Tuesday Jan 16
Aug
15/11
Live: 311 Pow Wow Fest (2011)

Date:August 4th – 6th, 2011
Line up: 311, Sublime With Rome, Dirty Heads, SOJA, G. Love, Ballyhoo, The Movement, Supervillains & More
Location: Florida’s Suwannee Music Park in Northern Florida
What: 311 Pow Wow Festival


“I def left my heart at Pow Wow! I’m hooked and can’t wait to go to another!”

“Pow Wow was an experience I will be talking about in 30 years. Thanks for putting together an AMAZING weekend!”

“Words can’t describe!!! It was more than a concert – it was a community of positivity and love!”

“The only thing that could possibly top what went on there would be Pow Wow 2012.”

The above sentiments are just a small stash of the abundance of love being out-poured on Facebook and Twitter showing appreciation in the aftermath of 311’s first annual Pow Wow Festival held the weekend of August 4, 2011.

The vibe of musical-unity oozing from the enthusiasm is just a natural carryover from a concert-experience that had a chief aim of bringing people together in a celebration of melodies and lyrics.

It was revelry of song, dance and community that spread across the 500 acres of Florida’s Suwannee Music Park for three days. The Dixieland-like environment provided an ideal backdrop and honed in a picturesque “pow wow” ambiance, with its old-time scenery of cypress trees, Spanish moss and spring-fed lakes.

A tie-dyed scene of tents, RVs, canopies and pavilions bustling with mostly-bare bodies clad in bathing suits and colored with tattoos sprawled across Suwannee’s nestled campgrounds. Over the course of the three-day festival, the feet of thousands of music lovers frolicked and danced across the winding trails and sprawling fields of the park with a common mission of letting go and letting the loving take a hold. We were there to soak up the bouncing bass lines, thrashing drums, shinning horn sections, howling harmonicas and scratching vinyl of bands and DJs like Ozomatli, The Supervillains, Dirty Heads, Streetlight Manifesto, Ballyhoo!, G. Love and the Special Sauce, DJ Soulman, SOJA, Deftones, Sublime with Rome and, the host of the whole shindig, 311.

By day, concertgoers of 311’s first fest spent afternoons doing whatever they could to deal with the wrath of Florida heat at its worst, which was made possible by the perfect combination of a cloudless sky and beaming sunshine mixed with plenty of humidity. To deal, methods included posting up under the nearest shady tree, which would provide an automatic relief, escaping to vehicles pumping air conditioners, walking through brilliantly provided spray mister-fan areas, or taking a dip in the coffee-colored and cool Suwannee River.

I am super disappointed to admit that where I camped was a hike by foot to the river, so I never made it down. However, I was given various first-hand accounts from some fellow campers hailing from Pennsylvania. I was told it was a whole lotta naked guys and gals jumping from rocks and enjoying complete freedom in the great outdoors. Again, not-so-stoked I missed out on these scenes of inhibition-less, carefree fun in the name of music.

People-watching at Pow Wow organically became a pastime, with one memorable snapshot being girls in trippy tutus twirling about with hot pink, yellow and purple feather headdresses as the Dirty Heads sang what they sang and everyone just sailed away on their percussion-infused rock-rap. As the Huntington Beach bros flowed on sudsy bass lines, I watched as their smart-ass yet silly and sensitive stylee washed over the crowd. By the middle of DH’s set, everyone was dancing, up off their tapestry blankets, hula hooping, blowing bubbles and grooving to the beach-street sounds of songs like “Believe,” “Stand Tall,” “Ring the Alarm,” “Paint it Black,” “Check the Level” and more off their debut album, Any Port in a Storm (EMG, 2010).

Rome Ramirez of Sublime with Rome joined the guys on stage to perform their collaboration radio hit, “Lay Me Down,” with a little rendition of Bob Marley’s “Hammer” mixed in as a prelude. A natural camaraderie between Ramirez and the urban-beach boys could be felt in the musical chemistry of the song, which personified what Ramirez told The Pier in a recent interview, “Anytime I get to kick it with the Dirty Heads I’m a happy guy.”

Following the Dirty Heads on Friday night, it was Ramirez’s turn to rage the Pow Wow stage as the front guy for a little band known as Sublime. Sublime with Rome played to a slightly sauced crowd and took the audience into a nighttime vibe, with the sun setting while the resurrected band mixed in tracks from their new album, Yours Truly (Fueled by Ramen, 2011), with the classics of OG Sublime. In the same interview, Ramirez told The Pier that the new tunes off Yours Truly were blending in nicely to sets on their 2011 tour. The sentiment was backed up on Friday as Bug Gaugh thrashed the drums and Eric Wilson walked the bass, jamming out tunes like “Panic,” “Badfish,” “What I Got,” “Lovers Rock,” “Date Rape,” and “Same Old Situation” for a set that was raucous and full of verve.

