Bear Creek Music Festival 2012 Review

Bear Creek Music Festival happened over the weekend of November 8th through the 11th in 2012 at the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. The lineup included Umphrey’s Mcgee, Perpetual Groove, MarchFourth Marching Band, Dumpstaphunk, The Heavy Pets, SOULIVE, Lotus, Zoogma and many more.

seaman_lauren_bearcreek_11_12_edit_-117The Spirit of  Suwannee Music Park is a beautiful spot in Live Oak, Florida.  The park has large oak trees growing, plenty of camping, including on the lake lit by Christmas lights.  Small campfires provided warmth to both bundled and scantily clothed alike.  Many attendees strutted their bear hats, bear costumes and bear related items throughout the weekend. This years vendors were interesting varying by products, retail, artists and more. There was a small shakedown street of vendors on the way to the festival ground entrance selling warm food, hippie clothes, trendy fur hats and light up toys! Christmas for the eyes…

Bear Creek had five stages and one Silent Disco.  Different than other festivals held at Spirit of Suwannee Music Park, the main stage in the large field was smaller and set up to the right side of the field.  It gave that stage better sound and more private feel.  There was less competition with the sounds from the other stages. Except when we heard Lotus’ Friday night bass!

seaman_lauren_bearcreek_11_12_edit_-173Friday night was the best night of the festival. The night really got started with the first set of Umphrey’s McGee right after the sun had gone down.  The night was chilly for Florida but the crowd raged and danced away to the grungy, groovy funk that the band played.   Umphrey’s played on the Big IV Amphitheatre which is a really interesting stage set up in the middle of a grove of trees.  In the front people watch the music and in the back groups of hammocks hang from the trees holding music listeners.  Umphrey’s played a mix of music for their first set.  In-between sets we caught some of Bright Light Social Hour as well as The Werks, who really got the crowd excited.

The second set of Umphrey’s McGee was even better! The crowd was a really friendly crowd, people were happy, and the lights from the show were spectacular.   There were several live painters this year during Umphrey’s who were really good and it was interesting to watch their paintings come to life.

After Umphrey’s, Perpetual Groove played. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings also played- this band really got down!  Their stage presence was fun, lively, and flaunty.  The band plays a modern version of soul and oldies, while the ladies sing out with their powerful voices and pull fans up on the stage.  This show was unexpected and fantastic!  Lotus then put on a great show with their flowing electronic tunes reaching the campgrounds. They also seaman_lauren_bearcreek_11_12_edit_-349featured another enjoyable light show.  The night ended with The Budos Band from Daptone Records.  This band really played the crowd- their tunes are an eclectic blend of funk, beat, jazz, Latin style music that moves your feet and your spirit.   Bear Creek was a friendly, fun and funky festival.

Friday night also held the “Party Animal & Warm Fuzzy” costume theme. This was great fun for all.  At Bear Creek you will look out at the crowd around you and see full bear costumes dancing and swaying to the music. This year we saw amazing local and national artist talent. Several live painters worked during the show all weekend producing awesome artwork, including some 3-D paintings.  We love the artwork of Florida local Bean Spence.  We also enjoyed the inspiring works of Emily Kell, Odenedo, Dean Arscott; as well as all the other artists there.  Thank you for the large visual artist turn-out, Bear Creek.

Saturday Night raged on with another set from Umphery’s Mcgee. Bear Creek also saw Zoogma and several other live acts throughout the day and night.  seaman_lauren_bearcreek_11_12_edit_-732Several favortie local Florida acts were present in the crowd and played sets including awesome Zach Deputy and the great Beebs & Her Money Makers– what a sweetheart!  We love seeing Zach Deputy.  This year he held the Charity Disc Golf Tournament at the park with benfits donated to the victims of Tropical Storm Debby through the work of Love INC. a food bank, in Live Oak, Fl.

Sunday still had lots of fun for the festival goers and the crowds stuck around.  The music was a day of just 2 stages and smaller acts including The New Mastersounds, the second set of Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk and closed with a set by Lettuce.

Photos by Lauren Seaman- for more go to: