A Few Thoughts On The Magic Of Purple Hatter's Ball June 11, 2018 12:42

Words + Photos by Dawn Cassizzi 

It always feels good rolling up to the The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and my arrival to the Purple Hatters Ball was no different. This was my first time to attend PHB, and I was pleasantly surprised by the intimate feel of this little gem of a festival. With such a stark contrast to the crowds and craziness of so many other festivals I’ve attended at the park, I felt like I had happened upon a secret; a secret that included Spafford and one of my long-time favorites, Lettuce.

After arriving and setting up the camp site on Friday, we headed in for a yoga flow to get our bodies prepped for the full two days of dancing to come. Yoga, lunch and bike rides proceeded the afternoon that began with the heady jams of Hive Mind; a take-off of Atlanta based band, Space Kadet.

With just enough time between sets for a snack and a “trip” back to camp, my partner-in-crime and I returned to catch the soulful and sometimes sultry sounds of Memphis powerhouse, Southern Avenue. Band frontwoman, Tierinni Jackson knows how to put on a show and I loved seeing her sister, Tikyra as the drummer. This band puts a modern spin on “Memphis” style music that will take you all the way from the church to the club.

As the day began to turn to dusk, Toubab Krewe hit the amphitheater stage to set the vibe for the evening. With a sound that is challenging to describe, but impossible to forget, TK is a band that is not to be missed! *And lucky me… this time I did not miss the chance to pick up one of their limited-edition vinyl releases of their latest album, Stylo.

Toubab Krewe was followed by The Heavy Pets, and to close out the evening, Spafford. After discovering Spafford at Hulaween 2017, I knew I would make my strongest efforts to see them any time I possibly could. For my second show, they did not disappoint and kept me on my toes for the entire set. Filled with twists, turns and surprises, they have moments that are reminiscent of styles of so many of my favorite, but very different sounding bands…and yet I hesitate to compare, as they are so unique. I knew I was on the verge of obsession, however when they encored with a cover of Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” merged with “Reprise”, my feelings were confirmed.

Day two began with a slower start due to some scattered showers, but as soon as the rain passed we headed in to catch the Roosevelt Collier Trio, Breaking Biscuits and Lettuce. Roosevelt Collier, whom I heard referred to as the “Hometown Kid”, brought several of his friends up to join him including Nigel Hall (keys), Eric 'Benny' Bloom (trumpet), and Ryan Zoidis (sax) of Lettuce, as well as Luke Quaranta of Toubab Krewe on percussion.  

Our dancing shoes were broken in just in time for Breaking Biscuits, a groovy-trippy collaboration of Break Science and Disco Biscuits that has just enough electronica to keep the EDM kids happy. Of course, the crowd went wild when they brought up Rosey for a cover of Prince’s “1999”.

Closing out a spectacular line-up, Lettuce brought the funk and left the crowd satisfied with the 11th annual PHB.  Lettuce gives me life, and I hope they continue to return to this extra-special, boutique festival. Thank you to Mama Margie and Paul Levine for giving me another excuse to return to The Spirit of The Suwannee Music Park and for honoring your daughter, Rachel Morningstar Hoffman in such a beautiful way. See you next year!

Videos via RexAVision

Watch Toubab Krewe perform "Hang Tan" here:

Watch Southern Avenue perform "Don't Give Up" here:

Watch Breaking Biscuits perform "Inside You > Robot Rock" here: