in collaboration with Dalia Jakubauskas

For a certain brand of festival-goer, springtime at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park is pretty close to heaven on earth. Over the decades, this season has played gracious host to now-defunct filial traditions like the Allman Brothers Band‘s legendary gathering Wanee, and later Purple Hatters Ball. The beloved 800-acre space—a family-owned and operated, sprawling music fest venue and campground—remains home to numerous gatherings of all sizes, sounds, and demographics. The park’s crown jewel is the celebrated Amphitheater Stage, a natural hippodrome framed by towering live oaks dripping in celestial Spanish moss, blessed with phenomenal organic acoustics.

Resonate Suwannee is a collaborative effort: promoters Essential ProductionsCasey Schnieder, Zack Szabo, and Kevin Harris work alongside the SOSMP OG, Purple Hat Productions’ Paul Levine. For the third consecutive April, Resonate Suwannee returned to the Live Oak swamps, and the jam-packed 2024 iteration was blessed with bright sun, balmy afternoons, and chilly nocturnal transmissions. An intimate, engaged, prismatic community coalesced to embrace an eclectic selection of bands and DJs, hosted and curated for the second year in a row by jamtronica pioneers STS9.

Scheduled performances again bounced back and forth between the famed Amphitheater and the smaller, folksy Porch Stage located just across the way. Due to the ambitious booking slate, a third stage was added for the first time, in the anachronistic Music Hall. This smallish, modest facility could be mistaken for a dive bar; the site of legendary Bear Creek moments, it has not often hosted live music in recent years. To make the best of the situation—and get with the times—Resonate Suwannee equipped the Music Hall with a primo Funktion1 soundsystem that was ridiculously crunk and purring all weekend long.

However, due to capacity constraints, not everyone who intended to see a particular artist playing this room could actually get inside. Late night, the lines snaked a good ways into the road. Additionally, the security situation wasn’t ideal either, which made for some less-than-positive vibes on the way in. That said, the Music Hall was necessary to ensure all artists booked would have an opportunity to play their set in full. Vibrational/environmental snafus aside, it sure sounded mighty good in there, and the flickering neon beer signs were an authentic, humorous touch.

To soak up the scene and the sin, we dispatched two Suwannee veterans—B.Getz and Dalia Jakubauskas—to the place where music lives, on assignment to tag team the Live For Live Music Resonate coverage. With four feet on the ground and four ears in the sky, we did our best to imbibe as much of the musical happenings as humanly possible. Please enjoy this detailed report of the festivities at Resonate Suwannee 2024.


Thursday, April 4th

DJ: From their humble beginnings in 2021 rehearsing in a construction warehouse to playing big-name events, the Jacksonville-based quintet Sauce Pocket has been making waves across Florida and beyond. Securing the coveted opening slot on The Amphitheater Stage is no easy feat. The band did not waste the moment and proceeded to burn the place down with a spicy stew of avant-garde improv, psychedelic funk, hip-hop, jazz, rock, R&B, and Latin flavors. With several hundred people in attendance Sauce Pocket unleashed an impassioned performance moving the multitudes to dance and reciprocate the band’s feral energy. Downshifting, the band invited Colorado songstress and celestial goddess Jessica Jones to the stage for some sensuous R&B tunes, one of which served as the soundtrack for a surprise tug-on-your-heart-strings interlude between Riley O’Brien and his girlfriend Cass Andra whom he proposed to on stage (she said yes).

Sauce Pocket — Resonate Suwannee — 4/4/24 — Full Set


BG: Chicago-based Sneezy first hit the Suwannee scene at last year’s Resonate; at Resonate 2024 they continued to impact Florida swamp denizens with a greasy sound led by horns and harmonica, the whole team draped in colorful steezy attire. In addition to its regularly scheduled Amp set, the squad linked up late-night with Sauce Pocket for a rollicking renegade rager at the fantastic BS Bar way out in the sticks.

