Americana music lovers camped beneath the live oaks at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park for the 17th annual Suwannee Springfest March 21-24.
The first two days of the festival lucked out with fair weather. There were memorable performances by Spirit Family Reunion, Tornado Rider, Scythian, Von Grey, Keller and the Keels, Elephant Revival, Peter Rowan, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, Whetherman, Leftover Salmon, the Travelin’ McCourys and countless more off-stage in the campgrounds.
Day three’s weather was not so kind to Springfest. Thunderstorms cancelled many of the day’s shows. Park employees had to bring in bales of pine straw to counteract the puddles and mud.
Despite the heavy rains and tornado-worthy winds Saturday, headliner Old Crow Medicine Show’s set still went on. The 6-piece string band kept the rain-soaked crowd’s spirits high by playing their hits “Wagon Wheel” and “Tell It to Me”. Fiddle player and vocalist Ketch Secor revealed it was not the band’s first time in Suwannee, they had played there 11 years before.
Covering Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ songs seemed to be a popular choice throughout the weekend. Keller and the Keels did a rendition of “Breakdown” and Old Crow Medicine Show played “American Girl.”
Artists came together for jam sessions throughout the weekend. Peter Rowan joined Keller and the Keels for a number, as did the Travelin’ McCourys. Violinist Darol Anger played with Leftover Salmon at their Friday set on the amphitheater stage.
Festivalgoers who stuck it out in the rain Sunday morning enjoyed a sunny and warm afternoon of music by The Mosier Brothers, Donna the Buffalo, Peter Rowan & Friends, Jerry Douglas and Nikki Talley.
Springfest attendees can share their experiences and recommendations on the Suwannee Springfest Facebook page.