WANEE FEST – 10 years of music & fun

Something special is in store for us this April 10-12th out at the Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. The 10th anniversary of the Wanee Festival will take place. And since it has been reported that The Allman Brothers Band will stop touring after 2014, it may just be the last time anyone gets to see them Jam out live at the SOSMP ever again. For the last nine Years, The Allman Brothers Band has hosted “The Wanee Festival” at SOSMP. The first year, 2005, there were a total of 11 bands. It grew as large as 44 bands and artists in 2011. . It used to be just the two stages, the peach stage and the mushroom stage. They have now expanded it to include the porch stage, the travelling stage and the campground stage. The vision has always been to showcase spin off collaborations from the core ABB members.

Oteil Burbridge, bass Player for the Allman Brothers Band since 1997 brings Oteil and the Peacemakers. Dereck Trucks, nephew of ABB drummer Butch Trucks, who grew up travelling with the band and who is well known in Northeast Florida at an early age for being a young guitar phenom, and who also has been jamming with ABB for years brings his band every year. His band now named Teduschsi Trucks Band, TTB, includes his incredibly talented, multiple grammy nominated wife, Susan Tedeschi.

Warren Haynes, whom has been playing the guitar with ABB since 1989 brings his band Gov’t Mule each year to Wanee. Another staple of the Wanee festival has been Jaimoe Johanson, who having been a founding member of the ABB from 1969, brings his collaborative group, Jamoie Jasssz Band. Some think what makes Wanee so special is that the bands don’t just play their set and wander off. They stay all three days. They are well known for stepping in with each other’s sets jamming sometimes till the wee hours of the morning. It is with these collaborations of music that many look back and remember most.

Beyond the core line ups that have come many times like Robert Randolph and the Family Band and Galactic, there have also been great bands from all over that have graced us with long sets of improvisational jams. Such names as Widespread Panic, Further, The Steve Miller Band, Bob Weir and Rat Dog, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, The North Mississippi Allstars, The Lee Boys, Keller Williams and Rusted Root have all played on the “Peach Stage” and the “mushroom stage”. They brought out all the big guns this year for their last hoorah at the Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park. So along with ABB, TTB, Jamoie, Oteil, and Govt Mule, the Headliners this year will be none other than Lynyrd Skynyrd. Also coming this year will be Lead singer and guitarist for Phish, Trey Anastasio and his band, the ever popular Umphrey’s McGee, Moe. , Blues Traveler, Rusted Root, Ziggy Marley, Soullive, Electric Hot Tuna and the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. An even more anticipated set will be Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk who will play a tribute set of Led Zeppelin this year.

If you have not been to the Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park yet, you are in for a treat. It is 800 acres of live oaks and woods. There is plenty of space to camp. They have showers with hot water if you get up early enough. There is a camp store which supplies everyone with ice, firewood and camping essentials. You can rent a canoe and paddle down the Suwanee river. If you don’t like to rough it as much, there are camp spots you can reserve with electric and water hook ups, RV spaces and cabins to rent if you plan early enough. There are some real bathrooms on site as well as a boatload of port a lets that they clean and restock every morning. You are allowed to bring as much food and alcohol as you wish (no glass). You just can’t bring it in where the music is playing. There are some simple rules like treat you neighbor as if you would to be treated. The festival goers are usually quite peaceful and happy. There is always a spirit of brother and sisterhood out there.

The price of admission goes up the longer you wait, so if you are going, it is recommended to get your tickets as early as possible. There is a very informative forum on the website if you have any questions and they even have an app you can download for free. All the info you really need is at www.waneefestival.com See You there.

About Steve Prendergast