Each night, when the sun was gone and evening fell upon Pow Wow there was an electricity in the air accented by glow sticks and streams of string lights illuminating pathways to music and little tent communities that were beginning to feel more and more comfortable to those inhabiting the grounds for the weekend.

SOJA played the first night, Thursday, conjuring a musical-infused buzz that hummed through the air and exuded freedom and a no-worry vibe for all those taking part. The D.C.-bred, dread-head rockers dominated the stage with go-go infused reggae blended with bombastic bass lines, vibrant horn sections and Jacob Hemphill’s passionate and prolific lyricisms.

G. Love played into the sunset on Saturday night, serving up a stellar set of classics like “Cold Beverage” and “Basketball” mixed with the jug-chuggin’, down-home tracks off his latest release Fixin’ to Die (Brushfire Records, 2011). Songs like “Milk and Sugar,” and “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” were well received in the Suwannee venue and the raw, tangy-fresh energy of G. Love was an undeniable force that got everyone moving and shaking on the Pow Wow field.

311 played stellar sets on both Friday and Saturday evenings – each approximately two to three hours long. The hosts of the show played all of Transistor (Capricorn Records, 1997), tracks off their latest release, Universal Pulse (311 Records, 2011), and many 311 classics like “Come Original” and “All Mixed Up.” On Saturday night, I was right up at the front-right of the stage and definitely lost myself in song after song, while watching Nick Hexum guide and play to the energy from the stage. Sometimes it seemed that as the audience sang and screamed with 311-love he was getting off on it all more than we were, and it was a special thing to watch the whole sonic-wave interaction between audience and rock star on the final night of a music celebration.

I’m sure a lot of amazing parts and performances of Pow Wow didn’t get mentioned in this recap, but feel free to share your stories in the comments. Ultimately, it was a weekend of musical escape from society where everyone was free to enjoy summertime when the living’s easy. I’m counting on a 2012 Pow Wow, but my only suggestion would be a different time of year, like spring or fall. It was so damn hot.

Viva la Pow Wow!


– Article by: The Pier Staff
– Photos by: Amanda Zancanella


Check out all of our past Concert Articles complete with photos inside our Editorials section by clicking HERE

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8 Responses to Live: 311 Pow Wow Fest (2011)

  1. Kathy says:

    One of he best weekends I have had all summer! Beat out the other three festivals I covered this summer because of the amazing 311 nation. 311 fans are the best people on Earth and it was a pleasure to soak in the river, groove to the music, and live in tent city with all of them. Hope we get to do it again next year, and yes, perhaps a cooler time of year, that was intense heat!

