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Wanee festival has become an area favorite

Special photo
Hot Tuna guitarist Jorma Kaukonen said the crowds at the Wanee Music Festival have been able to "capture the spirit of Woodstock." Kaukonen played the iconic woodstock festival with the Jefferson airplane.

Special photo Hot Tuna guitarist Jorma Kaukonen said the crowds at the Wanee Music Festival have been able to "capture the spirit of Woodstock." Kaukonen played the iconic woodstock festival with the Jefferson airplane.

Carlton Fletcher

LIVE OAK, Fla. — For a growing number of Southwest Georgians, one of north Florida’s best best-kept secrets isn’t much of a secret anymore.

Each year, the Allman Brothers Band-hosted Wanee Music Festival at the Spirit of the Suwanee Music Park here is drawing more and more local music fans, many of whom plan their vacation around the three-day festival.

“I kind of found out about Wanee by accident,” Wayne Morris said in an email. “A friend mentioned it in passing, so I went online and looked it up. It was the kind of music my wife and I enjoy, so we decided four years ago to go down. We fell in love, and we’ve been back every year since.

“Now, though, we take off Tuesday through Saturday so we can get down and get a good camping space. We’re going down with a group of friends this year. It’s going to be wild.”

Morris and friends will have plenty to enjoy at Wanee ‘13, scheduled Thursday-Saturday (with an early-bird party on Wednesday for eager fans). In addition to Friday and Saturday sets by both the Allman Brothers and Widespread Panic, the eclectic lineup this year includes Leon Russell, Maceo Parker, Robert Randolph & His Family Band, Les Claypool and his Duo De Twang, Gov’t Mule, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Tower of Power, Michael Franti & Spearhead, the North Mississippi Allstars and Hot Tuna Electric.

Sumar Snapp, who is attending her first Wanee festival, said she’s heading south Wednesday to experience the famous Wanee vibe ... and to see Widespread Panic on back-to-back nights.

“From everything I’ve heard, it’s one of the really fun music events each year,” the 19-year-old Albany college student said. “I think camping out, getting the whole experience, is going to be fun. And I get to see two Panic shows!”

While all VIP tickets for the festival have sold out, three-day general admission tickets are available for $215. Tickets include three days of primitive camping.

The Spirit of the Suwanee site is easily accessible off interstate highways 75 and 10. From I-75, take Exit 451 and travel 4.5 miles south. From I-10, take Exit 283 and travel 4.5 miles north on U.S. Highway 129.

A free Wanee app is available for download at the wanee.com website. The 2013 festival is the ninth Wanee, which started in 2005.