311 Pow Wow Festival

The dog days of August are upon us, and that means your lazy, crazy days of summer are numbered. So why not give in to your wanderlust while you still can, before the sobering realities of back-to-school or back-to-the-grind kick in? Take a road trip – it’s good for the soul!

And there’s no better destination for your carload of fun-loving friends than the first-ever 311 Pow Wow Festival, a three-day music, camping and just hanging-out event from Thursday-Saturday (Aug. 4-6). It all goes down at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Fla. (directions at left), and features top alt-rock, blues, ska and jam bands such as 311 (of course), the Deftones, Sublime With Rome, G. Love & Special Sauce, The Dirty Heads, Reel Big Fish, Ozomatli and many more. There are even DJs (Trichrome and Mixmaster Mike) and comedians (Doug Benson and Graham Elwood) to shake things up. Call it one last hurrah, a fond farewell to the Summer of 2011.

“It’s like a three-day, good-time summer camp,” says 311 guitarist Tim Mahoney. “A little escape. Maybe turn your phone off and just enjoy living for a little bit. It’s really hard to let loose from your responsibilities.”

So what inspired 311 – an alt-rock band from Omaha, Neb., that mixes rap, reggae, ska and funk into its sound – to take on this endeavor?

“We’ve always been throwing around the idea of a multi-day camping event where people can hang out for more than one day, and you can play two nights in a row,” says Mahoney. “We’ve been thinking about it for years, and that site down in Florida just kind of came up, and we were like, well, maybe we should give it a shot to get our feet wet.”

Not surprisingly, you can expect a healthy dose of songs by 311, which is best known for the hits “All Mixed Up” and “Down,” and also just released its 10th album, “Universal Pulse,” on July 19.

“We’re gonna do four sets over the course of two nights, with the Deftones playing the Thursday night before,” he says. “So it’s a good three days’ worth of music. “We’re gonna do “Transistor,” our fourth record, in its entirety in one of those sets, just for fun. That’s something we’ve never done, so that will be interesting. And we’ll go through all the songs from “Universal Pulse” over the course of those two nights, and everything from our back catalog.”

For fans of 311’s older sound, hearing the new album performed live should be a true highlight of the festival.

“I think “Universal Pulse” is almost like getting back to our roots, if that makes sense,” says Mahoney. “It’s more to the point, straightforward kind of rock and a little more high-energy. To me, it’s like we’re getting back to an energy that we’ve gotten away from for awhile.”