  2. Holly says:

    After a 4 hour drive to live oak from the Tampa area I arrived at suwanee river park to experience my first festival ever. We arrived at noon to set up our camp spot and found one particularly close to the river and stages. Our spot was secluded and private next to a two story deck that I would later find myself raving freely on a magical ride.. Let me tell you how it started. I came to this park with an open mind set willing to experience all that was there! The first performance by Murs set it off followed by soja who I had never seen live before. Beautiful show I had no problem inching my way to the front literally at the stage. The people were calm and the vibes were great and I let myself go dancing like a ribbon free flowing. Afterwards I checked out the tents and spent about an hour looking at 3d murals with the artist himself. A group of partyers started banging on a bongo and next thing I know were alllaughing and singing an acoustic cover of snoop dogg’s gin and juice. Dirty heads started performing and I ran the entire 200 acres to find myself in arms length of them. Amazing performance, I was stoked to see them for my first time live as well. After finding my friends under the big oak tree we stocked up on water and made sure we were well hydrated for a long lasting night! Our campsite was about a 15 minute walk but we all enjoyed every minute of it dancing like we were man made machines. The 2nd stage located in the woods was a refreshing way to end the night. I find myself there at noon the next morning with familiar faces lighting it up to the movement. I had seen them once before and they put on a super show as always! It was ridiculously hot out but there were so many nice people spraying the crowd off with water and fans that nothing mattered but the music. The night before I was able to meet the managers of 311 and was in awe to tell them how much I appreciate the experience. And it was just beginning. That night the sun was setting to sublime. I lit up during “smoke two joints” and enjoyed singing along to old classics with good people. I felt as if this was the place where all the real fans of music meet together and right then I began my trip. My magical journey. I walked back to the car to drop off my camera because I was in no condition for responsibilities. My only responsibility was to continue living in the moment. My friend and I frolicked twirled and skipped through 200 acres of land weaving in and out of people spinning poi to arrive in an ocean of hula hoopists, ravers, fire spinners, gymnasts, and dancers. The sky was so clear and I had to keep looking up to make sure I wasn’t in a dream. 311 began playing and the music waves blasted through the amps and I watched the waves spread out over the entire park slowly but all at once. Smooth sailing I split from my group because I knew there was more out there to experience. I had to live my own journey and I traveled from group to group laughing and singing with friends like I had known them all my life. I can’t explain the amount of freedom I felt when I ventured off. I couldn’t stand in one place. Running around twirling poi I found myself fitting in with silly people wearing silky hats and flowy skirts. Mostly naked. I spun around and around feeling the bass and the rhythm immediately “spinning” came on and my mind was blown. I was overwhelmed with the opportunity and experience that the entire purpose of the weekend unfolded in front of me at that very moment. It was an understanding I can’t explain. All I know is that 311 put that set on in that order for a well thought out process and purpose. I found myself being introduced to more and more ironic coincidences. I was mind fucked. It was like music was running a train on my brain and I was loving it. I was in the center of the field feeling ecstatic imitating the movements of my fellow spinners. People were taking pictures left to right capturing the moments I was fully intact with. Suddenly I felt something hot sweep by me. I open my eyes and jump back to the man with the fire. Earlier that night I had caught a glimpse of the fire spinner but unfortunately one negative vibe had the man running out of the crowd with his pants on fire. The fire found me. I have never seen someone spin fire. Ever. My glowering slapped me in my face reassuring me that this man deserved a full amount of attention. I slowly backed up inches from the chains if fire swinging back and forth standing there in awe. In shock. In total amazement. The beauty of it all! I was at my peak! I was filled with music ready to implode and I leaped and darted toward the front to continue my journey elsewhere. I was either looking up or looking down never looking forward and I felt more alive then ever prancing my way to the stage. I had never seen 311 live before, and I had never guessed how powerful their music was. I couldn’t touch the ground I had to sit in a chair. Up front about 10 feet arms length of 311. I was in no condition to be up there. Most of the people there would have killed to be in that spot so I moved and got hydrated. I was startled. And then things were weird. But after I chugged water I turned and saw people lounging in their own hammocks tied to the 300 ft tall cypress trees under the full moon and that scenery set my mind back a step. I loved that there was so many good people there to catch my falls! I walked to the porta Potties and found it hilarious there was men and women signs when clearly there was nothing different about them. Nothing mattered at that point but to venture off and find myself at home in a new place. I climbed to the top of the hill overlooking the 10,000 311 die heart fans swaying from left to right in all different directions and I felt exalted and powerful at the same time. I was sweating. I jumped up and grazed my body to the tubes of water making it rain and stood under it listening to 311s “mind control ” as if I was at home taking a cold shower until I opened my eyes and my brain warped into the amps. Was I clothed? At that point it didn’t matter. I ran from a giant, twirled with a gypsy, and jumped across an obstacle to find myself at the front of the stage once again with my friends. I wasn’t sure what kind of an experience they were having but I wasn’t too worried because the music had taken control. I looked into the mans face with the mic and couldn’t believe that this was real. He was so high of energy and so powered from the energy we all returned to the stage. It was an effect where everything was bouncing from one another. My mind was blown. The amps were 5 ft from me and my brain was rattling. I had to move once the pot leafs on this mans shirt started to spin in different directions and fly away. I found myself staring at a laser show. It reminded me that there was more to experience out there and I was called back into the wild! I later walked by the guy who was supporting a velcrow strap around his head with a laser show extended from it showing millions of green lights drawing vibes that I was feeling. I looked at him and was so delighted to meet him because I had to let him know how much of a big difference he made for me that night. Even if he was on the other side of the field I would find my eye catching the laser show. I sank down at the top of the mountain under the shade of the moonlight trying to reevaluate my body and my thoughts. I looked above as the skies were twirling and the misty clouds were forming right before me. The sky was so clear. Right at that moment ants were crawling all over my body and it startled me during the split second of the song “beyond the grey skies”. Normally I would have stood up to brush myself off but right then and there I could feel the bass from the ground. The stage was so far. It was so quiet and I looked around to find several other people doing the same thing as me. I kept staring at the grey skies and I lifted my head up following the words from the lyrics as if my night was one music video after another. I really didn’t want the night to ever end but when I felt it coming to an end I couldn’t even begin to collect my thoughts. The show left me laying there with the music still in my head I didn’t know how I was going to make it. I was mind fucked at that point. The stampede of people leaving was so crazy looking and it was wild to watch the night go by right before my very own eyes. Right then all I could think, standing at the top of the hill, was that this night will be remembered. 50 years from tonight, this night will be talked about, people will dream to be here, for generations to come, I was experiencing this all at once. It wasn’t just a new experience for me, it was a door that opened in front of me and I stepped into it all. Slowly, but surely.. The next night we continued to venture out from lake to beach to woods to fields that everything fell into place for the rest of the night. 311 put on a mire laid back set and I enjoyed standing in the back relaxing on our tye dye blanket until “eons” cane on my friend jumped up and disappeared. I ran in the opposite direction and inched my way through the crowd of sweaty fans more crowded than ever to instantly bump into my bestfriend during the chorus of eons! Out of everyone there I don’t know how the he’ll I managed to do that. I wasn’t even trying to find him. My mind set back and I danced away to the flowy rhythms with awesome people around me. I wanted that song to continue forever. I wanted that weekend to continue forever. Ending the night at the 2nd stage spinning poi running up to dj mixmaster mike was the final tie to my shoelaces. My weekend was like a rollercoaster and this rave ended my night with a bang. I threw my fists up in the back and slowly moved from spot to spot to satisfy my position for my final moments. I was up front raging out in the mosh amazed at the tracks he was throwing on. From classic rock to oldschool rap to drum bass and dubstep within a matter of minutes, one into the other, back and forth, the energy I was feeling up there was like no other. Dj mixmaster mike took a picture of all the people in the front right when I backed up so unfortunately there was no room for them to capture the moment I was in. I was in my own world. So happy. I had to detail my story because that’s the only way to explain it. What a magical weekend to remember.. I’m so stoked to attend more festivals but nothing will ever over ride or top the first annual pow wow festival. When people asked me how it was I say I feel as if I’ve experienced the new generation of Woodstock. It was an experience to be cherished and remembered for ever. It couldn’t have been any better or any other way. Everything fell into place.

