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May 18 / Josh

Southern Hospitality at the Allman Family Cookout

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Everything about the Wanee Festival in Live Oak, Florida is HOT! Whether you’re referring to the weather, the danceable musical line-up, or the food, Wanee Fest has you sweatin’ from jump street.

Hosted annually by the Allman Brothers Band and their tight-knit family circle, this festival delivers on the best that the Deep South has to offer. As one enthusiastic, self-described ‘Gainseville Gator’ put it to me in his rather eloquent, albeit somewhat drunken drawl, “down here, we got great music and lots of people who wanna have a good time!” As if I had any doubt!

As we arrived Wednesday evening, slowly creeping our way down River Road to find a campsite, an eerie fog and quiet enveloped our surroundings. This was quickly broken as we stepped into the bright lights and spicy Cajun-bayou-southern sounds coming from the mushroom stage with featured Nawlins acts, The Radiators and Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk. The latter burning through a rump-shaking set of James Brown classic throwdowns!

Day 2 was about as divers an festival experience as I’ve ever had in my 10+ years attending! A dip in the black water Suwanee River, including a trip down the make-shift slip and slide, followed by a nap in a hammock in the shade at the mushroom stage, lullabies compliments of John Popper and his Duskray Troubadors, and later, Hot Tuna. In the evening, we took a stroll through the numerous shops and artists’ galleries littered in between the two stages while Widespread Panic tore through their multi-decade repetoire to an ever-devoted throng of delighted fans; Jimmy Herring providing the heat with his lightning quick guitar chops.

On Friday and Saturday it was time to get down to some serious business; namely, the best in American music and food! The music was all around and unmistakable as Sharon Jones, Warren Haynes, Robert Plant, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, Mike Gordon, Rusted Root and, of course, The Allman Brothers Band, all gave jaw-dropping, mouth watering performances, proving further that their talents and spirit are as timeless as the river flowing through the southern swamplands.

The food however, took a bit more effort to locate. Sure, I indulged in some of the deep-fried, state-fair favorites; fried Oreos, buffalo chicken tenders, a “Big Ass Cookie”…but I wanted something to more.On Friday afternoon, tucked away deep beyond the dancefloor and swaying hammocks of the Mushroom Stage, I finally found it. I got my hands on a portabella-asparagus and goat cheese crepe; perfectly seasoned and piping hot! Not your average festy-treat…so good that post-Allmans that night I craved another! As I approached the increasingly popular crepe stand, there was a line longer than Warren Haynes’ musical resume! Hark! I decided to give the friendly chefs at “Pasta-Far-I” a chance to impress and they delivered with Rotelle with baby tomatoes, sliced peppers and grilled chicken in a tasty marinara.

When Sunday morning came, I had had more than my fill. Wanee delivered on 5+ years of my anticipation and there will surely be return visits. I can’t get enough of that HOT SWAMP MUSIC!

-Jamie Harris

6 Comments

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  1. Cryptic1 / May 18 2011

    Wanee 2011 was by far my favorite fest. ever. Including the likes of Wanee’s past, Bonnaroo, etc.

  2. RALPH / May 18 2011

    IT WAS A GREAT SHOW ,BUT AT THE LAST MINUTE WE GOT STUCK IN A RUT!!!!! WHERE THE MARLBORO TRAILER SHOULD HAVE BEEN
    HOPEFULLY, WE’LL BE BACK NEXT YEAR! CAUSE I LOVE THEM THAR ALLMAN BROS…………NOW IF WILLIE SHOWED UP. HELL YEH

  3. RALPH / May 18 2011

    IT WAS A GREAT SHOW ACCEPT WE GOT SHAFTED AT THE LAST MINUTE ,THINKING MAYBE OR JUST NOT NEXT YEAR

  4. Midge / May 18 2011

    Again, another great year, with some of the best music so far this summer…..except for the po po comin in our campsite of 25 people and going thru ours stuff…..what’s up with that???? Guess they thought we had something!!! Ha ha ha …fooled ya!!!

  5. Jables / May 18 2011

    Wanee is my favorite festival simply because the atmosphere is genuinely perfect. No better time or place for a deep south jam fest. HAIL WANEE!

  6. Jonathanjonathan / Sep 8 2011

    Very weak review. If I had read that review, I would think twice about coming.

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