Beach to Bayou - Oct/Nov 2018
- story by LB Kovac
There’s something quintessentially American about a music festival. Nothing is more apple pie than packing yourself onto a parade ground with thousands of your friends, chomping down on something fried and on a stick and belting out song lyrics in between sets from one of your favorite bands.
As American as it is, it’s not something often found in South Mississippi. The country’s big music festivals – Burning Man in Nevada, South by Southwest in Texas, Bonnaroo and Telluride in Tennessee, even Essence and Jazz Fest in New Orleans – form a bubble around our little piece of the pie.
Beach to Bayou
Mike Rosato and his Bay Rat Productions team are behind this festival. And Rosato says that this “brackish mix” of Mississippi and Louisiana culture dubbed “Sugar Mag,” scheduled for November 9-11 at the Hancock County Fairgrounds in Kiln, is sure to get the hearts of all attendees pumping.
But the fun doesn’t stop at the music. “Honestly, events like Sugar Magnolia are more about a total experience rather than a stand-alone concert or festival that is focused on any one band, food or artist. It’s the whole kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and smells and interactions,” Rosato says.
“For those who have never been, there is something very friendly, primal and relaxing about going to a music festival,” says Rosato.
In the vein of festivals like Burning Man and Bonnaroo, about half of the Sugar Mag’s festival attendees camp out for the weekend. “Bring your RV and set it up,” says Rosato. And if you don’t have an RV, you can always rent one.
Primitive tent camping (with no hook-ups) is included in the ticket prices. Advance tickets are only $35 for one day and $55 for the weekend. Advance ticket prices even include tent camping without hookups (there are free shower facilities on-site). RV hookups are available for those who want more luxe accommodations for the weekend. An advance weekend camping pass with hook-ups - which includes two tickets - is just $140. Purchase tickets online here).
“Sharing the weekend with your friends and enjoying the entire experience together… It’s like the best tailgate party of your life but you don’t have to go home if you don’t want to!” says Rosato.
And if you’re in the half that is not the camping type, then you still have plenty of options. There are lots of nearby hotels and home rentals. And home is probably just a short drive away.
“Kiln…is NOT in the middle of nowhere," says Rosato, "But rather in the middle of everywhere! New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Jackson, Hattiesburg, Biloxi, Mobile, and Pensacola are all far enough to leave your worries back home, but close enough to run back to if you need to.”
Click on map icons for directions
The music will play throughout the day in this weekend community, with special late night shows as well.
“Samantha Fish, Raw Oyster Cult, Russel Batiste and Friends and The Dustbowl Revival are leading an amazingly talented lineup,” said Rosato.
And Los Angeles-based The Dustbowl Revival, with their unique brand of vintage Americana sound, has been generating a lot of buzz. Under the direction of Grammy Award-winning producer Tedd Hutt, their latest self-titled album got them a resounding recommendation from Rolling Stones reviewer Rob Sheffield.
New Orleans jam bands The Iceman Special and The Quickening, as well local R&B group 'Sippiana Soul, are just a few of the other outstanding acts scheduled for the vibrant 3-day weekend. Everyone can find a band to sing to all night.
Away from the stage, the Bay Rat Productions team pulled out all of the stops, bringing Southern flair to every aspect of the festival. Big Wil and the Warden will serve up all your Southern fried favorites; an oyster bar will be on hand - in the middle of oyster season, no less; and the festival bars will be stocked with local micro brew beers and specialty drinks spiked with spirits from Louisiana and Mississippi distilleries.
Great music, good food, and friends you haven’t met yet, will all be just a short drive (or a short camp) away come the weekend of November 9/10. This Southern-stewed music fest offers it all.
For more information and tickets, go to the Sugar Magnolia Fest website.