by Savannah Shray
As every festival goer must do, you stroll to the entrance gate of Spirit of Suwannee Music Park, grab your ticket or pass. A mix emotion of feelings start to surface. You’re excited, fearless, curious as yet the annual weekend of funky, booty-shaking vibrations is about to ignite for three days straight. All weekend long you hear people navigating through the woods of SOSMP shouting, “We want the funk! Gotta have that funk!”, all anticipating Bootsy Collins & The Funk Unity’s performance that upcoming Saturday. Bootsy Collins an original member of Parliament, one of the creators of funk music. Collins isn’t the only soul hitting singer that performed throughout the weekend. An assortment of music was provided each day, a little bit of something for everyone keeping every music lover happy and dancing. It didn’t matter, rain or shine.
Friday started with some wishy-washy weather. The clouds rolled-in saturated with dankness but that didn’t stop the party. The sun set and it was time to get funky. The night started with The Motet’s second and last performance with collaborative efforts by Roosevelt Collier and Nigel Hall. The collaboration and combination of artist is one of the most magical things about Bear Creek Music Festival. The challenge being how many artists they can safely place on stage because the curiosity to play with new and old friends is mirrored through each and every person at the festival.
The night continued with a clean, sharp performance by the one and only Galactic. The sassy female singer, Maggie Koerner, singing her heart out and special guest, Chali 2Na put on a stellar performance with the rest of Galactic band members. They amped every person up for the night and got the ball rollin’. Tip toeing back and forth from one stage to another is something every festival goer gets used to with shows being back to back.
Next, performing on Uncle Charles’ Porch Stage was Jacksonville locals, Greenhouse Lounge. The boys of Greenhouse, Dave McSweeny on bass, Zach Weinert on guitar, and drummer, Jon Wilkes were super stoked to collaborate with Motet’s trumpet player, Gabe Mervin and the ever-so loved, Roosevelt Collier. Jacksonville local vocalists, Juanita Parker and Myrna Stallworth from Parker Urban Band got the crowd bouncing and provided a great segway into Bonobo’s live performance. Bonobo Live Band has toured with a multitude of female singers such as Andreya Triana and Erykah Badu. When they performed in 2010 at the creek Andreya wisped all of us away with her soulful, whimsical voice. Szjerdene Fox was able to stir that same magical pot during Bonobo’s new hit song, “First Fires’. The ambiance created by this extraordinary band was one out of a funkafied lullaby.
Bringing down the house Friday and Saturday night was Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. Artist sit-ins consist of Roosevelt, Skerik and bassist, George Porter. KDTU’s Saturday’s performance was tributed to Ray Charles with Zach Deputy’s voluptuous voice pouring over the crowd. With such amazing night full of funkadelic motions, furry costumes, smiles for miles and an astonishing line-up it was hard to believe it was only Friday.
SOSMP has a close relationship with inspiration. When in its presence, everyone seems to find their inner artist. Throughout the night sounds of people creating music, hitting drum circles, entering/exiting the silent disco and fireworks cracklin’ throughout the fields of SOSMP. Painted fairies, fuzzy, warm costumes and glitter from the full moon to the ground are all left from Friday night’s ruckus. The sun began to shine and with or without an ice cold shower all festie goers were back at it again.
George Porter & The Runnin Pardners was a great way to get the day going. Porter wailing on the bass in the sunshine at SOSMP is such a spectacular involvement. Saturday’s line-up included bands such as Galactic, The Revivalists, Mike Dillon Band, Suenalo, Bootsy Collins & The Funk Unity Band, Robert Walters & The 20th Congress, Chali 2Na, and The New Mastersounds. Bringing down the night were artist The Roots, Bear Creek All Stars ft. Dumpstaphunk & Lettuce and so many more.
After Chali 2Na’s worded performance at the Big IV Amphitheater Stage people were droppin’ it low and ready to go. With a never forgettable introduction from Jambase writer and SOSMP family member Bee Getz, he got the crowd hyped up for the next artist at large. The Roots blasted off a set that was one for the books. This original Philadelphia band has been awarded a Grammy for best hip hop group and is one of the core entertainments for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. To finish the night was Bear Creek’s All Stars ft. Dumpstaphunk & Lettuce. Nikki Glaspie, crowned MVP of Bear Creek 2013 played with almost every artist that attended the fest. Hearing her pound away on the drums and looking up to her infinite radiant smile pumps up any festival goer. Highlight of the set was Dumpastaphunk’s & Lettuce’s collaborative cover of Dr. Funkenstein originally created by Funkadelic, a classic that any funkhead has boogied to.
By day three the magic of SOSMP has soaked into each and every person frolacking through the 600 acres that make up the park. Most of them not ready to go home from the creative funk city that has erupted. Sunday is now a day for relaxing and sunshine. Line-up provided but not limited to Jennifer Hartswick Band, Roosevelt Collier & Nigel Hall’s Gospel Surprise, Dumpstaphunk and Lettuce. People swayed in hammocks, smiling from ear to ear, a nice cool down from the past few nights of vibing with new and old friends is necessary before Lettuce finishes off the weekend with a grand finale. Nikki Glaspie sat in on drums instead of Adam Deitch. Guest artist that performed with Lettuce were Igmar Thomas filling in for Eric Bloom and Mike Dillon on percussion. Fans literally threw leaves of lettuce onto stage and had a huge print of Deitch’s face on a stick, icing on the cake for another amazing festival thrown by the SOSMP crew.