One of the most active venues on the music festival circuit is the Spirit of Suwanee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. Located on the banks of the Suwannee River, the 600-acre music park is host to several festivals throughout the year. October in particular is a busy times for the park. Magnolia Fest is occurring this weekend, and includes acts from the country/southern rock circuit such as Lyle Lovett, Jason Isbell, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn. On Halloween weekend, the band String Cheese Incident hosts Suwannee Hulaween, where they will play three straight nights alongside several other artists ranging from dub-step to bluegrass. Then there’s the weekend of November 13th to November 16th, when the park is host to the Bear Creek Music Festival.
Bear Creek Music and Art Festival is notable for the large number of artists who play multiple sets. In terms of artist quantity, this festival falls far short of the behemoth summer festivals that dominate the landscape. However, the multiple sets allow patrons the opportunity to see artists they might miss at a much larger event. The artists come from the same jamband/indie circuit that fans can see at festivals such as All Good, Wakarusa, and Lockn.
The main headliner for the festival is Umphrey’s McGee, one of the many acts at Bear Creek who will play two sets. Umphrey’s have established themselves one of the leading jambands in the current scene. The sextet from Chicago tend to play heavier music than many other jam contemporaries, and are just as influenced by progressive rock and alternative music. Another major two-set headliner will be Dumpstaphunk. The New Orleans-based funk group have also made waves crossing genres. With their roots set deeply in the famous Neville Family, Dumpstaphunk have helped modernize the classic sound of New Orleans. Meanwhile, the New Mastersounds bring a form of jazz-fusion and funk from Leeds in the United Kingdom. They too will perform two sets. Other artists performing two sets include Zach Deputy, Lettuce, Budos Band and The Main Squeeze.
Not all artists at Bear Creek will do two sets. However, there will definitely be a few one-set acts that patrons need to see. Chris Robinson’s Soulive Revue is a new act from the lead singer of the Black Crowes. Robinson’s voice lends well to older soul and blues songs. Rapper Talib Kweli will also headline the festival. Kweli was once a member of Black Starr alongside Mos Def. Fans familiar with the Birmingham music scene should be familiar with St. Paul and the Broken Bones, the soul group who has been rising up the circuit since 2012. Electronic music will be fully represented as well, led by Break Science. Some other artists include Soulive, the Floozies and Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds.
Bear Creek will also have “artists at large” at the festival. These are musicians who have no set times to perform, but will make unannounced appearances during other performances. Some of these artists include George Porter Jr., Oteil Burbridge, Bernard Purdie, Skerik, Jennifer Hartswick and Grant Green Jr.
Probably the best part about Bear Creek Music and Art Festival has nothing to do with the music though. By being in November and in Florida, the festival has almost perfect weather for camping. The park itself is much better set up for camping than some of the larger festivals as well. Along with their unique approach to scheduling, Bear Creek provides one last great festival experience before season officially ends, not to return until April.

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