Thursday saw side-project sets from several members of host band STS9. The wife/husband duo of Alana Rocklin (bass, STS9) and Bradley Bowden (FOH engineer, STS9), sub-ID, opened the Porch late Thursday afternoon, the junglists’ atmospheric sounds channeling vintage Good Looking Records. In the Music Hall, keyboardist David Phipps performed as Pheops, beginning his solo set with sublime piano and then exploring headier rhythmic realms. Late that evening, drummer Zach Velmer took to the DJ decks and rocked the lubricated revelers with an enthusiastic set of high-energy dance music.

Still basking in the afterglow of their triumphant late-night set on Spirit Lake last Hulaween, progtronic trio lespecial wasted no time tearing up the Amp with thrash metal ferocity, primarily pulling from 2023’s ultra-heavy Odd Times (opener “Rays”, “Lungs of the Planet”, and closer “They Live”), along with selections on 2020’s brilliant Ancient Homies (“Repeater”, “Machine Elf”, “Snells Fleet”, “The Vessel”, “Tonberry”).

Luke Bemand again requested the hippies mosh it up a bit, and the assembled heshers obliged the bassist by kicking some dust up in an attempted circle pit. Guitarist Jonny G found himself dodging a smitten vixen’s undergarments flying through the air. As drummer Rory Dolan channeled his best Lars Ulrich, the three amigos galloped through Metallica’s shark-jumping “Enter Sandman”, before oscillating into Darude’s equally-ubiquitous EDM anthem “Sandstorm”, appropriately rechristened “Enter Sandstorm” and soon to be released in EP format.


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DJ: With memorable appearances at Suwannee Hulaween, Brainquility, and Resonate 2022, Colorado’s livetronica trio SunSquabi are no strangers to SOSMP where they never fail to amp up a crowd. Thursday’s performance was a blissful journey through the band’s canon of Squab-infused funk and technicolor rhythms. Genuine positive vibrations flowed in rivers, hypnotizing fans into an ecstatic meditative state. The combined power of Kevin Donohue’s incandescent guitar riffs, Josh Fairman’s necromantic synth mastery, and newest addition Scotty Zwang’s ironclad drum skills resulted in a collective Vulcan Mind Meld for the duration of the hour-plus set.

Related: SunSquabi Enters New Era With Fresh ‘Cloudburst’ EP, New Drummer, & Packed Mission Ballroom Throwdown [Interview]

BG: Asheville, NC’s renowned jamtronica vets Papadosio formerly hosted Resonate parent festival Resonance, and later appeared at Resonate Suwannee 2022; this year, the experimental quintet satiated its dedicated fans and newbies alike with jazzy, psychedelic songcraft. The band touched tracks from 2012’s T.E.T.I.O.S. (opener “We Are Water”), all the way through last year’s To Live A Making (closer “Everybody is Cool”), plus latest single “Who Are You” which features the voice of the late Ram Dass. Other highlights included rarely-played “Curve Jam” (2007’s Magreenery), “Versicolor” (2020’s Microdosio), synth-heavy drum n’ bass on 2019’s “Catalyst”, and a cover of Boards of Canada (“Dayvan Cowboy”).

In the Music Hall, three producers made their Suwannee debuts. Denver’s Thought Process represented the mighty all:Lo Collective with refreshing, intoxicating psychedelic bass. Boasting over a decade in the game, Mindex introduced folks to his futuristic, multi-faceted sound design. Rising New Zealand DJ/producer K+Lab bumped an hour of frenetic EDM jams reminiscent of fellow countryman Opiuo—spastic, elastic tracks that pushed the Funktion1 stacks to pump with authority. K+Lab dropped another, markedly-different set Friday afternoon on the Porch Stage, a smoked-out session that slowed things down considerably.

Friday, April 5th

DJ: We woke to another brilliant day of sunshine and music on Friday. Dayton, OH-based psychedelic rock band Ben Clonch & Friends opened The Amp with the energy needed for a 1 p.m. set. Jacksonville’s LPT took over The Amp later that afternoon for a vivacious set of Latin rhythms and Afro-Cuban beats delivered by a dynamite 10-piece orchestra.

