As I was standing in line to board Jam Cruise 14 to see, among many others, the band Lettuce, I checked my Facebook feed and saw this:
Lettuce is an awesome funk band and their drummer practically ran Jam Cruise 13. Griz is a huge part of this new “future funk” style that I am *really* getting into (think live sax and trumpet over sick digital beats). Break Science is just… one of my favs, ever. And Nth Power is fantastic – I just saw them at Hula and really enjoyed rocking out to them. So to say I was excited at this line-up would be an understatement.
(Un)Fortunately, Vince already had plans that weekend to go to North Carolina and run the dragon again in his Veloster. So I recruited Cody and Ashley to go with me, exposing them to live funk and jambands for the first time ever.
Cody is like “I’ll go on Jam Cruise now.” And even Ashley was like “I’mma need one of those Lettuce hats because this is awesome.”
Since this was the first Fool’s Paradise ever as well as the first festival/concert hosted by Lettuce, as well as the first time Lettuce and Griz ever played together, I had no idea what to expect.
Here are the things that stood out to me as awesome:
- Lettuce absolutely deserves to headline their own two-day event. I’ve heard Lettuce multiple times now, with more sit-ins and artists-at-large than I can remember. Their Saturday night closing set at Fool’s Paradise absofuckinglutely laid waste to us all. Without question the best set I have ever seen them do.
- The St. Augustine Amphitheater is a fantastic venue. Literally every spot had a great view, the sound was solid, and the majority of the seating space is covered which kept us dry despite some heavy downpour. I absolutely loved this venue and will totally go back for Fool’s #2 and any other fun music event.
- St. Augustine is a great city to have a two-day concert/mini-festival. We stayed in the Historic District overlooking the Fort and across from the oldest wooden schoolhouse in the U.S. and it took us approximately 10 minutes to get home from the concert Friday night. We also were in walking distance of history, shopping, and adorable restaurants. Win-Win for St. Auggie!
- Friends and loved ones were EVERYWHERE! I spent quality time with so many wonderful friends who made the drive for Fool’s and every time I saw someone in a Jam Cruise hat, I immediately gave out hugs. The Jamily thing is real and awesome.
- Lettuce and Griz are great together. I love Griz – dat sax doe – but with a full live band behind him instead of a computer, it was just magic.
- Goldfish is AWESOME. I had no idea what to expect but this South African duo brought their A-game!
- Parking was easy, if you knew where to go. Cody and I were stressed about parking vs. cab vs. the illusive St. Auggie Uber. We ended up driving and getting an amazing, hidden, private parking spot at the Elk’s Lodge. Many a car trip was possible thanks to that spot…
- Food Trucks and unlimited re-entry were clutch. Speaking of car trips, the ability to come and go from the venue as we pleased was fantastic. Food trucks, festi-vendors, space to breathe – loved it.
And because it was the first year, here are some things I hope we can improve for next year:
- Get MORE power for Break Science. I saw Break Science on Jam Cruise 13 in an itty bitty venue on the boat due to an epic storm shutting down what should have been the last set on the pool deck. The venue was small but whatever, they crushed it – so hard that the power went out. Last weekend in St. Auggie, Borham and Adam were just breaking their stride when suddenly, silence. Yet another circuit breaker flip. I think Break Science should get the main stage next year. Please?
- Leave Orlando earlier. Because in St. Auggie that weekend was 1) Fool’s Paradise, 2) Rhythm and Ribs Fest, 3) Sail Boat Race, 4) Spring fucking break with 100 million children everywhere, and 5) Wedding and bachelorette parties and shit show central. The traffic was 10mph from Lake Mary to Daytona – NOT exaggerating.
- Announce themes earlier, and pick strong ones. Pirates were kind of a no-brainer, but “Beach Bums and Babes” on the first day was a little too open ended. I have to hand it to Cody though – he picked out Skipper and Gilligan outfits for us before the theme Pirates & Pranksters was even announced, and we totally crushed it.
- Don’t make rookie ass mistakes goddamnit you’re 34 and you’ve partied how many times? You should know better. Okay yeah that’s just advice for Future Ali because I’m an idiot.
- Lettuce hula hoop in the venue! Please? Because… I feel lost without my hoop. 🙁
- Figure out a better way to get the Late Night Show folks into The Elk’s Lodge. Once we were in, it was all good. But having 100+ warm, tired, mostly-chemically-altered people stand in a giant wad around a door while ID’s are manually checked against a paper list was not the greatest.
Overall, this was one of the best music-filled weekends I’ve had in ages. The venue, the town, our hotel, the friends and love and silliness surrounding me – it was all just SO perfect and something Cody and I needed. It was also super intimate – definitely the type of event I can do without Vince (unlike Hula or Okeechobee or Aura), and after watching the GoPro video of him taking decreasing radius turns on the gap at 40+mph,…. um… yeah NO.
You will definitely find me at Fool’s Paradise again next year. Specifically, the St. George Inn in Castillo Suite #42’s balcony watching bachelorette parties attempt to storm America’s oldest fort at 3am. 🙂
Til next year, Fools!!