Why You’ll See Me at This Year’s Purple Hatter’s Ball
This year will be my sixth Purple Hatter’s Ball and it has been such a joy to see this festival blossom. In its eighth iteration, PHB sports a first class lineup and an ever-growing festival family. However, the purpose of the trek to Live Oak, Florida May 8th-10th is to celebrate the life of Rachel Morningstar Hoffman. Rachel was murdered as a result of a botched drug “buy-bust” operation in May, 2008. Her death led to what was dubbed “Rachel’s Law” by the Florida State Senate, which reformed the use of confidential informants by law enforcement in Florida. For those uninitiated, I wanted to lay out a few of the reasons I will always attend this celebration.
They are what make this such a special weekend. We go for Rachel and we go to celebrate living every day like it’s our last. Who else would we rather spend it with than our friends that share this mindset? There are always new faces, but when there are they meet open arms and wide smiles from the PHB vets. As so many have transplanted across the country over the last eight years, this weekend serves as a homecoming for those who have left the Southeast. As this group has grown from a few hundred close friends to several thousand, the message is still the same: celebrate Rachel, celebrate life, celebrate each other.
The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park (SOSMP) is the premier festival grounds in the United States. With over 600 acres of Spanish moss covered trees and the Suwannee River at your disposal, nature and peace surround you as soon as you enter the grounds. Late night campfires and drum circles replace tent cities. One of my favorite activities is seeing the patrons use the forest to create small regional communities that house well over fifty people. Oh, yeah, and you can rent golf carts. Cart at your own risk people.
I love this band and could not help but give a quick shout out to these guys. They bring the dance party like no other and are some of the nicest people in the business. I can still remember Mike Greenfield (drums) walking into our campsite late one evening at Bear Creek Music Festival 2011 and spending the entire night with us jamming on a drum box until sunrise. Be sure to check out their headlining set in a primetime slot on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
Early Bird weekend passes, which include three days of music and camping, are still available on the festival’s website. Passes for the Thursday pre-party also available online for $40 which include camping. To join the wait list for cabins, golf cart rentals and RV hook-ups, please contact Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park at (386) 364-1683.
If you would like to continue Rachel’s legacy to ultimately spread Rachel’s Law bills across the country, please visit the Rachel Morningstar Hoffman Foundation website.