Eric Anthony Rodriguez

Eric Anthony Rodriguez

This past weekend I had a blast at the Brainquility Music Festival at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. The weekend got off to a rough start due to the weather, but things quickly got back on track, and Brainquilty’s second year at the SOSMP was a success.

Parts of I-10 were closed on Thursday due to high winds, so all of the traffic was being routed north on Hwy. 129. From the Busy Bee gas station all the way to the SOS Park it was stop-and-go traffic. Once I got into the park, I could hear the music playing while I was unloading my car at my campsite. Shortly after I had everything unpacked, the music abruptly stopped. I noticed the power was out at my campsite, and none of my neighbors had power either. Everything was on hold due to the power outage. After the rain stopped at about 10, I went home. I later found out that I missed Defunk and the Floozies.

On Friday, I vowed to miss as little as possible. The sky was blue. There was no traffic on Hwy. 129, and the power was on in the park. I was able to hear most of Honey What’s set on the Live Stage. Their female lead singer was very versatile and at times they reminded me of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. A bit later, I headed over to the Sound Stage to hear Side Trakd. I really enjoyed hearing the dance remixes of rock and R and B songs. My next stop was at the yoga tent for a yerba mate tasting. The Guayaki Company had several varieties for us all to try, and let us know what the company is doing to help the forest and the people who harvest their yerba mate. The Lazy Syrup Orchestra could be heard in the background, so I decided to go see their set. Their dance remix of James Brown’s “Sex Machine” was a big hit with the Brainiacs who were there.

Later Friday evening, I went to see Megan Hamilton. While she was setting up her DJ equipment, I met Taylor Smith, from Dream Weaver Designs, who was one of the artists who were painting large murals while the music played. It is mesmerizing to watch someone painting while music is playing. Over at the Live Stage, Russ Liquid put on quite a show. Russell Scott plays the trumpet and works the turntables, and there was also a live drummer on stage. It was a fun blend of jazz, hip-hop and EDM. I was able to catch the last act of the night, Manic Focus. This DJ and drummer duo had the bass turned up to 11. I am fairly certain that my organs got moved around from the ground shaking, but they appear to be working fine. One of my favorites from his set was a remix of “Use Me,” originally by Bill Withers.

My first stop Saturday was a slow flow yoga class. Christie Gallardo did a fantastic job getting us all relaxed and ready for our day. She normally teaches at the Tallahassee Yoga and Meditation Center. At the Sound Stage, Niles Shepard was teleporting the crowd to an underground dance club. After their set, I got to meet Cameron Windsor and Jim Brenk. They are from Minneapolis and were really enjoying our weather. While Charlie Hustle was on stage, I got to meet another one of the mural artists, Jemal McClary, from Seeoneart. It was great watching him paint to a remix of “Oye Como Va.” MZG kept the dance grooves going on the Live Stage. There was a crowd, but there was enough room to dance around, and many did just that.

The Brain Children was a fun collaboration with several of the musicians who were at Brainquility. I really loved their version of “Fly Away,” originally by Lenny Kravitz. The crowd also got down to their take on some Red Hot Chili Peppers songs. There were two acts scheduled to start at midnight on Saturday. I started out jamming to the unique sound of SunSquabi on the Live Stage, but I was in a dancing mood so I finished the night with the dance beats provided by Justin Martin.

It was great seeing Brainquility continue to grow off of the success of their first year at the SOS Music Park. I hope a medium-sized festival like this can continue to thrive for many years to come. If you have an opportunity to get tickets for next year, that is a no-brainer: buy them, and come enjoy yourself with the other Brainiacs.

Eric lives in Suwannee County and is a public school educator. He is an independent contractor. You can reach him at

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