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Finding Funk, Community and Respite at Fool’s Paradise

It’s official. A much awaited festival season properly kicked off down in Saint Augustine, Florida this weekend- where the grass is green, the girls are pretty and the amphitheater is bumpin’. With it’s carefully curated lineup, diverse audience, and summery weather, the inaugural celebration of Fool’s Paradise was nothing short of a standout event and community-enhancing weekend.

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Fool’s Paradise accomplished something that no other special event has successfully pulled off before. With festivities set against the backdrop of this historical beachfront city, the event allowed for a seamless pairing of all the convenience that a metropolitan area offers, alongside the heady vibes of a conventional camping festival. Whether you rented an Airbnb, or snagged a camping spot just steps from the palm tree lined amphitheater gates, this musical gathering offered the option to participate in whichever immersive, removed, or balanced experience best suited a patron’s needs.

Above all, the unified expression of musical talent shared throughout the weekend was what left me with more feels than I know how to emotionally handle. From the main stage to the late night shows, every artist’s set that incorporated a guest musician “sit-in” (which happened more often than not), brought new and inspirational light to their already crowd pleasing performance. If ever a group of new-age funkadelic artists with the complete ability to collaborate on stage got together, then I found them all shredding it up last weekend in the Sunshine State. I’ve never felt an audience react more powerfully than when witnessing Lettuce and Griz jam their hearts out together- in part because the pairing had, until then, never performed as one show-stopping entity. But before that historical performance went down, Vulfpeck fully stole my heart with their interactive four part harmony sing-alongs and nearly theatrical choreographed interludes. And I have Goldfish to thank as my personal kickstart to the weekend, when they more than tempted me to hop around the pit to their addictive, dance heavy melodies. All in all, every single artist brought their A-game and were met with roaring audience energy and camaraderie from their A-list artist peers.

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The bar has been set unprecedentedly high, and I am truly impressed with every aspect of this very special event. I spent a good chunk of time bouncing around the perfectly consolidated space and I can confidently share that not a single party-pooper or spunion occupied the area as far as the eye could see. From mingling and networking with industry folk and artists backstage, to getting decorated by new friends with glitter and body art embellishments outside the food trucks, the vibes remained consistently warm and welcoming between all walks of life. I can’t wait to catch the talented performers that filled my music loving heart this weekend through out the summer- but I fear the setting will never quite compare. I dare you to continue to impress me, music world.

Photo credit: Christopher Rivera

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