Music festivals are a great place to make new friends and forge connections that transcend musical and even state boundaries. Camping next to somebody or just standing near each other at a show can create friendships that last a lifetime, even if you only see each other once a year back at that same festival. Tens of thousands of fans got to witness the budding of a new friendship on Friday at Suwannee Hulaween, when host band The String Cheese Incident welcomed members of Goose for a two-song sit-in.

After Cheese’s first of six sets at the festival that weekend, the band retook the stage following the setting of the sun with some extra backup. Joining SCI were guitarist Rick Mitarotonda, keyboardist Peter Anspach, drummer Ben Atkind, and percussionist Jeff Arevalo, with only bassist Trevor Weekz missing the collaboration. The old guards of Cheese graciously shared their space with the young guns, as Ben and Jeff ventured into Jason Hann‘s world of percussion, Peter Anspach grabbed a seat next to Kyle Hollingsworth at his keyboard mission control, and Rick Mitarotonda took a place center stage between guitarists/vocalists Bill Nershi and Michael Kang. Anspach had previously joined Cheese for “Jellyfish” at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in summer 2021.

The anticipation was palpable as the newcomers settled into their respective positions. While the crowd communally pondered what song they would play, few probably expected a hard drop into the Goose original “Animal”. The significance of the moment was not lost on anyone who has remotely followed Goose’s meteoric rise over the past few years: Here was one pillar of the modern jam scene playing one of Goose’s songs in a poignant tip of the cap.

The reverence didn’t stop there, as guitarist Michael Kang even took a verse on “Animal” before the song opened up into a jam. With the expanded lineup, the improvisation was groove-centric as everyone found their place. Rick ultimately emerged as the guiding force until Kang challenged his alpha status with an engaging six-string back-and-forth.

Related: The String Cheese Incident Howls At The Full Moon For Hulaween Shebang [Photos/Videos]

It wasn’t long before the guitar-oriented jam veered off path for a quick detour to “Texas”. Bill Nershi took control of the mic, only to hand off vocals to Rick for one of the verses. Following the lyrical baton-passing in “Animal”, this shared vocal duty hammered home the reverence and respect these two bands have for each other in an inspiring display of artistic encouragement and community.

Opening up into another jam, the improv mellowed out in contrast to the preceding Goose song. The keyboardists took the reigns on this one, with Kyle and Peter making full use of Hollingsworth’s extensive arsenal of organs, synths, and other gadgets. Everyone on stage found space in the communal vamp, before Goose’s youthful exuberance took over and brought the sit-in to a close in a blaze of incendiary guitar-laden glory.

The members of Goose ceded control of the stage back to its rightful owners The String Cheese Incident. A few hours later, however, the ever-rising Connecticut indie-jam band would get the last word as they closed out the Hallows stage across the way with a late-night performance that saw a reprise of the unfinished “Animal” from the Cheese sit-in (or Goose-cident, as Kyle referred to it).

The Goose guys weren’t the only special guests to join Cheese on Friday. Earlier during the band’s first daytime set, SCI welcomed steel guitarist Roosevelt Collier to join in on the Allman Brothers Band instrumental “Hot ‘Lanta” as well as “Outside and Inside”. The following day’s String Cheese Incident “Shebang” brought forth even more special guests including members of Trey Anastasio Band. Check out a full recap of the festivities here and a complete Hulaween review here.

Related: Sweet Dreams Are Hulaween: A 10th Anniversary Celebration At Suwannee [Review/Photos/Videos]

Watch The String Cheese Incident and Goose cross-pollinate each others’ catalogs with joint takes on “Animal” and “Texas” at Hulaween and check out audio of Goose’s “Animal” reprisal and the Roosevelt Collier sit-in.

The String Cheese Incident w/ Goose – “Animal” > “Texas”– 10/27/23

Goose – Suwannee Hulaween – Live Oak, FL – 10/27/23 – Full Audio

The String Cheese Incident w/ Roosevelt Collier – “Hot ‘Lanta” (Allman Brothers Band) – 10/27/23

[Video: Fuzzy Dunlop]