Hulaween main stage. Balloons flying around. Bright lights coming from the stage.

MP3 TAKES: Hulaween’s 10th Anniversary Was Full of Surprises (REVIEW)

Introducing MP3 TAKES, our event review series where we dive deep into the exhilarating world of music festivals and live performances. In an era teeming with music events worldwide, our aim is to help you navigate through the noise and uncover the most captivating experiences. Join us on this adventure to highlight the backstage stories, memorable moments, and unique elements that make each event one-of-a-kind.

Hulaween pulled out all the stops for their 10 year anniversary. From an expanded Spirit Lake exhibit experience to a star-studded lineup, magic was in the air all weekend long. There’s nothing quite like walking into the venue for the first time, and being completely immersed in art encompassing every creative medium you can imagine.

The music was great, but that’s not necessarily Hulaween’s main attraction. Instead, Hulaween focuses on embracing the festival community and lore in a way very few festivals are able to accomplish. It’s a free-for-all demonstration of the creative spirit, with a little spooky halloween antics sprinkled in. Honestly, it’s something you have to see to believe.

Here’s four reasons Hulaween’s 1oth anniversary was a massive highlight

Spirit Lake: 360 Edition

Spirit Lake at Hulaween 2023.
Spirit Lake at Hulaween 2023. Shot by Josh Skolnik.

Spirit Lake is a coveted creative playground sought after by festival goers across the country. In fact, that’s the main selling point for the festival: No matter who’s on the lineup, Spirit Lake alone is worth the trip. This year, that was more true than ever. 

Spirit Lake expanded big time to celebrate the festival’s 10 year anniversary. Art exhibits, side-stages, hidden activations, and spooky sculptures surrounded the entire lake to create the first 360° Spirit Lake experience in Hulaween history.

The result was a seemingly-endless psychedelic exploration of physical art, mural mazes, lakeside light shows, pop-up after-hours sets, and enough lasers to color the entire treeline looming over the festival grounds.

There was always something going on around Spirit Lake, no matter what time of day or night you wondered around. It was a truly captivating, fully-immersive experience that’s virtually unmatched in the festival community.

John Summit Brought the Bass to the Incendia Stage

John Summit is no stranger to dropping bass and dubstep tunes in his sets. Even during his headlining Amphitheater appearance on Thursday night, he made sure to throw some bangers into the setlist. But his after-hours Incendia set was something completely different: an entire set almost entirely dedicated to bass and dubstep music. 

In the two-and-a-half hours Summit was on stage, there was still a good mix of house music and techno throw in, but that definitely wasn’t his main focus. From Shades and Heritage to Wooli and Tape B, Summit explored dozens of dubstep anthems and deep-bass bangers — and the crowd loved every moment.

Pretty Lights Headline

Arguably the biggest hype surrounding the Hulaween lineup this year was Pretty Lights‘ 2-night run. Of course, Pretty Lights has officially made a soaring return to the limelight this year, and for those of us who discovered the electronic and jam scene during the last five years, his Hulaween set was a particularly special moment. For many of us, including myself, this was a first-time experience seeing the Pretty Light project in action. We’re happy to report: It’s definitely worth the hype.

Let’s start with the light show. “Pretty” doesn’t even begin to describe it. It seemed like every color you could imagine was blasting in all directions, painting the crowd with a rainbow tinted spectacle that synched perfectly with the music. 

Speaking of music, Pretty Lights explored every genre under the sun. But overall, the first set was, at its core, grounded in groovy jams and subtle improv. There was a lot going on, all the time, but the band remained in the pocket from start to finish, and everyone got a chance to shine.

Of course, there was plenty of soulful samples, skillful scratching, bayou blues (The Allman Brother’s “Midnight Rider” was a highlight), and even some spooky reggae music music thrown in for good measure. But somehow, each moment felt perfectly in place. I guess that’s the true magic of Pretty Lights. 

String Cheese Incident Delivers a Moon-Themed Set

The String Cheese Incident performing at Hulaween 2023
The String Cheese Incident. Shot by Aaron Bradley.

2023 marks The String Cheese Incident‘s 30th anniversary, and they’re as lively as they’ve ever been. They’ve been performing longer than many Hulaween attendees have been alive, but they still managed to string together six unique sets, including an entire set dedicated to covers, mostly related to the moon, in celebration of the glowing full moon illuminating the festival ground.

READ: The String Cheese Incident — Celebrating 30 Years of Music and Friendship on New Album ‘Lend Me a Hand’

The cover set was a jam-filled trip down top 40 hits and classic rock anthems that included Happy (Pharrell Williams), Dancing in the Moonlight (King Harvest), Family Affair (Mary J), Walking On The Moon (The Police), Levitating (Dua Lipa), Can’t Stop The Feeling (Justin Timberlake), and countless other timeless bops and grooves. There were surprises around every corner, and the dancing never stopped.

The String Cheese fan base is a sight to behold. They’re as dedicated as they come, sporting jellyfish totems (String Cheese’s mascot), cheese stickers, goofy costumes, and bare feet. But that didn’t stop the crowd from dancing, shouting, and vibing throughout the entire weekend. As for the band, they came decked out in elaborate halloween costumes which included face paint, wigs, and furry coats for complete werewolf costumes.


A recent Denver transplant, Logan is a passionate writer, occasional promoter, and lover of all things outdoors (most recently, his years spent surfing the East Coast have developed into snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains). More than anything, though, Logan is an avid music fan. When he's not dancing at the disco, he can almost always be found with a good book or a guitar in his hands.