Just around the river bend is the eleventh annual Purple Hatter’s Ball in its home at the Spirit of The Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. This two-day festival has a strong following as those who know what the campgrounds have to offer make sure they don’t miss a single festival held here, including Purple Hatter’s Ball. Make sure to dip your toes into the start of summer and embrace the natural Florida surroundings as I fill you in on what Purple Hatter’s Ball has to offer.
Purple Hatter’s Ball is located right off the Suwannee River at the Spirit of the Suwannee campgrounds. The park is the perfect destination for those who want the true North Florida experience and hospitality with the addition of a jam session filled weekend. There, you are surrounded by huge live oaks covered in hanging Spanish moss, biking/hiking trails that take you on a journey and paths that lead to the sweet tea-colored river that is the Suwannee. The beach won't be missed at the Beach stage, as most who attend slide down a huge tarp into the water and float on anchored air tubes, which perfectly embodies the river rat lifestyle and those funky Suwannee vibes. Be sure to slip away from the grounds and eat at one of the local restaurants that returning festivals goers know all too well. My personal favorite is Fusion Buffet, the Chinese country buffet just 5 minutes away.
Purple Hatter’s Ball isn't as large as other fests that take place in the same location, such as Wannee and Hula, but it has the same respect, following and love as those familiar names, maybe even more. Purple Hatter’s Ball offers to deliver the same punch as more mainstream fests but with more opportunity to take the time between sets to get lost and slow the fuck down. Those who come every year show up because it's intimate and allows for more freedom, enough camp space for you and your hammock and connections with others. It begins to feel less like an event and more like a family reunion with familiar faces who all seek that one on one connection with the park and remember to enjoy life and what it has to offer.
One thing’s for sure and that is Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park knows how to pick a lineup and Purple Hatter’s Ball is no exception. A diverse line-up of Suwannee veterans and fan favorites promise to deliver on two stages, the Amphitheater Stage and the much-loved Beach Stage. Returning artists Roosevelt Collier, Dubconscious, Catfish Alliance, MZG along with Lettuce, Spafford, Breaking Biscuits, Toubab Krewe, Heavy Pets (being a Florida fest staple) and many more. With only two stages and enough time between sets to take a water break, it’s possible to spend all day jammin’ and not running to every set.
Purple Hatter’s Ball seeks to raises awareness for The Rachel Morningstar Foundation (a non-profit 501c3 organization) in honor of music lover Rachel Morningstar Hoffman. 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.
Rachel’s loving mother, Margie Weiss (aka Mama Margie), will lead an emotional ceremony celebrating her daughter’s memory by continuing the release of 24 monarch butterflies – 23 to represent Rachel’s age when she was taken from this world and one 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. This ceremony is one that is not to be missed and an integral part of Purple Hatter’s, so pay your respects and celebrate the weekend in honor of Rachel.
Purple Hatter’s Ball is a must-see fest to those who have been to Wanne, Hula or don’t care for large crowds. It delivers a lineup that is not only wanted but achievable to witness every act and honors the memory of Rachel Morningstar Hoffman.
The eleventh annual Purple Hatter’s Ball takes place at the Spirit of The Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida starting from June 1 - 2, 2018. Purchase tickets here.