For nearly two decades, the dynamic duo of Tony “Smurphio” Laurencio and Cuci Amador (better known as Afrobeta) have been bringing the sounds of Miami colored by their Cuban roots to the world including huge festivals such as Ultra and Burning Man. The literal embodiment of their hometown’s vibrant musical scene, their mix of electronic dance music, deconstructed salsa, bass, and bedazzled vocals captured the hearts of the curious and converted alike gathered in front of the Porch Stage under the afternoon sun. Tiny in stature but huge in charisma, Amador commanded the stage with limitless energy and brilliant vocals. Laurencio delivered crunchy, booty house beats and the underpinnings of a throw-your-hands-in-the-air, bouncing-to-the-beat rager.

Afrobeta — Resonate Suwanee — 4/5/24 — Full Set


Resonate 2021 veterans and funk-fusion insurgents Ghost-Note brought their kinetic spirit to bear on fans packing The Amp while the sun was still high in the early evening sky. Ghost-Note blanketed us with an explosive amalgamation of shivering percussive beats spliced heavy with funk, jazz, hip hop, R&B, and afro-centric rhythms. Drawing from an ever-expanding catalog and new tunes from its upcoming album Mustard n ’Onions set for release on April 19th, Ghost Note spun a joyous tale. The blissful spell was broken for just one moment when founding member Robert “Sput” Searight shared his heartfelt grief over the recent untimely death of his brother-in-arms, multi-instrumentalist Casey Benjamin. Dedicating the set to him, Searight busted out a frequent refrain reminding us, “When you put melody on top of rhythm, you get booties shakin.’”

Ghost-Note — Resonate Suwanee — 4/5/24 — Full Set


BG: The Music Hall welcomed back a pair of returning Resonate faves: Minneapolis-based Megan Hamilton delivered her Twin Cities take on funky bass and house and Florida producer on the come-up SideTrakd drew a dancefloor of dedicated local fans. They were followed by supremely gifted multi-instrumentalist/producer KR3TURE. The Santa Cruz wizard, gov’t name Krikor Andonian, has been a beloved mainstay on the underground West Coast festy scene for a dozen years. A big hit to the eager new ears assembled in the Music Hall, he provided a smattering of danceable tunes augmented by hollowbody electric guitar and his understated vocal stylings.

DJ: The New Mastersounds’ jubilant sunset set was a continuation of a SOSMP love story that began with their fateful performance at Bear Creek in 2013 —one of their very first on U.S. soil. It would also make the British funk/jazz/boogaloo maestros darlings of the jam scene where they’ve found a home ever since. Friday’s performance was a joyous homecoming before adoring family.

Brimming with gratitude and grinning from ear to ear, bandleader and guitarist extraordinaire Eddie Roberts greeted us with an earnest “It’s good to be back!” Clearly he meant it as the quartet launched into a musical conversation that every swaying body present implicitly understood. It was unspoken verbiage perfected between musicians who’ve spent more than two decades in each others’ company. The band had much to celebrate during this stop on their 25th-anniversary tour, which comes on the heels of their 18th studio album Old School. The New Mastersounds’ joyous Resonate romp closed out as twilight took over, accompanied by a raucous sing-a-long and seismic dance blowout to Kenny Dope’s “Nervous”. The love affair continues.

The New Mastersounds — Resonate Suwannee — 4/5/24 — Full Set


BG: Chicago legend Mark Farina was undoubtedly a huge highlight at Resonate 2023, so it was no surprise the man who gave us the seminal Mushroom Jazz mixtape series was invited back for double the fun. Both Thursday and Friday’s early-evening sessions ran the gamut and pulled from a plethora of possibilities, dealing doses of Boz Scaggs, Tom Tom Club, Parliament Funkadelic, all the way to super-rare mixes many fans have never even heard. A veteran of deejaying since 1989, adept at mixing multiple styles and source material, he embraced funk, soul, golden-era hip-hop, classic rock remixes, nu-disco, and heaping slabs of footloose funky-house. Mark’s unforgettable moment this year came toward the end of Friday’s set, when—sensing the need to make us a memory—he dialed up a slow n’ sexy deep house remix of Fleetwood Mac’s timeless “The Chain.”

