According to Cambridge Dictionary, “Fool’s Paradise” means “to be happy because you do not know or will not accept how bad a situation really is.” With everything going on in the world these days the aptly titled Fool’s Paradise Festival, built by the funk superheroes Lettuce, offers the escape from reality that we all deserve in 2017.
“You don’t know how many people get scared when I turn into the woods,” said our private shuttle driver as we rolled towards a weekend to remember. Give him a hatchet and this man would’ve looked like a killer ready to tumble over the edge. For me, the thrill of adventure was already in full swing.
When you arrive at the St. Augustine Amphitheater you can either pay to park close to the venue or get free parking at a satellite lot near the ocean. Of course, my brother and I chose the latter and rode to the amphitheater in a golf cart from the lot. The first time I was in St. Augustine (two summers ago) we took to the beach upon arrival. We immediately saw dolphins breaching in the distance as we stepped onto the sand after crossing the dunes.
With nice white sand, surfers near the pier, and a nice park nearby, this place is nothing short of paradise. When I found out about the venue last year and heard it was in St. Augustine, I knew immediately that I had to go. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it last year and I missed day one this year due to delays and oversold flights. However, I did make it to day 2. Needless to say, it was epic.
Passing by the camping, vendors, and food truck area in a golf cart driven by a down-to-earth local ensured we got off on the right foot. Getting our VIP tickets and walking into the venue was a breeze. The Pinnacle girls greeted us after passing through security with free shots and swag, which was great because I had forgotten my sunglasses and was able to snatch a pair off the table as we made our way towards the music.
One of the first acts I caught was The Main Squeeze, and they blew me away. Opening with their song “Message to the Lonely,” The Main Squeeze got the party started just right. Jamming through their set, these killer players peppered in everything they could to make their set unforgettable. On their second to last song, they brought out artist at large Antwaun Stanley for a killer rendition of Return Of The Mack. This was my second time seeing The Main Squeeze and it certainly will not be the last. I’d love to see them pair up with Bad Rabbits for a future national tour. Fingers crossed.
When Main Squeeze’s set ended we made our way to the VIP area. After exchanging toke-tales with some fine folks from Sibannacle Life and Zonk, we got a free shirt, our picture taken, and loaded up on drinks. Once the music kicked back in we swiftly moved to the crowd for The Motet’s set. By this time, the crowd started to fill in which can only be expected when a band that is to headline Red Rocks is performing. Zonk balls were flying high throughout the dance-filled set.
Following The Motet, The Floozies took the stage followed by festival curators Lettuce. Lettuce’s set list was as follows:
Ready To Live
Funky Duck (Antwaun)
Sounds Like A Party
What I saw at Fool’s Paradise was a tease to me as I barely touched the tip of the iceberg with regards to what there was to experience at the festival. Next year I intend on clearing my entire weekend to ensure I go on some of the excursions and have time to properly explore St. Augustine.
Fool’s Paradise had such a fun-loving and beautiful crowd, and the atmosphere amplified the excitement for everyone involved. I’m sure Faces of Festivals had a field day while they were there. The turnout was especially impressive, especially because the fest happened at the same time as Ribfest in St. Augustine, headlined by The Hip Abduction (Friday) and Galactic (Saturday) at only a fraction of the cost. The official afterparties must have been a sight for sore eyes, or not if there were a lot of lasers.
I also noticed that Sarbez! (my favorite grilled cheese and craft beer art bar in St. Augustine) threw an unofficial afterparty they dubbed “Fool Moon.” Wish this place was officially affiliated with the festival as it holds a special place in my heart. Maybe it will be next year!
St. Augustine was definitely the place to be this weekend and needless to say, Fool’s Paradise is here to stay. Add Fools’s Paradise to your festival bucket list, pirates!. Can’t wait to see what the 2018 experience brings.
[Featured Image courtesy of Jeremy Scott]