I’d heard of the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak – roughly midway between Gainesville and Tallahassee north of I-10 – but I’d never been there until last week. That’s when I was there to shoot a video for VISIT FLORIDA. The timing couldn’t have been better. This was Day Three of Wanee, the park’s most popular festival, and with SoS’s Teena Peavey taking me and the crew on a tour of the park, I discovered this place is far beyond anything I ever imagined.
For starters, this is no ordinary campground. Not at all. This is 800 acres of natural Florida where music fans from across the nation gather for events like Wanee, Suwannee River Jam, Magnolia Fest, and Bear Creek Music & Art Festival - festivals focused on music genres from bluegrass to country to electronic to alternative. We drove for hours (really) across the park and I saw that fans in tents and families in RVs had created a musical city of some 20,000 people ready to relax and then rock with a line-up of bands from the Allman Brothers to Leon Russell to Blackberry Smoke. Not only was the park packed, so was nearly every hotel room in a four-county radius.
And if there’s not a festival that week, campers and music fans arrive for horseback riding, bicycling, disc golf, trail rides, and canoeing on the Suwannee River, Civil War reenactments, free concerts, a general store, and a chance to relax in a naturally beautiful setting.
I’m already looking at their website for bands and performers that’ll be at upcoming festivals.
If you love Florida -- and if you love music -- you may want to do the same.
If You Go
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
3076 95th Drive
Live Oak, Florida 32060