Montreal’s Chromeo is experiencing a career resurgence behind its sixth album, Adult Contemporary, its first LP in six years. The veteran disco-funk duo—comprised of David Macklovitch (A-Trak’s brother) and Patrick Gemayel—wasted no time in taking full control of an imbibed and lively Porch Stage crowd who feverishly danced the night away until the stroke of midnight. Channeling classic 1980s synths, styles, and textures, blended together with block-rockin’ beats and a twinkly contemporary twist, Chromeo turned back the clock to deliver a decadent hour of dreamy disco grooves for a whole lotta loose booty.

Host band STS9 has a storied history in the Southeast, first forming and coming to prominence in Athens, GA, before decamping to Northern California shortly after the millennium. The quintet has a passionate, dedicated fanbase in both regions, but the home team vibes were in full effect each time Tribe took the iconic Spirit of Suwannee Amphitheater Stage, where the band performed numerous concerts at various festivals held at the beloved music park. Sector 9 began its first of four sets across two nights with a 90-minute exploratory expedition, uncorking a massive 20-minute “Peoples > Glass > Peoples” to open that effectively threw down the gauntlet for an exceptional weekend.

An hour later, STS9 returned to the stage to present its latest conceptual project Chromalight, which was only performed in its entirety once, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre last year. The production bridges human connection with sound and light, interpreting what colors a person may associate with music and sound texture. Because this set was only one hour, the band could not perform the entire Chromalight journey, so it was distilled down to just a handful of tunes, digging deepest into the latest single “Searchlight”. The fresh material feels collectively created and transmits inspired energy; the musical movements are decidedly lighter fare, patient and emotionally resonant, dreamy and kaleidoscopic. Other Resonate Chromalight highlights for this writer included “Habitat”, “Halos”, and “Dreamstate Patrol”.

STS9. photo: Jay Strausser

West Coast goth-bass pioneers Dimond Saints made their long-awaited return to SOSMP, appearing for the first time since a torrid soiree on Spirit Lake at Hula 2017. Closing out the Music Hall Friday night at the witching hour, the demonic duo of An-ten-nae and Releece led the capacity crowd into an Elysian vortex deep within the heart of darkness. A harem of libidinous unreleased joints were deftly interspersed with “Saints”, “idgaf”, “Sun and Moon”, a minimalist rework of Jordan Max’s “Hell”, and Saints’ ratchet remix of Kendrick Lamar’s thundering “DNA”. Late in the set, Florida rap seductress Khia’s supremely-profane “My Neck” vocals twerked atop the Saints’ “Fuk It Up” instrumental; by closing time, these dudes had turned this glorified VFW Moose Lodge into a thirsty harlots club.


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Saturday, April 6th

BG: Duval OG Vlad the Inhaler, a SOSMP/Hulaween mainstay who’s been instrumental in cultivating North Florida’s underground electronic scene for over 15 years, kicked off Saturday’s Amp Stage programming with a selection of bass-centric hip-hop and occasional detours. He was followed on the Porch Stage by his wife Booty Boo, who has more than made a name for herself of late. The new mom glowed in the midday sun as she leveled up the situation in a major way, unleashing a power hour of undeniable rump-shakers, punctuated by a joyful romp through Freak Nasty’s everlasting earworm “Da Dip”.


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DJ: When SOSMP calls for funk, Dumpstaphunk answers. Beginning with Wanee Music Festival in 2006, the guardian of New Orleans grooves can trace its outsized presence at the park going back nearly 20 years and are among its closest kin. Saturday’s buoyant family reunion called home old friends (while missing some) along with rising stars and new faces. Noticeably absent was longtime bassist and vocalist Nick Daniels III leaving the other half of Dumpsta’s dynamic bass duo Tony Hall to ably carry low-end duties. The surprise additions of Con Brio vocalist Viveca Hawkins and former Dumpsta drummer Nikki Glaspie (2011–2014) ratcheted up the heat while trumpeter Ashlin Parker and trombonist Alex Wasily took over the stage with superstar-level magnetism.

