Eric Garcia is a Miami-based talent buyer and lead singer of Juke, which will perform at this year's Hulaween.
Ah, the jamband scene. It's not just for your pothead uncle anymore. The scene is growing and evolving — becoming very organized. It's also a scene that most of Miami isn't as aware of as it should be.
Hulaween is a “jamband” festival that happens on Halloween weekend, and it embodies the evolution of the scene and why it's not going anywhere soon. Hulaween happens up in Northern Florida on the outskirts of a little town called Live Oak. There you will find the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park, a 600-acre piece of pristine land on the bank of the Suwannee River. The park attracts all kinds of hikers, campers, kayakers, and also the occasional monster music festival. The biggest one you may know is Wanee, but there's also Aura, the Purple Hatters Ball, Magnolia Fest, the Blackwater Music Festival, and the list goes on.
People come from all over the country and pay hundreds of dollars to get down to their favorite bands, camp out, and do whatever else they goddamn feel like.
However, these people are no longer just aging hippies. These days, you'll find businessmen, students, and people from all walks of life gettin' down in the swamp.
That's because the jamband world smartened up. The genre no longer consists of old guys
It seems that the jamband subculture has split into sects, and that seems to be a healthy thing. These people are open-minded as long as the musicianship is good, which it most certainly will be at Suwannee's Hulaween.
I asked the director of Hulaween, Paul Levine, to describe the jamband scene for the uninitiated. “I think that the word '
The headliner for this year's Hulaween is The String Cheese Incident. They have a monster following and are most certainly what most consider a “
What is really interesting are bands like The Heavy Pets, Greenhouse Lounge, Dopapad,
Let me credit clubs in Broward like Revolution for continuing to provide quality
The Fillmore also does it right for the heavy hitters. But the problem in Dade County is where and when can those up-and-coming bands put down their roots? They seem to be blowing up everywhere else in the country.
In order for a scene/genre to flourish, people need to get in on the ground floor. They need to play in local clubs so people will go with their friends and then, boom, they get hooked into the movement. They need to get to know these bands on an intimate level and invest in them emotionally. The
What that basically means is that they contractually prevent them from playing in Miami. The goal of the radius clause is to try and drive as many South Florida fans to one specific venue, which makes business sense from the perspective of that venue, but let's face it: how many Miamians are really going to make that drive? That is a borderline and arguably unreasonably large radius, from Boca to Miami. Promoters in Miami aren't able to offer these bands as much as they are worth in Broward and Boca anyway. So the shows simply don't happen. They become a tree in the woods that nobody heard.
So what can we do about this as a Miami music community?
Firstly, let's assemble our music lovers and start to further congregate at these special events that happen up at places like Suwannee Music park. Experience these bands in their natural habitat. Worst comes to worst, we get out of town for a couple days and have some fucking fun.
Secondly, research the ones we might be stoked to check out and demand the acts that we like — big and small. We are a big city and when we want to eat, we eat.
By the way, we have some Miami talent that play these things. How about coming up to support them and represent? Bands like the Roosevelt Collier Trio and his band The Lee Boys are also crushing it everywhere across the country.
I spoke with Anders Sherberger, founder of Massive Ideas and the first annual Fractal Beach festival taking place March 11 through the13 in Virginia Key. He's been doing tons for the Miami music scene, especially on the EDM fringe. "In my opinion, Miami and South
"However, the scene is in sort of a weird place right now with so many clubs closing. Some might say it's lack of support from the community. Who wants to pay $10 to see a local band when Bacardi is hosting a free mansion party down the street with Tiesto spinning? But in reality it was gentrification and condo development that did in the clubs. Lack of venues isn't stopping the
He seems awfully hopeful. Should we all be? Or should we also do something about it?
Suwannee Hulaween. Friday October 30 to Sunday November 1, at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park, 3076 95th Dr., Live Oak; 386-364-1683; suwanneehulaween.com. Tickets cost $105 to $499 plus fees via suwanneehulaween.com