The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park is full of surprises. The lore and the mystery of the park grows with each passing festival. At a larger festival like Hulaween, Spirit Lake is littered with special things to discover. But, smaller festivals can have their hidden gems as well. This year at Suwannee Rising, a secret power set is bubbling late Saturday night. At Shelly Smith’s campsite of The Brother’s and Sister’s of Suwannee; the Shelly Smith ‘n’ Co, Dirty Poe Disco kicks off with party starter Matt Lapham (Roosevelt Collier Band/Shak Nasti) providing a bass and notes for the first couple of songs. He rounds up guitarist/keyboardist Tommy Shugart, (The Groove Orient) who helps with both gear and some gnarly notes, drummer Shaun Taunton (Melody Trucks Band) lends his kit and time to the cause as well as Mark Mayea (The Difference/Ajeva) who provides the ivory.
I saw my friend Nigel Hall (Lettuce) and invited him to come through. My homies Electric Kif introduced me to the Ghost-Note guys, who are good peoples,“
“James Williams (MC for Orange Blossom Jamboree) somehow got 200 or so people to be really quiet and set the tone for the whole thing to really get going.” Melody Trucks Band soon joins in the fun and plays low and the crowd has to stay quiet to appreciate the soft set. Kaleigh Baker (w/Someday Honey) and friends join for some vocally centered songs before the guys from Ghost-Note join in the fun. MonoNeon (Ghost-Note) sounded great in the intimate setting as well as the rest of the gentlemen from Miami’s hottest jazz/funk outfit.
The next time I look up and we have a full on Ghost-Lettuce sighting with Adam Deitch (Lettuce) on drums, MonoNeon (Ghost-Note) on bass, Peter Knudsen (Ghost-Note) on guitar with Hall (Lettuce) on keys. Tampa rapper Nook Nguyen (GoldenEra/Sonic Stew) builds up bars with Hall as the tunes breathe space for hip-hop.
Things get jazzy as well when the fellas cover “Actual Proof” by Herbie Hancock. Jesus Coomes (Lettuce) slaps the bass a bit for the finale and the jam breaks up around six in the morning.
Arguably the coolest moment I have ever witnessed in the park. This is as close to Jam Cruise jam-room experience as I have had in my 20 plus festival experience at the Spirit. Thank you to the powers that be for allowing this all to happen.
It would be remiss to omit that Brian Hughes helped set up power and lights for the event. Photos and videos by Carmelo Conte III & Kyla Dismukes.
Suwannee Rising “Secret Set” article by Spencer.
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