Bandleader, keyboardist, and New Orleans royalty Ivan Neville led an inspired set of greasy funk, fan favorites, spirited covers, and a surprise or two. Dumpstaphunk anthem “Dancing To The Truth” got bodies swaying in a collective trance that quickly steered down and dirty for “Sexy Ida” with Hawkins’ soulful vocals in the driver’s seat. A thick cover of Graham Central Station’s “Water” made its first appearance on a Suwannee stage with Dumpsta since Nikki moved on in 2014. Moods lightened to ethereal levels with the band’s version of Talking Heads’ “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)”, a song that reminded us about a place called home—the place we shared at that very moment.

BG: The Music Hall continued to proffer a diverse array of sound technicians throughout the day. Philos Records‘ popular producer Late Night Radio, touring behind his latest album Pocket Full of Dreams, represented Denver’s electro-soul styles. A pair of Floridians followed: St. Petersburg vinyl deejay Austen van der Bleek rocked everything from Digable Planets to early 80’s disco-funk before he was chased by Destin dubstepper Skiz.

The long-awaited return of STS9’s much-revered Axe the Cables arrived late Saturday afternoon, greeted by glorious weather and a swollen, vibrant mob assembled at the Amp. A perfect scenario materialized for the magic that was about to go down. Since 2009, the band periodically reverse-engineers its technologically-advanced dance music through more modest, understated instrumentation. Though not exactly MTV Unplugged acoustic, the five technicians “axe the cables” to reveal a bare-bones setup and stripped-down sound design. For the Resonate rendition of this treasured tradition, Sector 9 would again unveil pristine reimaginings of select compositions that dot its quarter-century career, blessing the throngs with arguably the finest of the band’s four sets across the weekend.

Opening with the rimshot head-nod of “G-Funk”, palpable joyful energy poured from the stage, fans tree-top high with smiles wide, a forest of feet swiftly movin’ to the swaggering beats. For 60 minutes, the squad was dialed and determined: the royal Alana Rocklin oscillated between acoustic and stand-up basses, occasionally employing a bow on the latter for a chilling baritone drone. Guitarist Hunter Brown switched to a Gibson Hollowbody, mining more traditional tones from his trusty old-school axe. Keyboardist Phipps focused primarily on sparkling piano, tickling the proverbial ivories with aplomb on “Pianoir”. Percussionist extraordinaire Jeffree Lerner steadily threw hands, particularly animated and audible throughout the sublime session. Ever-excitable drummer Zach Velmer did his best to keep the volume down and stay swingin’ beneath vehicles in transit. Other standout readings from this Axe the Cables included organic variations on “Scheme”, “Hubble”, and a sensational set-closing “Hidden Hand Hidden Fist”.

STS9 – Axe the Cables. photo: Zach Smith

The final day of Resonate 2024 offered a wide swath of electronic genres and interpretations. On the Porch, Harrisburg, PA producer Humandala unveiled his version of “The Ecstacy of Gold” in the late afternoon sun. Hailing from the Kootenay Mountains in British Columbia, electro-folk duo Moontricks made a tremendous first impression on that same stage. Sean Rodman and Nathan Gurley cooked up a joyful grassroots stew of boot-stompin’ bass and backwoods blues that made a gang of new fans with a quickness. After sunset, Denver’s bass queen Maddy O’Neal took over the decks and detonated a barrage of big drops, forwarding her original interpretations of low-end theory. In the Music Hall post-STS9, Bristol, UK project Koan Sound (well, one member) delivered a bombastic final psychedelic bass knockout sesh on the Funktions.

DJ: A late start did not deter fans from plunging headlong into Afro-Cuban Funk sensation Cimafunk’s  supercharged saturnalia. Back by popular demand, Cimafunk (civilian name: Erik Alejandro Iglesias Rodríguez) reprised his electric performance at Resonate in 2023 where he and La Tribu, his 9-piece band, shook fans to their very core with a fresh mix of powerful Cuban stylings, Afro beats, and hip-hop.

Saturday’s set was a celebration of the groove with nary a soul with a beating heart standing still. The consummate showman, Cimafunk drew on his Cuban heritage and boundless energy for a thrilling romp through his expanding catalog, a steamy ode to Prince’s “Musicology”, and fresh tunes from a new album en route. While we could hardly take our eyes off the charismatic frontman, his band was equally compelling with saxophonist Katy Cacao and trombonist Hilaria Cacao taking front and center with feverish dance moves and musicianship. As with nearly every Cimafunk show, fans were invited to pack the stage for the finale, dancing between the band members with blithesome abandon.

