News

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:


Here's Why We Can't Wait For Purple Hatter's Ball May 30, 2018 00:05

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Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis
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It's that time of the year again, and summer festival season has officially begun. While countless festivals are scheduled in various, beautiful locations across the country, few (if any) can truly match the magic of Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. While heavy hitters such as Suwannee Hulaween and Wanee naturally draw the most attention to the park, one of our favorite annual events lies ahead this weekend: Purple Hatter's Ball. In addition to a consistently solid lineup, this  intimate two-day music festival raises awareness for The Rachel Morningstar Foundation (a non-profit 501c3 organization) in honor of music lover Rachel Morningstar Hoffman
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Purple Hatter's Ball 2018 will showcase a diverse line-up of music on two stages including the picturesque Amphitheater Stage surrounded by massive live oak trees draped with Spanish moss, and the much-loved Beach Stage which offers plenty of shaded area for dancing during daytime sets and sun drenched sand along the black Suwannee River, where festival goers chill on inflatable rafts and play games. PHB 2018 will be headlined by seven-piece super funk futurists Lettuce, who are known for throwing down some of their best live performances on the SOSMP Amphitheater Stage, and Arizona-based four piece Spafford, who are in the midst of a meteoric rise within the jam scene, taking over airwaves on Sirius XM’s JamOn. Also performing is Breaking Biscuits featuring Aron Magner and Marc Brownstein from The Disco Biscuits, and Adam Deitch and Borham Lee of Break Science. The experimental band has only played a handful of shows, and this marks their first performance in the southeast.

Additional artists on the lineup include: Florida-based jam aficionados The Heavy Pets, who are currently touring behind their new full-length album Strawberry Mansion; the one-and-only sacred steel master Roosevelt Collier and his band whose Exit 16 debut album recently dropped on GroundUp Music; Toubab Krewe with their energetic instrumental world music that blends Caribbean, Malian and influences from the “Dirty South”; the conscious world-reggae sounds of DubConscious - Rachel’s favorite band;  and twin producer–duo MZG. Additional performers include Southern Avenue, Hivemind, Catfish Alliance, Trial By Stone, and Vlad The Inhaler.
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Purple Hatter’s Ball is the perfect opportunity to experience the beautiful Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park festival grounds, during a laid-back, intimate and affordable event. Attendees are encouraged to take advantage of the park’s endless activities such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, biking, and disc golf.  There is no better way to experience Spirit of the Suwannee in style. The park also offers guest comforts including a general store, a full-service restaurant, showers and water stations.
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Here's a taste of what you can expect from the 2018 PHB lineup:
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Lettuce will bring an unmatchable level of explosive funk to the table.
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You've surely heard the Spafford hype. It's very real. Just wait.
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Break Science meets The Disco Biscuits: Need we say more?
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Toubab Krewe is back with a vengeance. Is there a more unique band out there?
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Suwannee is essentially home turf for The Heavy Pets. These guys always deliver. 
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Speaking of home turf...expect to see your fair share of Dr. Roosevelt Collier.
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Photos by Rex-A-Vision
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Purple Hatter's Ball Will Feature Lettuce, Spafford, Breaking Biscuits March 07, 2018 13:46

Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis

Purple Hat Productions has announced the artist lineup for the eleventh annual Purple Hatter’s Ball. Returning to its home at the beautiful Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park (SOSMP) in Live Oak, Florida June 1 & 2, 2018 the intimate two-day music festival raises awareness for The Rachel Morningstar Foundation (a non-profit 501c3 organization) in honor of music lover Rachel Morningstar Hoffman.
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The 2018 Purple Hatter’s Ball (PHB) will be headlined by seven-piece super funk futurists Lettuce, who are known for throwing down some of their best live performances on the SOSMP Amphitheater Stage, and Arizona-based four piece Spafford, who are in the midst of a meteoric rise within the jam scene, taking over airwaves on Sirius XM’s JamOn. Also performing is Breaking Biscuits featuring Aron Magner and Marc Brownstein from The Disco Biscuits, and Adam Deitch and Borham Lee of Break Science. The experimental band has only played a handful of shows, and this marks their first performance in the southeast.
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Additional artists on the lineup include: Florida-based jam aficionados The Heavy Pets, who are currently touring behind their new full-length album Strawberry Mansion; the one-and-only sacred steel master Roosevelt Collier and his band whose Exit 16 debut album drops Friday on GroundUp Music; Toubab Krewe with their energetic instrumental world music that blends Caribbean, Malian and influences from the “Dirty South”; the conscious world-reggae sounds of DubConscious - Rachel’s favorite band;  twin producer–duo MZG, and many more. Full lineup listed below.
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PHB 2018 will showcase a diverse line-up of music on two stages including the picturesque Amphitheater Stage surrounded by massive live oak trees draped with Spanish moss, and the much-loved Beach Stage which offers plenty of shaded area for dancing during daytime sets and sundrenched sand along the black Suwannee River, where festival goers chill on inflatable rafts and play games.
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A favorite moment of the weekend is when Rachel’s mother, Margie Weiss (aka Mama Margie), leads an emotional ceremony celebrating her daughter’s memory. Each year, they released 24 monarch butterflies – 23 to represent Rachel’s age when she was taken from this world and 1 for her spirit that lives on. This year, Mama Margie will share several positive updates on  progress being made by the Rachel Morningstar Foundation and unveil a documentary about Rachel’s Law.
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Purple Hatter’s Ball is the perfect opportunity to experience the beautiful Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park festival grounds, famous for hosting Suwannee Hulaween, Wanee, and more, during a laid-back, intimate and affordable event. Attendees are encouraged to take advantage of the park’s endless activities such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, biking, and disc golf.
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A limited number of early bird tickets for $49 + taxes and fees will go on sale Friday, March 9 at noon EST. Tickets will include two days of music and primitive camping. Mama Margie VIP upgrades that include two dinners backstage with artists and staff, an event poster and tee shirt and preferred viewing are available for $199. For a limited time, the park is also offering a very special deal - receive an air-conditioned one bedroom cabin and a golf cart for $400. There is no better way to experience Spirit of the Suwannee in style. The park also offers guest comforts including a general store, a full-service restaurant, showers and water stations. To join the waitlist for cabins, golf cart rentals and RV hookups, please contact SOSMP at (386) 364-1683.
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Stay tuned for additional artist announcements and details on live art, yoga and workshops.
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Purple Hatter’s Ball 2018 Initial Lineup:
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Lettuce
Spafford
Breaking Biscuits ft. members of The Disco Biscuits and Break Science
The Heavy Pets
Roosevelt Collier Trio
Toubab Krewe
Southern Avenue
Dubconscious
MZG
Vlad The Inhaler
Trial By Stone
Catfish Alliance
HIVEMIND
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About The Rachel Morningstar Foundation:
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The Rachel Morningstar Foundation exists to help the public understand the benefit of guidelines for law enforcement's use of confidential informants (CIs). Currently each state, county, city, college campus or law enforcement agency sets their own standards, laws or guidelines as it relates to recruiting and using CIs. The efforts of this foundation are dedicated to the memory of Rachel Morningstar Hoffman (December 17, 1984 – May 7, 2008) a 23-year-old Florida State University graduate. She was murdered while acting as a police informant during a drug sting that started on May 7, 2008. The first of its kind in the U.S., Rachel’s Law, a Florida law that went into effect on July 1, 2009, established new guidelines for law enforcement when dealing with confidential informants.
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Purple Hatter’s Ball Information:
Twitter + Instagram: @PurpleHatters (#PHB2018 #PurpAllDay #RachelHoffman)
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Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park Information:
Twitter: @SOSMP (#Suwannee #SOSMP)
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Purple Hatter's Ball Adds Dumpstaphunk, Zoogma, And More April 04, 2017 11:32

Photo by Staged Right

Purple Hat Productions has announced several artist additions for the tenth annual Purple Hatter’s Ball including New Orleans funk stalwarts Dumpstaphunk and live electronic four-piece Zoogma along with NickFRESH, POST.MODEM, Booty Boo, Jeff Randall, and Ion Zide.

Taking place at the beautiful Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park (SOSMP) in Live Oak, Florida June 2 -4, 2017, the three-day music festival benefits The Rachel Morningstar Foundation (a non-profit 501c3 organization) in honor of longtime SOSMP friend and music festival lover Rachel Morningstar Hoffman.

For guests that want to arrive early, PHB will host a Thursday Pre-Party on June 1 with Zach Deputy, Dubconscious, Bells and Robes, and Blackwater Grease. Tickets on sale now.

