The Road To AURA: Jake Huffman of McLovins

We couldn't be more excited about being a part of the 6th Annual AURA Music Festival this weekend at The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL. As a part of the festival's promotional efforts, a number of this year's performers are participating in a feature called "The Road To AURA". For our next installment, we caught up with Jake Huffman of The McLovins to find out what we can expect from the youngest seasoned vets on the scene.


(Photo by Phillip Sunkel)

Over the years, Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park has become the home to many of the nation's most anticipated annual music festivals.  What is it that differentiates Suwannee from other festival sites?

Jake:  Suwannee is the Alice and Wonderland of festival sites.  There is so much different terrain and texture.  It feels incredibly surreal.  I can still imagine the last time I was at AURA, watching the lasers on the main stage, shooting between the dark forrest trees.  The Heavy Pets were playing to a huge crowd.  It was a dream, like I was charging after my friends, having wildly waving balloons all around (don't ask), running into a wide open field under the starry night sky.  The feeling of the festival (and all festivals have their unique vibes) is so organic.  It's a very nostalgic feeling.      

With 2015 looking to be your busiest year yet, how crucial is this opportunity to play a Friday and Sunday set for the momentum of this band?

Jake:  We really pushed to have two sets at AURA.  We want to show people that we have an extensive library of original music, and we are versatile enough to put on two opposite sets (night and day) and blow each one away.  2015 will be our biggest and most grueling year yet.  We have BIG plans, a new album...or two, and a touring schedule that will make even the major touring bands say "Whoa!"  My parents will routinely call me while we are on the road and ask, "Where in the world are you today?"  For the most part, I have a different answer every time I pick up.   

It seems every group has a different method of forming their set lists. How do you guys go about the process, and is there any difference when preparing a festival set?

Jake:  Depending on the production level of the show, it can vary.  If it's a light night (just the band), we will write out the set list in the green room before we get on stage.  For something as big as AURA, with our full horn section, crew, and lasers, we will plan on the sets well in advance.

This year's lineup features such a wide variety of the jam scene's most exciting groups.  What do you think this lineup says about the depth of the improve/jam rock scene in 2015? 

Jake:  I'm impressed that there is so much support for the scene.  I feel like it grows by leaps and bounds every year.  I'm also honored to share the stage with so many musicians that I (and the band) look up to and have grown up listening to.  It's cool to see the mass variety of music lumped into the "jam" thing.  I think it's a direct reflection of the fans, who apparently love ALL kinds of music and have open ears.  As an artist, it inspires me to not limit myself to just one sound, but to open up, listen to what's around me, and write accordingly. 

Festival attendants can catch two full set's from McLovins.  First set is scheduled for Friday, March 6th at 7:15 PM on the Music Hall Stage.  Second set is scheduled for Sunday at 3:15 PM EST on The Porch Stage. For further information and all things AURA, head over to  

       (Photo by Nick Sonsini - Sonsini Media)