Intrepid road warriors and livetronica darlings Future Joy brought their vaudevillian antics and boundary-defying mix of funk, house, bass, pop, drum and bass, hip-hop, techno, jazz, and dubstep to Resonate’s Music Hall, where the confines of the indoor space was no match for the oscillating good vibrations engulfing the packed dance floor. Returning to Resonate for the second time, the husband and wife duo of Emily Cooper and Zach Simms threw down a massive set of joy for the throngs who came to experience superhuman happiness. Both artists DJ’d, sang, and played keyboard while Simms feverishly attacked tenor, baritone, and bass saxophones, sometimes making his way into the audience for an exchange of turbo-charged ebullience. The duo’s tomfoolery extended to the embrace of giant blow-up toys including a unicorn raft that Cooper rode to crowd surf over fans.

Future Joy — Resonate Suwannee — 4/6/24 — Full Set

BG: Also back at Resonate for a second consecutive year was British psydub pioneer Ott., who delivered two nocturnal sets (Fri/Sat), both brimming with his trademark tasty eccentricities. The reclusive experimentalist unspooled elastic excursions and multi-hued movements that manipulated mood and explored imaginary universes, his spiraling soundscapes revealing influences that stretched from dub reggae to nascent electronica, occasionally sprinkled with international themes. Bulbous bass-heavy rhythms assertively rumbled beneath abstract patterns and mind-melting melodies, to traverse ever-mutating psychedelic galaxies: this music is incredibly fun to dance to.

Bay Area electronic stalwart Tycho (Scott Hansen) has been making waves for two decades and counting; the producer/multi-instrumentalist continues at the forefront of live-band electronic music. For his Resonate Suwannee debut, Tycho took the stage as a quartet, and Hansen’s prowess for progressive composition was evident, translated by way of the group’s warm, organic live instrumentation of keys, guitar, bass, and drums. Seemingly at home in the trippy confines of Suwannee’s royal Amphitheater Stage, Hansen took a sizable crowd on a patient, spacious, and ultimately rewarding journey through his songbook. Epoch‘s “Glider” kicked things off, along with the title track to the 2016 LP, “Slack”, “Rings” and set closer “Division”. Tycho performed three songs from 2011’s Dive (“A Walk”, “Coastal Brake”, Hours”), and acknowledged a decade of Awake and five years of Weather by delivering each title track, respectively. A trifecta of new tunes were debuted; the oldest number of the night dated back 20 years, dusting off the primordial “PBS” from 2004’s seminal Past is Prologue.

Tycho — Resonate Suwannee — 4/6/24 — Partial Video

[Video: Gavin Hinz]

STS9’s fourth frame at Suwannee Resonate 2024 was pretty fantastic, as your humble narrator threw down his best Zen aerobics in the first few rows in front of Velmer. The dissonant tension within “Atlas” (Ad Explorata, 2009) fired up Tribe’s motor with confidence and verve; but the strongest sections were when the band went Lowdown and blessed up old-schoolers with some OG Sector 9 flavor profiles. The first nugget was blazed in the form of a mid-set “Forest Hu > Blu Mood” that peaked through the live oaks before soaring into a starry night sky. Later, the embryonic, ever-ethereal pairing of “EB > Surreality” landed the spacecraft and closed out Sector 9’s final transmission, albeit a few minutes prematurely, a bit to the chagrin of some in attendance.

DJ: My first Resonate also marked my return to the mystical environs of SOSMP after five long years away. It was the perfect reentry into a judgment-free zone where no one is a stranger. Low-key, intimate, and more accessible than wonderful behemoths like Suwannee Hulaween, Resonate is a place to reconnect with old friends and click with new ones beneath the lofty live oaks. Producers Paul Levine, Casey Schneider, Kevin Harris,  and Zack Szabo have created an event that is equal parts music, high vibrations, sensory journey, and family reunion—one we look forward to embracing for years to come.