Music Festivals

An Inside Look On Spirit Lake At Suwannee’s Hulaween

For a decade, Spirit Lake at Hulaween has remained the transformational cornerstone of American festivals.

This immersive art experience has consistently pushed the boundaries of creativity, drawing in sculptors, fire and metal workers, painters, thespians, and lighting designers who transform the festival grounds into a mesmerizing realm.

As Hulaween celebrates its 10-year milestone this coming weekend on October 26-29, Spirit Lake has revealed an unprecedented surprise: an entire roster of art programming accessible before the festival begins.

In previous years, this information was shrouded in mystery until attendees arrived. However, 2023 marks a significant shift with every artist and art collective receiving due credit across the festival’s digital platforms, websites, onsite signage, and more.

Photo credit Tara Gracer 

Hulaween has always nestled Spirit Lake on the right side of the lake connecting it to the rest of the festival. But this year it will be a complete 360 around the whole lake, doubling the amount of adventure.

One of the most beloved features that Spirit Lake offers is the Incendia art stage. Conceptualized by Cory Glenn, it utilizes a unique technique to capture fire’s glow, crafting an illuminating ambiance for the festival’s dancers.

Incendia’s return ignites the dancefloor, showcasing the power of art to transcend boundaries.

Another highlight that enthusiasts can anticipate is the return of the daily projection mapping spectacle by the esteemed professionals, Jasper & Shelby Mosher. This perennial favorite promises to enchant audiences at the water’s edge, a testament to its enduring appeal.

The infamous Frick Frack Black Jack, led by the enigmatic Marvelous Marv, will once again grace Hulaween with its no-cash, no-limit blackjack game.

The Frick Frack brand has become synonymous with quirky experiences, delighting festival-goers across the United States.

The Mural Maze, which made its debut a decade ago, has grown exponentially. Covering a sprawling 15,000 square feet, it offers an engaging experience for attendees while providing exposure and growth opportunities for visual artists.

This year, Ania Amador will lead The Mural Maze, expanding it to include the Deliberate Creation Station, The Gallery, displaying artwork, and the Hydration Station. 

A particularly innovative installation comes from “Save the TV’s Irregular Scheduled Programming.” This project breathes new life into old tube televisions, encouraging attendees to rethink the disposal of electronic waste. It’s a testament to art’s ability to spark conversations and provoke thought. 

Essi Rhodes’ installation, Chatterpillars, consists of two human-sized caterpillars designed to inspire a change in perspective. Festival-goers can interact with these caterpillars by speaking into their mouths, creating a sense of childhood playground nostalgia.

Photo credit Josh Skolnik

Driving this new era for Spirit Lake is the Creative Director, Justin Bolognino, the CEO and co-founder of META. His portfolio includes designing artistic experiences in collaboration with renowned artists such as Skrillex, Phish, and Porter Robinson.

Beyond the music world, META has worked with brands like Google, Spotify, and Samsung. As Spirit Lake’s Creative Director, Bolognino has revitalized the classic installations that fans adore while curating ten additional installations and experiences.

Spirit Lake has undeniably become an integral part of Hulaween’s identity. With a staggering array of art installations and activities that mesmerize fans year after year, it’s clear that the power of art to transcend boundaries and inspire is alive and well at Hulaween’s Spirit Lake.

The decade of artistry is not just a celebration, but also a testament to the enduring magic of creativity that continues to captivate the hearts and minds of festival-goers.

All photos provided by Hulaween

Written by
Emily Harvey

Aspiring Florida Journalist/Photographer enjoying the world and all the music it has to offer.

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