the epic campsite and other impromptu jams likely running late into the night.
With the festival’s 2023 iteration on the horizon, we’ve thrown together a list of the must-see moments we’re looking forward to most.
This is Holler's guide to the Best Things to See at Suwannee Spring Reunion 2023.
One of, if not the best, young masters of the mandolin, Sierra Hull isn’t one to shy away from the spotlight.
The Grammy-nominated artist has been a common fixture at the Grand Ole Opry and other premiere stages, dating all the way back to her teen years.
She taps into that knowledge and experience to deliver mesmerizing country and bluegrass-leaning ballads that have one foot firmly in the roots of the genres and the other striding forward, pushing its boundaries and carving out a new sound all her own.
A festival just isn’t a festival without Leftover Salmon and the life of every party, Vince Herman.
Even with the frontman releasing a solo country album last year, his shows at the helm of the Colorado-based group aren’t slowing down any time soon.
The eclectic jam band will be busy throughout the weekend of the Reunion, with two late-night shows over the event’s first two days, helping to set the tone for the high-flying weekend ahead.
Coming with the Cash stamp of approval, Caleb Caudle is one of the most earnest up-and-coming songwriters worth your attention, and definitely someone not to miss when he takes to the Suwannee stage.
His latest record, the John Carter Cash-produced Forsythia, sees the North Carolina native at his most solitary self.
It’s from that place he draws strength, something that can be felt in the hopeful and uplifting nature of his songs. Caudle's likely to leave anyone who hears him better equipped to tackle whatever their lives throw at them.
At first glance, Big Richard are sure to turn heads with their ominous name, but before long the group will win you over with their intense picking that is poised to penetrate the bluegrass and Americana worlds for years to come.
After forming following a one-off show together in 2021, the foursome of Bonnie Sims, Emma Rose, Eve Panning and Joy Adams has gone on to perform everywhere from Colorado’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival to Mexico’s Strings & Sol.
Now with a Suwannee debut in their crosshairs, the group looks to extend their “BRE” into the Sunshine State, helping to break up the patriarchy one song at a time.
A native son of bluegrass who happens to have just as strong of an appreciation for Bill Monroe as he does Bob Marley, Sam Bush has long had one of the most electrifying live shows in bluegrass.
Known as 'The King of Newgrass' - going back to his days at the helm of the trailblazing group New Grass Revival - Bush’s charismatic on-stage personality and exuberant shows continue to be some of the most captivating in all of string music.
It's a feat made even more impressive when you consider he first burst onto the scene over a half-century ago.
Jon Stickley Trio
As dynamic an instrumental power trio as you’ll find, the Jon Stickley Trio generate electrifying arrangements from their acoustic setup.
The mind and genre-bending group navigate everything from bluegrass to jazz, rock and more to generate psychedelic string sounds that will quickly have your jaw dropping to the floor in amazement.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a Jon Stickley Trio song is worth a novel. Even with no lyrics, the group’s instrumentals are overflowing with peaks, valleys and changes of pace that help to set the mood and tell a story all their own.
With three shows on tap for the weekend, there’s no telling what stories and surprises they’ll have in store for Suwannee.
Jim Lauderdale with Donna The Buffalo
Suwannee and the Spring Reunion wouldn’t be what they are today without the presence and positive spirits of Jim Lauderdale and Donna The Buffalo.
While each will be performing on their own throughout the weekend, anticipation will be through the roof when they take to the festival’s Dance Tent to play as one.
Steep Canyon Rangers
Following last year’s departure of founding member Woody Platt, the Steep Canyon Rangers are starting to hit their stride with their newest member, Aaron Burdett.
That synergy will be front and center when the North Carolina group take to the festival’s Amphitheater Stage for what’s sure to be a dynamic and catalog-spanning performance.
The longtime Steve Martin-collaborators may also mix in a new song or two, brought out of songwriting sessions with their newest member in the fold. It's yet another reason to turn up for a set from one of the best bands in bluegrass.
Sloppy Joe Jam and Campsite Jams at Slopryland
The state of Wisconsin may not be one of the first that comes to mind when you think of bluegrass music, but Sloppy Joe is down here to change that.
The longtime Suwannee performers will be back at their home away from home once again, performing at the on-site music hall and leading a jam session on the Music Farmers Stage.
However, the group is best known for the wild shows performed at their campsite, Slopryland. The raw and intimate shows often extend long into the night and at their core display the power of music to bring people together.
The Infamous Stringdusters with Molly Tuttle
Two recent winners of the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album in The Infamous Stringdusters (Laws of Gravity in 2018) and Molly Tuttle (Crooked Tree in 2023) are set to light up the Suwannee stage during a joint performance that’s sure to be full of surprises.
In addition to both acts being comprised of some of the world’s best bluegrass pickers, each possess an unparalleled knowledge and appreciation for the music they now carry the torch for, leaving the possibilities for their forthcoming show endless.
This is going to be a you-had-to-be-there moment for the genre, from two of the finest in the game.
The Suwannee Spring Reunion will take place at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park & Campground in Live Oak, Florida from March 23-26.
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