Scene and Heard

The Wanee Festival 2011 Review

Posted in Entertainment by sceneandheardblog on April 21, 2011

The Wanee Festival 2011

What started as dream of the Allman Brothers Band to have a ” festival featuring the band and their many side projects “, has become the south’s most important music festival of the year. With the help of Live Nation, the past three years, the seventh annual Wanee Music Festival held at Spirit of Suwanee Music Park, in Live Oak Florida, the festival has grown to an estimated 30,000 fans camping and enjoying the beautiful park and the great North Florida Spring weather.

The Wanee Festival added an extra day of music and a stellar lineup of musicians to the 2011 edition of the show. This years show made it a difficult choice of what band to pick between or leave before the show finished in order to see another show.

The festival kicked off the Wednesday at 1:45 and went well into the night featuring legendary New Orleans band, The Radiators, who are ending their thirty three years of music in June.  They were followed by Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk who included a tribute to James Brown in their late night set.

Thursday began the first full day of music, afternoon shows by Wanda Jackson, North Mississippi Allstars Duo of Luther and Cody Dickinson,  and Blues Traveler’s John Popper who not only played an outstanding set with his new band, The Duskray Troubadours but also made appearances with D.J. Logic and Devon Allman’s Honeytribe.

Stephen Marley and a classic set by Hot Tuna fueled the fans for Widespread Panic’s blistering performance to finish the Peach Stage for the evening. Lotus followed with an excellent set at the Mushroom stage.

Thursday’s performances set the bar high and festival goers worn down but when Sharon Jones  and The Dap Kings took the stage, the energy level rose and after Keller Williams finished his set around 4:30.The anticipation of discovering Warren Haynes new project The Warren Haynes Band filled the Peach Stage to see what the guitar legend had in store. Haynes delivered with a mixture of soul , r&B and rock filled with excellent guitar , horns and vocals.

Led Zeppelin front man ,Robert Plant brought his Band of Joy to the stage next and left the Wanee Festival on its heels mixing new versions of Black Dog, and six other Zep songs with music from his past two albums.

At 9:30, The Allman Brothers Band  opened with “Hot Lanta” and never looked back. It was a classic show filled with the blistering dueling guitars of Haynes and Derek Trucks  and strong vocals from Greg Allman. The band was a music machine, honed to perfection from their  April Beacon Theater run in New York City. The band ended  the first night with “One Way Out” joined by the guitar of Luther Dickinson and Roosevelt Collier on peddle steel guitar.

Rain began the day Saturday, as the exhausted campers wondered out loud how could the music get any better? When the rain ended and the sun came out and Guitar Shorty blazed through his early set it became evident that great music was far from over. Taj Mahal , Ween and Rusted Root all played brilliantly.

The Tedeschi Trucks Band , a newly formed combination of Allman phenom Guitarist, Derek Trucks and his wife Susan Tedechi performed the most incredible set of music of the festival. The talent of this band is endless and their new music energized  the packed venue for the night ahead.

The Steve Miller Band kept the music flowing playing his catalogue of rock hits beginning with “Jet Airliner” and including “The Joker”, “Abracadabra”, and ending with “Keep on Rockin”. The talented guitarist was a crowd favorite who had people dancing and singing through out the set.

The Allman Brothers end the evening doing what they do best, playing from their catalogue of 40 plus years at a fever pitched pace. They are perfectly in sync on every note. Greg Allman, one of the best all time blues voices was as strong  as ever. Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks are both considered top guitarists in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 all time greatest guitarists poll. The wall of sound formed by drummers and bass form a well oiled music machine carrying you with them through every musical twist and turn.

Inviting guest musicians to sit in is expected with the Allmans, this night they were joined by Taj Mahal on “Leavin’ Trunk” and “Statesboro Blues”.

Wanee Festival has become bigger and better every year. The venue is the most beautiful of all festivals and very manageable.  The Spirit of Swanee Park is set up for camping unlike most festival sites. The audience is a more mature age. The lineups are well know experience bands who seem to enjoy interacting with the other musicians. The Wanee Festival has become a  can’t miss festival. One of the top festivals in the nation.

You can purchase the entire shows to watch on your home computer at

Complete cds of the Allman Brothers shows are available from Hittin the Note

Widespread Panic shows from Widespread Panic’s website

To see more photos :

Tedeschi and Trucks

Trucks and Haynes

Gregg Allman

Jack Cassidy Hot Tuna

Rusted Root

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