Good vibes, sunny weather, and a diverse lineup sure to make any music enthusiast happy, means Florida’s newest escape is setting the stage to become one of the country’s premiere destination festivals.
Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival opened its gates on the weekend of March 3-6, 2016, marking its inaugural year, and just in time for Spring Break. With a sold out crowd of more than 30,000 in attendance, its mission to become Florida’s biggest camping festival came to fruition on its first day.
Founded by Paul Peck, of Bonnaroo fame, and Steve Sybesma, organizer who runs China’s largest EDM festival, Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival was envisioned as a utopian landmark within the ever-expanding festival landscape. The two struck gold when they discovered the 800-acre parcel of land just north of Lake Okeechobee in South Central Florida fittingly referred to as Sunshine Grove.
Sunshine Grove is the definition of paradise with its acres of green grass, pines and palm trees, and serene lake, but it is transformed into something more for the festival. Fit with art installations and light-mapping projections, the festival grounds are divided into two main areas featuring various amenities and forms of entertainment known as The Grove and Moonlight Oasis.
The Grove is located in the heart of the festival grounds and hosts three main stages: Be Stage, Here Stage, and Now Stage. This area is where the majority of the festival’s 80+ globally recognized artists, bands, and DJs perform. This year’s lineup featured performances by Mumford and Sons, Kendrick Lamar, Skrillex, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Ween, Hall and Oates, Bassnectar, The Avett Brothers, Miguel, Future, Big Grams, Fetty Wap, Portugal. The Man, Dr. Dog, Jason Isbell, Youth Lagoon, and many more.
Moonlight Oasis, as elegantly put by festival organizers, is the “cultural and musical mosaic that unfolds around the lake” and features three areas with different themes. First, Aquachobee is located right by the lake and features daytime swimming, musical performances, and a place to relax on the beach. Second, Jungle 51 operates from night until early morning hours, is located amongst a glowing forest of lights and lasers, and is devoted to electronic dance music and all-night dance parties. Third, ChobeeWobee Village is a place for festival-goers to perform yoga, attend workshops during the day, and partake in late-night “shenanigans” that will entertain.
With a focus on nature, art, musical diversity, and community, its no wonder this festival is so appealing and has so many people curious. Organizers put together an incredibly successful event for its first year with the concert-going “experience” in mind, and as founder Paul Peck told Broward-Palm Beach New Times in December 2015, “You want to have this adventure, this experience that you’re never going to forget.”