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Preview: Purple Hatter’s Ball 2017

26 May 2017

written by Croma


Preview: Purple Hatter’s Ball 2017

by Tim Borland

Purple Hatter’s Ball, an annual music festival held in memory of Rachel Morningstar Hoffman, will return to Suwannee Music Park the weekend of June 2-4. The charity event is one of the absolute best bargains on the festival circuit with advance tickets currently at $115 plus tax and fees, which includes camping for three days. Gate prices will start at $130 for those planning to purchase upon arrival.

Purple-Hat-phase-2-admat-980x980Click above for festival website

The 2017 event will also be the 10th Anniversary, and features Emancipator, Dumpstaphunk, reunited Perpetual Groove, Roosevelt Collier, Dubconscious, Zach Deputy, Zoogma, and many more great musicians. Purple Hatter’s Ball has always represented a wide variety of musical genres. For an example of these eclectic tastes, listen to PHB alum Toubab Krewe performing in 2015 with traditional African instruments below.

Early arrivers can enjoy the thursday pre party, and there will be a pot luck on Sunday for VIP ticket holders. There are three great stages for the event: porch stage, amphitheater stage, and beach stage. The beach stage is on the sands of the Suwannee black water river, making for a unique concert experience.


The porch and amphitheater stages should be familiar to music lovers returning to Live Oak, Fla. as they are permanently located at the venue. But there is more than just music – the following video explores some of the different happenings, like fans hula hooping in crowds, art installations, and fire dancers in the campgrounds.

Mod Mobilian has covered the festival yearly since 2013, and one of the consistent recurring elements is the presence of pedal steel guitarist Roosevelt Collier. Originally of the Lee Boys, Roosevelt normally performs on Sunday for campers eager to welcome the day in the sunlight.


Another regular tradition is the release of butterflies into the audience by Margie Weiss a.k.a. Mama Margie as she shares the story of her daughter with the audience. The Mod Mobilian team was able to capture some live footage of Roosevelt Collier soloing on his pedal steel for an enthusiastic Sunday morning crowd.

Rachel Hoffman was the victim of a botched undercover drug sting in Florida for which the teenager was compelled to participate as a confidential informant without legal representation. As a result of the improperly handled incident, Hoffman was murdered. ¬†Due to her plight Florida now has Rachel’s Law which requires proper training for police officers to inform participants of their rights prior to such an operation.

IMG_9842Margie releasing butterflies w/ Lanesha Randolph in 2013

With early spring festivals Wanee and Hangout now a recent memory, Purple Hatter’s Ball kicks off the huge June festival month in fashion. The lineup and camping represents a great value in comparison to the minimal entrance fee. Those looking for a more intimate concert experience will be pleasantly surprised by the beauty and magic of Suwannee Music Park, all while celebrating the life of a young woman who left the world much too soon.



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