  3. Wilder says:

    maybe instead of a different time of year a different place? southern cali perhaps? :D

  4. Musicfan311 says:

    Spirit of the Suwanee was Perfect.

    the event was perfect.

    REALLY hope there is one in 2012!

  5. Wes says:

    I am a better because because I went to the 311 Pow Wow. The Transistor set was my 29th show, and those 4 sets were the best I’ve ever seen them play. Best experience of my life.

  6. 1artist09 Jennifer Eslava says:

    One of the best experiences of my life! I needed a vacation so bad and who better to do it with than the 311 familia!!! What a powerful show of how humanity should be… repsectful, loving and making sure you are having a great time. I would return to Pow Wow every year! This is the only time of year I can leave town due to living in a tourist town myself. Our season in Panama City Beach is from March until Labor Day! My wonderful boss not only let my roomie & I go to this festival but kept my roomie’s daughter for us. I love 311 with all my heart – such a wonderful example set for us all! So glad that Suwannee felt that vibe! I hope to make it to Vegas but as I said our season begins at that time! Please let Pow Wow be an annual thing such as the cruise & 311 day! We plan to take my roomies daughter next year due to the wonderful experience we had! I felt so renewed with love & positivity after going to Pow Wow that is was difficult to come home – maybe a month long Pow Wow next year? ha ha ha! I would sweat & get eaten by bugs with those same people proudly every year! Here’s to Pow Wow!!!!!!!!!

  7. 1artist09 Jennifer Eslava says:

    By the way – adding Deftones, Sublime w/ Rome & G Love were just wonderful added bonuses!!!!!

  8. Diezel says:

    I’m about up there with you Wes not quite 29 times but my 30 year old ass has seen our boys in 311, 22 times and this was by far the coolest thing ever, and my main reason for going of course because of 311 period with counting all of the other bands there whose music I love and of albums I own, but was to experience the Transistor album from beginning to end played Live, and that simply did it for me! And no no offecnse, but never have this in southern Cali, (like 311day in New Orleans) must keep it in the exact same spot here in Florida, took me 6 hours to get there from South FLA and I couldnt have picked anywhere else in FLorida where this could have been possible. Happy to read Holly had the trip of a life time and for it being her first time seeing 311 live EVER, I couldnt have picked a better experience for her or someone to go through with seeing them, outside of maybe 311 day, but unlike 311day, you dont get all of the other amazing bands like we did with the POW WOW, and meaning to keep it here in Florida, is because it was almost like a form of Woodstock, and I don’t know if it could be done or repeated in the same way as it was that weekend. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Deftones a band like 311 where I own every single one of their albums, and luv and have the upmost respect for, thinking wow they may be out of place compared to all of the bands here, but I know how close in friendship they are with 311, and I know why 311 wanted them there , and man did Chino and the boys ever kill it!!!! It was almost a new breath of fresh air, to get a heavier band outside of any reggae or ska influence, but more on the trancy and punk level relation if you want to compare them with any of the other acts, but toppled with Metal as they are know for. To see Bud and Eric and 311 and Deftones and The Movement, etc etc, This POW WOW fest left me almost speechless, it was such a sucess!!!!!

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