PHB 2017 will utilize three stages including the famed Amphitheater Stage, a Beach Stage located along the wild black water Suwannee River that is picturesque for daytime sets, and the Uncle Charles Porch Stage. The event also features live art, yoga, workshops and a silent auction, as well as a Charity Disc Golf Tournament hosted by Zach Deputy. Since Rachel was an aspiring chef, PHB will be adding a culinary component for 2017 featuring food from several top notch chefs that will be announced at a later date.

The most memorable moment of the weekend is when Rachel’s loving mother, Margie Weiss (aka Mama Margie), leads an emotional ceremony celebrating her daughter’s memory. Each year, they released 24 monarch butterflies – 23 to represent Rachel’s age when she was taken from this world and 1 for her spirit that lives on.

A limited number of early bird tickets for $79 + taxes and fees are on sale now. Tickets will include three days of music and primitive camping. VIP upgrades are available, as well as tickets for the Thursday Pre-Party. The park also offers guest comforts including a general store, a full-service restaurant, showers and water stations. SOSMP will be offering a specially priced packaged that includes a cabin for four and golf cart for the weekend. To join the wait list for cabins, golf cart rentals and RV hook-ups, please contact SOSMP at (386) 364-1683.
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Purple Hatter’s Ball 2017 Lineup:
Emancipator
Dumpstaphunk*
Perpetual Groove
Zach Deputy
Zoogma*
The Russ Liquid Test
Dubconscious
Roosevelt Collier Band
The Malah
MZG
Catfish Alliance
Lucidea
NickFRESH*
POST.MODEM*
Trial By Stone
Juanjamon Band
Parker Urban Band
Universal Green
Dead Keys Tribute to Scott Campbell
Lucky Costello
Vlad The Inhaler
Albert Simpson
Booty Boo*
Jeff Randall*
Ion Zide*
Isaac Corbitt (artist-at-large)
*new addition

Thursday Pre-Party:
Zach Deputy
Dubconscious
Bells and Robes
Blackwater Grease

About The Rachel Morningstar Foundation: The Rachel Morningstar Foundation exists to help the public understand the benefit of guidelines for law enforcement's use of confidential informants (CIs). Currently each state, county, city, college campus or law enforcement agency sets their own standards, laws or guidelines as it relates to recruiting and using CIs. The efforts of this foundation are dedicated to the memory of Rachel Morningstar Hoffman (December 17, 1984 – May 7, 2008) a 23-year-old Florida State University graduate. She was murdered while acting as a police informant during a drug sting that started on May 7, 2008. The first of its kind in the U.S., Rachel’s Law, a Florida law that went into effect on July 1, 2009, established new guidelines for law enforcement when dealing with confidential informants.

Throwback: Looking Back On Purple Hatters Ball July 14, 2016 19:41

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Words and Photos by Amanda Franklin: Live & Listen
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Last month, funky friends from across the southeast gathered at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park for the annual Purple Hatters Ball, a festival that was established as both a memorial and celebration of the life of Rachel Morningstar Hoffman.  The festival is known for its diverse lineup and intimacy, and this year was no disappointment.  Featured artists included The Floozies, Papadosio, The Polish Ambassador, Earphunk, Roosevelt Collier Band, The Mantras, Sunsquabi, and more.  Dynamic lineups always bring interesting crowds—there were those who fell for the allure of The Floozies’ funky style and Polish’s eccentric performances as well as those who mainly came to catch Earphunk rock the stage and groove to some late night Dosio.  Regardless of who people came to see, every stage at every set was booming and bustling with dancing bodies. 

Thursday night was a reunion of sorts.  Old friends embraced and sat on the deck of the music hall to share cigarettes and stories of daily life that happens in between festivals.  In hospitable Suwannee fashion, new folks were just as readily welcomed.  Around midnight, Sunsquabi began drawing a crowd inside for the pre-party headlining set.  The couple hundred or so people who had managed to get work off on Friday and get to Suwannee a night early gathered in the music hall to drink and boogie into the late night. 

The days at Hatters were long, bright, and beautiful.  Once more people arrived at the festival, the river became the place to be during the day.  After snagging a golf cart ride, I made it down to the river just in time to catch Funk You at the Beach Stage, which was jam-packed with jams all weekend.  14 bands played that spot over two days, and shorter half-hour/hour long sets kept the atmosphere ever evolving and interesting.  Down on the water, beer, sunlight, and laughter kept attendees dizzy and joyful.  Everyone piled together onto huge floats in the middle of the river.  A few friends decided to maximize their chill factor by floating the river in their beloved blowup festival couch.  I’ve seen that same couch several times around Suwannee, but I had to double take and chuckle when I saw it come drifting on the current, touting three guys comfortably in its seatJacksonville’s MZG took the opportunity to film a new music video on the river’s beach, featuring hundreds of smiling faces and a few hilarious tumbles down the giant slip n’ slide. 

