Casey Schneider (Essential Productions) and Paul Levine (Purple Hat Productions) have partnered up to merge the Resonate Festival and Resonance Festival under the new moniker Resonate Suwannee to honor the now-singular event’s new permanent home at the Spirit Of The Suwannee Music Park. Though the Resonate Festival was already quite at home in the beloved, sprawling outdoor venue, the sister event had yet to truly take root at any other venue since leaving Ohio’s Legend Valley in 2019.
A decision was made between the partners to let fans know that the days of Resonance wandering from venue to venue may be over, but the spirit of collaborative curation between promoter and lead headliner that had helped make Resonance/Resonate unique lives on. This year, host band Sound Tribe Sector Nine will not just top the lineup, STS9 will be helping pick its own supporting bands as Papadosio had done in the years past.
Joining Sound Tribe at The Spirit Of the Suwannee this year is a dense jamtronica/dance-heavy lineup that is stacked with scene faves like Park veterans Lettuce, Lotus, and Emancipator, fresh blood like Lawrence, Cimafunk, and Ott., DJs like Mark Farina and more with one common, inescapable mandate—make the people move and groove all day and night! Our own Rex Thomson (a.k.a. Rex-A-Vision) lives and breathes his love for the Spirit of Suwannee, so who better to chat with the promoters about their plans for this year’s festival, set to take place March 30th–April 1st? Check out their conversation about the newly rebranded party and what fun the future holds in store below:
On the Resonate Festival officially adding “Suwannee” to the Resonate Festival name:
Casey Schneider: That was something Paul [Levine] felt we had to utilize. It’s something we wanted to do in the past but didn’t get approval of. We definitely didn’t want to step on [frequent Suwannee Music Park collaborator] Paul’s toes.
On whether Resonate Suwannee was purposefully designed to keep its more intimate size and scale:
CS: Yeah, for now. Now that we have Paul it’s not so much the case. Before we teamed up with Paul, we just weren’t that familiar with [The Spirit Of The Suwannee Music] Park, so we just wanted to wait and make sure we weren’t trying to do too much too fast. For example, there will just be two stages with no overlapping bands or music.
Paul Levine: There’s a lot of folks who have been coming together at the Park for its many different shows over the years. A lot of those people have met folks there from around the country and become lifelong friends and family members, even. Bringing that family together with Casey, Zach, and the rest of the Resonate team is an opportunity to blend in some of the Suwannee regulars with the energy that the Resonate folks bring along that I look forward to.
Having connections with folks like Park event coordinating supervisor Sonny Perez and [Park manager] Teena [Peavey], it’s not hard to find reliable, capable resources. Casey and his team have done a few events down here already and plenty elsewhere and they’ve developed their own connections with the Park as well so it’s actually a lot of fun to bring those teams together.
On how certain bands like Sound Tribe work with the event to help curate parts of the weekend’s lineup:
PL: They make some suggestions but they also trust Casey and I to do our best to curate around them. They tossed out some names and suggestions and several of them ended up on the lineup. Casey and I then added in our own choices and I think the lineup ended up in a really nice spot that we hope everyone will enjoy.
CS: It’s as good as it gets.
As to how staggering the sets allows fans to enjoy all of the music without having to make heart-breaking choices between shows, as is often the case at larger festivals:
CS: At all the big festivals, you see all the bands listed but you just can’t see them all. What we do… if you want to you can see all of every single act. There’s no competition… there’s no five different stages going on at the same time. What we’re trying to do is to make sure we get the best vibe and to make sure all these bands get shown to the fans properly.
On the chance that Sound Tribe Sector Nine has something special, like the band’s “Axe The Cables” acoustic shows, planned for any of its four sets over the weekend:
CS: That’s all unsettled as of yet and hush hush.
PL: To be announced…
On how much easier having a venue like The Spirit Of Suwannee, which hosts events year-round, makes throwing a festival:
CS: I’m not sure if your readers know about Essential Productions, but we’ve thrown festivals up and down the East Coast and Suwannee has undoubtedly been the best experience. It’s not just a beautiful Park, it’s because the staff’s great and they take care of us top to bottom. It’s encouraging. It’s a place where you don’t need to go a bunch of different places and rent all the different sh–t you need… they have it all right there.
On the future of Essential Productions and their fests:
CS: The plan is to discontinue Resonance, our big festival, after this year and to focus all of our resources onto Resonate Suwannee. The reason we want to do this, to be transparent, is because of the Park. It’s become such a big task to throw these events outside of Suwannee and we’d just rather focus our energies and resources rather than to just keep bouncing around the country looking for anywhere else that’s as easy.
On what acts they recommend Resonate Suwannee attendees make sure to catch?
CS & PL in unison: Cimafunk!
Cimafunk – “Me Voy”
PL: And Sneezy. You’ll definitely dig them!
Sneezy – “Not Sorry”
On how they feel the Resonate brand is growing:
CS: We wanted to do something a little different this year and Paul was really on point with that. I make stuff happen, but this was really a lot of Paul’s vision. He took what we’ve done in the past and Resonate and Resonance and he put his touch on it. He took what he knew sells for the Suwannee and we brought in what we know works for us and it’s working. All the early tier tickets are sold out so tickets are moving well and the response to the lineup has been pretty much what we expected.
It’s exactly what we wanted and we’re exactly where we wanna be for year three of the event. We couldn’t ask for more. When you’re sitting around dreaming of throwing festivals this is exactly what you hope it’ll be like!
Resonate Suwannee 2023 will descend on Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park on March 30th–April 1st. View the artist lineup below, and for tickets, head here.