Pack your dancing shoes and strut into the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. From October 5th-8th, 2023, Suwannee Roots Revival awaits, held annually at Spirit of The Suwannee Music Park which is nestled in the heart of Live Oak Florida. This 800-acre sanctuary, with the historic Suwannee River running through it and its towering cypress trees draped in Spanish moss, sets the stage for an unforgettable celebration of music and community. It’s where Florida’s natural beauty harmonizes with the vibrant sounds of unbelievable music, creating an enchanting experience that’s as timeless as it is unique. As the sun sets over this musical haven, you’ll discover that the Suwannee Roots Revival is more than a festival; it’s a journey into the heart of Florida’s soul, where music and friends unite to create memories that last a lifetime.
This year’s lineup is a smorgasbord of musical talent that spans genres and generations. Headlining the festival are Trampled By Turtles, an American bluegrass-influenced folk band from Duluth, Minnesota, known for their chart-topping albums and unique blend of traditional and modern sounds. The legendary Peter Rowan takes the festival to another level with his band, an ensemble of seasoned musicians including David Grier, Mike Bub, and Larry Atamanuik. With a career spanning over five decades and a Grammy nomination, Peter Rowan has been a pivotal figure in bluegrass music. His band has graced numerous international stages and festivals, captivating audiences with their vibrant harmonies and original compositions. Rowan’s latest projects continue to garner acclaim, making his performance a highly anticipated event at the festival.
Hot Tuna Electric, a living legend in American music, brings their unique blend of blues, jazz, and rock to the festival. Comprising Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, the duo has been a cornerstone in American blues and roots music for over four decades. Originating from the iconic Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna Electric has evolved into a tight, masterful duo that continues to push the boundaries of great music. Their journey from 1950s Washington, D.C. to the global stage has been marked by thousands of concerts, more than two dozen albums, and an unwavering friendship that defines the very essence of the band.
Donna The Buffalo, a band that has evolved into a lifestyle for its members and fans alike, brings its blend of roots rock to the festival. Beyond their music, they are also the founders of the Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival, an annual event that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for arts and education.
Big Richard, a neo-acoustic supergroup based in Colorado, burst onto the scene in 2021 with an eclectic repertoire, and a focus on empowered female voices. The quartet has quickly gained a following with sellout club shows and festival appearances, even prompting fiddler Eve Panning to leave her teaching job to go on the road. With a genre-blurring approach that includes traditional bluegrass, old-time, classical, and modern influences, Big Richard is poised to make a significant impact on the Americana music world.
The Grass Is Dead adds a twist to the lineup, blending traditional bluegrass, and newer styles of bluegrass with the psychedelic influences of The Grateful Dead. Over the past decade, they’ve become a festival favorite, captivating audiences with their unique interpretations and arrangements of songs by The Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, and others. Their performances are a tribute to both bluegrass music and the Grateful Dead, creating a sonic tapestry that resonates with fans with a love of Jam bands and bluegrass.
Sloppy Joe, a band celebrating more than 20 years together, brings their own style of “Slopgrass” to the festival. Hailing from Wisconsin, they are known for their elaborate campsites that attract late-night pickers. With styles ranging from bluegrass and neo-acoustic-electric-old-time to country and jug-band, a late-night visit to their campground jam is a festival highlight not to be missed.
The Ain’t Sisters add a dash of fun and eclectic folk-rock to the festival. Fronted by the androgynous duo Arrie Bozeman and Barb Carbon, they deliver high-energy performances of their wildly diverse original music.
The schedule which includes the entire lineup is currently posted here. While the festival boasts an impressive lineup of headlining acts, it embraces a diverse range of talent, with numerous other bands and performers covering the best of Americana, Folk, and Bluegrass music. The sheer variety of acts ensures that every music enthusiast will find something to delight their ears during Suwannee Roots Revival.
Community and Camping
Roots Revival is more than just a musical event; it’s a gathering of communities. Some campers arrive days before the festival to set up some of the most unique and intricate campsites. From plush vintage sofas to repurposed chandeliers, the creativity knows no bounds. The campgrounds themselves are like neighborhoods, with a mix of tricked-out RVs, cozy cabins, elaborate glamping sites, and minimalist camping spots.
It’s a tradition for many festival attendees to be musicians themselves, leading to impromptu acoustic jamming at all hours. Two campsites, hosted by Quarter Moon at the Bill Monroe Shrine and Sloppy Joe at Slopry Land, welcome pickers of all levels. The music heard in these camps late at night often rivals the performances on stage, offering an added layer of intimacy. Look for both campsites on your festival program!
Amenities and Activities
Throughout the campground, you’ll find several bathhouses for your convenience. For those in search of supplies or a quick bite to eat, the on-site country store is well-stocked. The SOS Cafe takes care of hungry festival-goers with a delectable array of food options and a full-service bar.
Nature enthusiasts will be delighted to discover the kayak livery, allowing you to explore the picturesque Suwannee River. Additionally, there’s a remarkable treehouse on the premises, built in memory of the park founder’s wife. You can arrange a tour of this enchanting structure by contacting the park office.
While music takes center stage at Suwannee Roots Revival, the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park’s amenities and activities offer a well-rounded experience. Beyond the festival grounds, you can enjoy a boat launch, a challenging disc golf course, and an extensive network of trails for hiking and bicycling. For a fun and convenient way to get around the park, golf cart rentals are available.
In addition to these activities, the festival boasts a vibrant vendor section with plenty of craft vendors. Whether you’re in search of unique handmade goods or souvenirs to remember the event, you’ll find a wide variety of offerings to explore.
And when it comes to dining, Suwannee Roots Revival has you covered. Food vendors from various culinary traditions offer a diverse range of cuisines, ensuring there are plenty of options to satisfy every palate and dietary preference. Whether you’re a meat lover, a vegetarian, or have specific dietary requirements, you’ll find a delightful selection of dishes to enjoy throughout the festival.
Tickets and More
For ticket information and to secure your spot at this year’s festival, visit the Suwannee Roots Revival website. With various ticket options available, there’s something for everyone, from day passes to weekend-long experiences.
Suwannee Roots Revival is a gathering of kindred spirits, a journey into the heart of Florida’s soul. It’s where the vibrant music and the serene natural surroundings come together to create an enchanting experience that transcends time.
Summon your fellow adventurers, load your vehicle, and journey into the mesmerizing celebration of music, and the warm embrace of the Suwannee Roots Revival community. It’s an event that beckons music enthusiasts, nature lovers, and seekers of authentic experiences to its hallowed grounds. Join in the celebration and become a part of this enduring tradition, right in the heart of Florida. Suwannee Roots Revival is not just a festival; it’s an invitation to discover the spirit of music, the spirit of the trees, and the spirit of the people in one harmonious and unforgettable gathering.