 

As the sun settled its way low into the sky each day, people headed back to their campsites to prepare for the night of music ahead.  Friday evening treated us to delicious jams from The Mantras and an absolutely raging set by Earphunk.  Part of my face may still be at the Amphitheater stage after lead guitarist Paul Provosty proceeded to shred it off with riff after wailing riff.  Papadosio provided the crowd with a smooth set that seamlessly traversed between faster and slowed down psychedelic grooves.  Every note was carried on the beat of drummer Mike Healy, who skillfully controlled the group’s tempo and vibe  

Saturday night was nothing short of dance party.  Following The Hip Abduction and MZG, The Polish Ambassador did not disappoint, keeping things interesting as always, right down to the classic mid-set outfit change.  The Ambassador also stopped to share some powerful and reflective words on death and Rachel’s legacy before taking the crowd back into a celebration of life and music.  The Floozies closed the night with their signature sound: funky samples, distortion, and irresistibly danceable beats. The Amp stage crowd became a flowing sea of moving people—not a single body was still.   

 

The Polish Ambassador

When the last band left the main stage each night, by no means did the party stop.  In fact, it seemed to mark the official start of all late-night shenanigans.  For those who couldn’t kick off their boogie shoes, the Silent Disco was popping until the sun rose.  Those who wanted to adventure explored the grounds on golf carts, acting as a taxi service to random strangers who became friends within minutes.  People gathered again on the beach, but the mood was much different at night.  The Suwannee River flowed slowly in still silence, reflecting the moss-laden trees that tower over it in a perfect mirror image.  Creatures of the night swam in the river, bathed in the moonlight, and reveled in the pure natural beauty that surrounded them.  

On Sunday, Rachel’s mother shared some words before releasing butterflies into the air to honor a sweet spirit taken too soon.  The gravity of death, especially young lives lost, always spurs many thoughts and emotions.  I think most people can agree that life is too short, and we should use what we’ve been given to know and love as many people as we can.  Though her time on earth was brief, Rachel lived her life in that way, and everyone who knows her attests to that.  All weekend long, I watched relationships blossom before my eyes.  While this isn’t uncommon at music festivals, there was something special in the air at Hatters—call it the Spirit of Suwannee, call it Rachel’s legacy, call it the magic of music, but the unadulterated love and joy that drifted on the wind that weekend was truly ethereal.  Purple Hatters Ball reminded us to stay positive, present, and loving, and I hope people will carry that message with them and pass it along… Until next year, Purple People!

The Polish Ambassador

Michael Comeaux of Earphunk

Purple Hatters Ball 2016

Mark Hempe of Earphunk

Dave Johson of The Hip Abduction

Purple Hatters Ball 2016

David New of The Hip Abduction


Purple Hatter's Ball Releases Daily Schedule + Yoga and Arts Village Programing June 02, 2016 12:40

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Purple Hat Productions has released the daily schedule for the ninth annual Purple Hatter’s Ball (PHB) taking place at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park (SOSMP) in Live Oak, Florida June 17-19, 2016.
 
Purple Hatter’s Ball Schedule: www.purplehattersball.com/schedule
 
PHB 2016 will utilize four stages including the famed Amphitheater Stage, a Beach Stage located along the wild black water Suwannee River and a Campground Stage, which will morph into the Silent Disco late night, keeping the party going until the wee hours of the morning.
 
Closing out each night on the Amphitheater Stage is Papadosio on Friday, The Polish Ambassador followed by The Floozies on Saturday, and Melvin Seals and JGB on Sunday.
 
The Thursday Pre-Party will take place in the SOS Music Hall right after the Action Day with activist The Polish Ambassador where PHB attendees are invited to unite in action with their choice of awesome activities and tangible regenerative projects that will make SOSMP a better place for everyone. As a thank you for their work, Action Day participants are invited to attend the Thursday Night Pre-Party for FREE. To sign up for the Action Day visit: http://bit.ly/1spyFKg.
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The Yoga & Art Village Program will offer 25 fun, informative and healthy living activities and classes including: Kirtan Morningstar; BoomYoga Spiritual Warrior with Joaquin Antonio; Sound Healing Meditation; West African Drumming with Luke Quaranta; Live Music Vinyasa Flow; Creative Expressions Drawing; AcroYoga; Contact Hooping and many more.
 
