Valdosta Daily Times


March 16, 2014

Suwannee SpringFest: Roots music returns

LIVE OAK, Fla. — March came in like a lion and will go out like a bunch of American roots musicians.

The Suwannee SpringFest returns next weekend to the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park.

The 18th Annual Suwannee SpringFest keeps with the tradition of bringing back fan favorites mixed with new acts.

The past few SpringFests and its autumn cousin MagnoliaFest have seemed almost interchangeable when it comes to the line-ups of secondary acts. The headline acts change, but it seems that the dozens of other bands are the same over and over.

This is more perception than accuracy. Nonetheless, this perception hasn’t been too far off the mark. Given the talent of these acts, it’s no complaint either. If these festivals are your cups of tea, there’s nothing wrong with the perception or the possible reality of such similarities.

This year’s Suwannee SpringFest has a solid balance of regulars Donna the Buffalo, Sam Bush, Jim Lauderdale, the Duhks (it just wouldn’t be a SpringFest or a MagFest without these acts), along with other acts such as headliners the Avett Brothers, Del McCoury Band and many more.

These tried-and-true returning groups are well worth a listen, but if you’re looking for live performances of something new and different, there’s more than enough to fill your plate.

This week, we view a little of the old and new for the Suwannee SpringFest in pictures and words.


Take brother Scott Avett’s funky bluegrass mix of banjo and kick drum, or brother Seth Avett’s guitar and high-hat, mixed with their harmonic voices, and the Avett Brothers melds the contemporary and traditional of bluegrass, country, punk, pop and even a hint of ragtime. The San Francisco Chronicle described the Avett Brothers and their traveling band as having “the heavy sadness of Townes Van Zandt, the light pop concision of Buddy Holly, the tuneful jangle of the Beatles, the raw energy of the Ramones.” The band arrives in North Florida only a few weeks after making a televised appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show.”  

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