By Selene San Felice
A portal has been opened in the swamplands of Okeechobee. Floridian music fans are invited to come together for four days to experience the nation’s best musicians and artists in a brand new festival adventure. Located roughly two hours southeast of Tampa, the swamp-city will host the first ever Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival from March 3 to 6.
With more than 110 artists, bands, and DJs set to perform across five stages, Okeechobee could rival Governor’s Ball, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza as one of the country’s biggest campout music festivals. The festival boasts big names like Mumford and Sons, Kendrick Lamar, Skrillex, Bassnectar, Hall & Oates and Fetty Wap along with plenty of other popular artists in the alternative, rap, EDM and rock genres.
The festival will be held at Sunshine Grove, which will be split into two areas: The Grove and Moonlight Oasis. The Grove’s three main stages are called “Be,” “Here,” and “Now” where headliners will play. Inside the Moonlight Oasis are Chobeewobee Village, Aquachobee Beach and Jungle 51. Yoga workshops, live art and “late night shenanigans” will be held in Chobeewobee village, while Okeechobee Lake becomes Aquachobee Beach where festival-goers can swim, relax in palapas, eat breakfast and sip on drinks. For night owls, the Moonlight Oasis also holds Jungle 51, an all night techno dance party.
On March 6 at the Now stage, Miguel and Win Butler of Arcade Fire will lead “PoWoW! A Live Superstar Mashup,” which includes John Oates of Hall & Oates, jazz and funk players and a DJ scratchmaster along with unannounced special guests. Mumford and Sons will close out the festival on Sunday night with their own “PoWoW!” featuring Tom Morello, The Avett Brothers & Preservation Hall Jazz Band as part of their set.
Okeechobee aims to be a holistically sustainable festival that will host local and organic food vendors, and will strive to be waste free in the future. The festival has partnered with Clean Vibes, a waste division company that encourages recycling and waste minimization.
Okeechobee is more than pop artists and hippie madness. The festival is also focused on supporting local causes and making a difference. Artists will sign a custom-made D’Angelico Okeechobee Festival guitar and poster, which will be auctioned off for charity. All proceeds from the auction will be split between HeadCount and several local charities including Communities in Schools of Florida, Treasure Coast Food Bank and Feeding South Florida. The organization HeadCount will also be present to help attendees register to vote on-site
Australian duo Hermitude, who have played big festivals like Lollapalooza and Governor’s Ball, will be playing on the Aquachobee Beach stage on Sunday. “We can’t wait to play Okeechobee,” the group said. “Just from the line up alone it looks like it’ll be amazing, but then we’ve heard a lot about the overall festival experience that has us really keen to get amongst it all.”
Noel Smith, senior entrepreneurship major and avid festival attendee, also plans to go to Okeechobee. “Inception years for festivals are awesome, and my favorite festivals are camping ones as it’s just constant fun, and you meet so many new people that way,” Smith said. “I’d really like to see Mumford and Sons again, or Avett Brothers for my first time. I’m mostly excited to try and see new people or walk to different stages and see how people perform, because what you hear on the radio is usually so much different than live.”
Tickets range from around $280 to $636 at face value, which Smith notes as comparably cheap to bigger campout festivals.
“For something like this you could probably expect to pay a hundred or two more,” Smith said. “I think it’s worth it though because I like to go to festivals and meet people, and going to a new festival is always exciting.”
Selene San Felice can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.