Purple Hatter’s Ball benefits The Rachel Morningstar Foundation (a non-profit 501c3 organization) in honor of longtime SOSMP friend and music festival lover Rachel Morningstar Hoffman. You can learn more about the horrific story of her loss in this feature, “How One Mother Turned Tragedy /Into Triumph: The Rachel Morningstar Hoffman Story” which includes a touching one-on-one interview with Rachel’s loving mother, Margie Weiss (aka Mama Margie). Rachel’s story has been featured on 60 Minutes, Dateline, and 20/20.
 
The most memorable moment of the Purple Hatter’s Ball weekend is when Mama Margie leads an emotional ceremony celebrating her daughter’s memory. Each year, they released 24 monarch butterflies – 23 to represent Rachel’s age when she was taken from this world and 1 for her spirit that lives on.
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Purple Hatter’s Ball 2016 features organic livetronica artists Papadosio, cutting edge producer/guitarist and drummer duo The Floozies, jumpsuit wearing musician and activist The Polish Ambassador, Jerry Garcia Band founding member and longtime collaborator Melvin Seals and JGB, New Orleans’ prog-funk five-piece Earphunk, the conscious world-reggae sounds of DubConscious (Rachel’s favorite band), progressive rock and jam band The Mantras, the one-and-only sacred steel master Roosevelt Collier and his band, rising stars The Hip Abduction, and many more.
 
Purple Hatter’s Ball is the perfect opportunity to experience the beautiful Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park festival grounds, famous for hosting Wanee, Suwannee Hulaween, AURA, and more, during a laid-back and intimate event. Festivalgoers are encouraged to take advantage of the park’s endless activities such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, biking, and disc golf.
 
The park also offers guest comforts including a general store, a full-service restaurant, showers and water stations. To join the wait list for cabins, golf cart rentals, and RV hook-ups, please contact SOSMP at (386) 364-1683.
 
Tickets are currently on sale at www.PurpleHattersBall.com along with Morningstar Miracle VIP Packages that include VIP area access, dinner (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), an official poster and t-shirt.
 
Purple Hatter’s Ball 2016 Lineup:
Papadosio
The Floozies
The Polish Ambassador
Melvin Seals and JGB
Earphunk
DubConscious
The Mantras
Roosevelt Collier Band
The Malah
The Hip Abduction
Sophistafunk
Voodoo Visionary
Catfish Alliance
Trial By Stone
Scott Campbell band with Avis Berry
Funk You
MZG Live featuring Allen Aucoin
Flat Land
Herd Of Watts
Kaleigh Baker with The Groove Orient
The Corbitt-Clampitt Experience
Post Pluto
Squeedlepuss
SPORE with Zahira
Bedside
Leisure Chief
Heather Gillis Band             
 
Late Night Silent Disco + Beach Stage:
Ancient Deep
Big Bucks Crew
Cat Party
Charlie Hustle
Combustible
Cuddlefish
Damballa
Dazey
Elliot Mess
Jeff Randall
Leginge
Paten Locke
Ricky Raw
Sir Charles
Skythye
Taste Tester
Triclops I
Vlad the Inhaler
Zachy Nix
 
Thursday Night Pre-Party:
Sunsquabi
Savi Fernandez Birthday Band
Space Kadet
Gypsy Elise
 
About The Rachel Morningstar Foundation: The Rachel Morningstar Foundation exists to help the public understand the benefit of guidelines for law enforcement's use of confidential informants (CIs). Currently each state, county, city, college campus or law enforcement agency sets their own standards, laws or guidelines as it relates to recruiting and using CIs. The efforts of this foundation are dedicated to the memory of Rachel Morningstar Hoffman (December 17, 1984 – May 7, 2008) a 23-year-old Florida State University graduate. She was murdered while acting as a police informant during a drug sting that started on May 7, 2008. The first of its kind in the U.S., Rachel’s Law, a Florida law that went into effect on July 1, 2009, established new guidelines for law enforcement when dealing with confidential informants.
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Purple Hatter’s Ball Information: