It's become an annual pilgrimage for thousands. Springfest at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park celebrated its 10th year this past weekend with some of the best of the best in music ... blues and gospel singer Mavis Staples, Jim Lauderdale, Peter Rowan, Josh Pinkham, John Rice, Mike Marshall ... the list goes on and on. No one went home disappointed about the music or the artists who performed.

Chicago blues and gospel singer Mavis Staples may have been the one act that surprised everyone, including Mavis. Performing Friday evening beginning at 9 p.m., Staples stepped onto the stage and just wowed everyone within hearing distance. Staples, with years and years of performances under her belt, had everyone singing along with her on all her music ..... that's every different age and they all knew the words!

Staples may have thought she was performing at a blues festival, but commented once she peeked out from backstage, "You people are from the 60s!" she said with her signature deep-throated laugh. There were fans of every age and every socio-economic status enjoying every moment of Staples' fantastic performance and her band's magnificent performance. Even the chill in the air as the temperatures dipped into the 30s didn't deter her fans from hearing this fabulous performer and they let her know their approval by their shouts and applause. "I'll come back here anytime with you all!" she told her gracious audience.

Throughout the Music Park there were four performance stages at any given time with great performers entertaining their fans during the four-day event that ran from March 23-26. Put on by Randy Judy and Beth Judy, it's become one of the premier destinations for lovers of roots music, country, blues, jazz, bluegrass and other areas of music.

Workshops were held before approving audiences at the Music Hall and the Grand Hall with full houses each time.

It was a festival where you could kiss an Alpaca, see a carved buffalo, ride around in your rented golf cart, enjoy all types of delicious festival food, shaved ice, lemonade or stop by the SOS Cafe and lounge around while enjoying their menu when you weren’t listening to some of the greatest music anywhere.

Also performing during the weekend were such groups as Stepping In It, Donna the Buffalo, Mike Marshall, Darol Anger, Roy Book Binder, Habanero Honeys, Verlon Thompson, Larry Keel and many, many more great musicians.

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