The Return of the Great Hulaween Music Festival | 2019 Review

I could not contain my excitement to hear the news of Hulaween Music Festival coming back in 2019! I knew I was going to make it one way or another. From all the festivals I’ve been to, Hulaween holds a special place in my heart. It is the one who has let me feel so welcomed and free by others. The one that has allowed me to explore my new talents in such a beautiful way. The one that has brought me closer to old friends and new. Hulaween is the one festival I will always make it out to, and here’s why.

The Experience

Hulaween has a unique experience that has yet to be matched by any other festival I’ve been to. The campgrounds are amazing consisting of beautiful trees with Spanish moss.  The campsites are first come first serve wherever you want. There are no limits or boxes you are confined too. You see a spot you like, and you take it. I would suggest getting there as early as you can if you want a close spot as people get there as early as the Saturday before the fest. My crew got there Tuesday to lock down our spot. I came in Wednesday and there was already a good amount of people there. Hulaween is also, to my knowledge, the only festival that allows you to either rent or bring golf carts. You will see others on little pit bikes, doodlebugs, and bicycles. I would recommend bringing something of the same to easily explore the grounds as they are huge. Staff and security were quick and efficient when driving into the campground and when enter the stages.  The art installations are always top notch with huge painted murals to flame shooting structures. If you want a compliment, feel free to drop by their Complement Bar. Want to have a conversation with a tree? No worries, they have some walking around that will tell you the most trippy things you’ll hear for the day.  Lets also not forget the most magical spot of Hulaween, Spirit Lake. This, to me, is something that is not to be described and only to be experience. It is Hulaween’s signature.

The Music

Every year, Hulaween has absolutely nailed it with the lineup. It’s extremely hard for festivals to keep everyone happy, but I believe Hula does a fantastic job keeping the balance. Hulaween ranges from artists you’ve always wanted to see, to artists you had no idea you wanted to see so bad until Hulaween introduced you to them. This year’s lineup included artist like Anderson .Paak (yes lawd!), Bassnectar, Jason Isbell, Flying Lotus, Tycho, and of course 7 sets of Cheese! With so many artists to mention, here are my highlights.

Magic City Hippies absolutely started my day right Thursday. I had never listened to them before Hula and after listening to previous sets, I knew they were not to be missed. EOTO brought an awesome energy to the Amp Stage that served as an absolute way to prepared for Tycho. During Tycho’s performance, I never thought it could get any better. That’s until he brought out Saint Sinner to do vocals for them. It was amazing to me considering I’ve been wanting to see her live for a while now and Tycho just happened to bring her out. What better way to rage on Thursday than to head to Spirit Lake where they had the heavy bass hitters Whipped Cream, Peekaboo, and Snails perform. I have never seen such wild crowd become more and more amped after each artist.

Friday brought the funk with artist like Lettuce, The Motet, and The Funk Hunters. The energy was alive, and everyone was in it to get down. This was extremely apparent when the legend, Tom Morello took stage. I got to the pit early ready to see this guy shred his entrance. The music started playing and he was nowhere on stage. That’s when I turned around and realized he started his set standing in the middle of the crowd! I ran over as fast as I could to get front and center! Later that day artist such as the amazing Clozee, Jai Wolf, STS9, Break Science, and Bassnectar took stage. As I think about the end of this day, I can’t help but have a huge smile on my face as Marc Rebillet insane musical talent fills my head. Marc was someone I’ve been watching over Facebook/YouTube for some time now. All his sets, performances, and streams are 100% improvised. He has no direction or setlist. Only what he and the crowd feels in the moment. His performance was phenomenal, and I can wait to see him again. I thank Hulaween the opportunity to be able to see him perform live.

The twin duo MZG filled up The Amp early Saturday afternoon with a killer set that made everyone hype. CharlesTheFirst followed just in time with his just recent release of his new album. Maribou State put on an amazing performance bringing out Obi Frankly for vocals. I’ll never forget her leaving the stage only to come back after a few songs and the crowd went wild. Her voice was serene and made us all feel the present moment. Saturday is also the known day for The String Cheese Incident’s theme set. They played every song from the 90s that I knew the words to.  The crowd was crazy and the music amazing. I will never miss another one of SCI’s theme sets again. Flying Lotus, as always, threw down a great set and blessed us all with his Hyper Cube set up. My Saturday came to a close with none other than the awe-inspiring Anderson .Paak. He filled us with his funky beats and looked ridiculously amazing with his Jheri curl wig. He also hit close to the heart with his Mac Miller tribute at the end of his set.

Hulaween had the right idea the bring the festivities the a close with some bounce music. J. Worra, Walker & Royce, and Tchami lit up The Amp with their house vibes and got the crowd right. Wethan also threw down a much harder set than I anticipated. Walker & Royce later performed a secret set at Camp Reddit. With the final sets in the bag, I walked back to my campsite with a grin ear to ear knowing this was such an amazing place.

Final Thoughts

I’m extremely grateful not only to experience Hulaween, but to be able to show and spread the experience with others through my pictures and words. Hulaween is truly something everyone in the festival world needs to experience. This review has me in a daze of nostalgia. I can’t wait to be back home at Hulaween again.

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