In its inaugural year, Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival opened up the festival season March 4-6 at Lake Okeechobee in South Florida.
Okeechobee came out of nowhere as a festival heavyweight, swinging for the fences like Barry Bonds in 2001, sporting TWO DOZEN headliners: Mumford & Sons, Kendrick Lamar, Skrillex, Bassnectar, Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters, Odesza, Hall & Oates, The Avett Brothers, Future, Miguel, Ween, Big Grams (Big Boi & Phantogram), as well as an Allstar "PoWow" Collaboration.
If that wasn't enough to schedule your spring break (or quit your job), the support hit it out of the park with Grace Potter, Jason Isbell, Big Gigantic, Portugal. The Man, Kill The Noise, Bonobo, Gramatix, Shpongle, Lotus, Lettuce, X Ambassadors, Twiddle, Niykee Heaton, and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band — to name a few. Not only dig the festival organizers go big, they went diverse, there were many families, and something to bring the excitement out in everyone.
As the cobwebs clear from festival life, Okeechobee delivered in four big ways:
The talent. Obviously.
The time of year. Starting off March with such an incredible event brings life to the festival scene much earlier in the year. It's a "spring cleaning" for your heart and mind, setting up a wonderful year of festival touring, or a once a year "slobberknocker" (in the voice of WWE's Jim Ross) to get your fun in the sun while surrounded by not only the talent onstage, but in the 30,000-plus festivalgoers shining at their brightest.
The location. Not only is the Southeast missing a diverse titan of a festival in spring, they're missing one all together. Okeechobee brings the region something that can accommodate the masses, without having to drive to Bonaroo or Lockn'. The location is great for those in the area, but also an epic journey for those out of the area.
The venue. On top of those being all the reason you need to pack the car or book your flight, the venue says it for itself! With the three main stages named "Be", "Here", and "Now", and an "Aquachobee Beach" stage on the water, surrounded by art installations, or the "Jungle 51" stage hidden in the woods among it all, the environment is truly incredible. Anyone would be happy to vacation here without the event, but with their "if you build it they will come" take, they won this Festival by literally putting the writing on the wall (or stage).
I trust Okeechobee Music & Arts festival will be shooting for even bigger next year (if that's possible), but the one thing is for sure — I'll be there.