Live Review: Aura Music & Arts Fesival

Crowds huddled & danced for warmth at Aura Music & Arts Festival
Photo by August J. Photography

The below freezing temperatures were no match to the body-heat infused dance waves that moved across the crowds at Aura Music & Arts Festival this past weekend.  Although the sunshine state hardly lived up to it’s name, the crowd put off enough glow to warm the grounds at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, where Aura now calls home.  People who have been to the park will say, it puts off a very enchanted vibe with Spanish moss covering massive Oak trees, nestled off the banks of the historic Suwannee River. The weekend was nothing short of magical with headliners like Papadosio, Perpetual Groove, Dopapod and Conspirator.

Peeking into the Tribal Council dome, where members of the council served Yerba Mate to warm up visitors passing through.
Photo by August J. Photography

Although the weather was chilly in Live Oak, Florida, the Tribal Council provided heart warming conversations along with hot tea to visitors of their Tribal Dome sanctuary. Food vendors were plentiful & stayed open well into the night to feed the hungry bellies of wandering hippies and other vendors provided unprepared campers with warm clothes to protect them from the frigid temperatures.  Locals of the area were also on site supplying firewood so campers could keep warm at their campsites after the sun went down.

Featured visual artists offered stimulation for the eyes of spectators as they painted along to the musical acts, interpreting their thoughts onto canvas.  Artists, both visual & musical, traveled from all across the country to be there and create an unforgettable, radiating experience for everyone.

Featured Artist gather to live paint during Papadosio
Photo by August J. Photography

Consider the Source kicked off the festival right on Friday afternoon.  Their middle eastern/jazz fusion style of music is definitely unique & really great to try & belly dance to.  Later that night, Conspirator, which consists of Aron Magner & Marc Brownstein of The Disco Biscuits, Chris Michetti (RAQ), and KJ Sawka(Pendulum), played two back to back sets, intact with extremely high powered lasers that beamed the crowd up to the next level.

Consider the Source was the first to kick off Aura Music &Arts Festival
Photo by August J. Photography

Perpetual Groove played a late set Friday, which only seemed appropriate since they recently announced their indefinite hiatus to start at the end of this tour. And they did not disappoint their fans with their farewell sets, which included jams like “Green Tea” & “Mr. Transistor.

The music didn’t stop there, however, Aura debuted a Silent Disco this year for super late night dance fiends.  People who made it to the Silent Disco were given headsets where they could switch between channels to listen to different DJs that were playing on stage.  Although you couldn’t find the party by listening for the music, you just had to look for the mass of people dancing to different beats, which, in passing can also resemble a zombie walk.  Either way, if you’re still up after 2am, the Silent Disco is where you want to be.

Conspirator shows off their impressive laser set up
Photo by August J. Photography

Saturday was packed full of amazing artists including Kung Fu’s Tribute to Stevie Wonder featuring Nigel Hall of Warren Hayes Band & Lettuce.  They played all the hits, including “Higher Ground” & “I’ll Be Loving You Always” which forced the crowd to get down & get funky!  Next, Allen Aucoin of The Disco Biscuits, played a DrFameus set equipped with fast paced breakbeats & drum ‘n’ bass.  Dopapod followed, coming all the way from NYC. They played a bunch of new tunes off their recently released album “Redivider” and got the masses pumped for P-GrooveAs Perpetual Groove played their last set of the festival Saturday evening, the crowd was left captivated after their “It Starts Where It Ends” encore.  The Heavy Pets were next, from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.  They play rock ‘n’ roll/jazz/reggae fusion that set the mood quite nicely for Papadosio, who headlined late night Saturday.  Papadosio transported the audience to a new level with an LED wall where they project a plethora of powerful visual images, video clips & amazing artwork.  Their high energy set consisted of several of their classics including “Magreenery” & “Polygons.”

Main Stage at Aura Music & Arts Festival
Photo by August J. Photography

 Brock Butler, of P-Groove, began the music on Sunday afternoon with a solo set followed by The Lee Boys, of Miami, Florida.  The Former Champions reigned down from Richmond, Virginia and set the scene for the second set of The Heavy Pets.  Afterwards, Dopapod played their second set & Papadosio ended the evening again, leaving the crowds screaming for more.

Overall, Aura Music & Arts Festival was a mesmerizing experience for all in attendance.  Everyone’s aura radiated enough warm positive energy to create unifying force that was felt throughout the weekend.   I definitely recommend checking out Aura if you are into the small, community feel when you go to festivals.  Daryl Wolff, Aura founder & organizer worked with Brotherly Love Productions to collectively join people through art & music. I’d say it was a sensational success.

For all images from Aura Music & Arts Festival by August J. Photography Click Here

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