Okeechobee Continues To Impress And Just Gets Better Each Year!
Written by Elias Zouak
Photos by: Jonathan Ovadia
The Okeechobee Music & Arts festival continued its upward trend of improvement. They say third time is a charm and in just 3 short years, the Okeechobee experience has rooted itself as one of the best destination music festivals in the Country. With its combination of gorgeous scenery, constant melodic tunes, endless stages, chic fashion boutique stores, yoga, massage tents, as well as plenty of other little trinkets of fun, all added to the improved ambiance of the festival and its safe to say with a star-studded jam-packed lineup of artists on top and over 40,000 music lovers in attendance, OKCB 2018 was just stellar.
The Concert kicked off with an amazing lunar welcoming celebration, as Thursday night blessed early birds with a SPECIAL FULL MOON PARTY that lasted three hours ending at midnight and headlined by the exceptionally popular EDM artist Bassnectar. The beautiful colors of purple and LED lights on the stage added to the ambiance but were dim in comparison to the shining light of the powerful full moon illuminating not only the stage but festivalgoers in the audience as well. The Full Moon Party really set the mood and positive intentions for an amazing weekend ahead.
The best part about Okeechobee is that there actually was no best part! The variety of ways to spend your day & night was entirely up to the festivalgoer’s personal preferences. The Moonlight Oasis was the cultural epicenter of OMF; A perfect blend of creativity, art, and expression. The multifaceted music experience provided Chobee inhabitants with options of relaxing in an oasis or the freedom to roam freely and following the music playing to their liking on one of the stages. The beautiful tree’s long luscious greenery engulfed all areas around you in the area called, The Grove which was the center point for three different stages. Each OMF stage had a different name and theme, but all stressed the importance of living in the present moment. There was the BE Stage, where headlining artists Like Bassnectar, Travis Scott, Snoop Dogg, The Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire, Halsey, Slightly Stupid & Khalid all had electrifying sets. The BE Stage emphasized the importance of ‘BE’ing at the moment and moving your body in uncontrollable ways to add to the timeless unforgettable memories etched permanently in your mind and spirit.
The NOW Stage showcased a ton of big names as well such as Grammatik, Zeds Dead, Big Gigantic, Sofi Tucker & Denzel Curry. The Now stage was more of an EDM based stage with all the vibrant flashing lights and performers and was perfect for those wanting to get their dance on and to just cut loose. Then there was the HERE Stage which hosted, alternative new school type, up and coming artists like Quinn XCII, Allah-Las, and Two Feet. The HERE stage had a lot of exhilarating music from live instruments that really blended well and catered to multiple music inhibitions.
The festival couldn’t have fallen on a better weekend, as the South Florida beautiful sunshine was strong at around 80 degrees during the day and was just perfect, as it suns glaze reflected over the Chobee waters on the specially made Aquachobee beach area, complete with real beach sand and a lake. It was a perfect oasis to leave the crowdedness and rush of the rest of the festival and to cool off by taking a nice swim or just relax in a shaded cabana and just let it all soak in. Your ears also were pleased as playing in the background were wonderful fun tunes from the many musical acts that performed at The Bamboo Beach Stage and really set a nice tropical mood which included, Chet Porter, Nerve, and Shallou to name a few. Aquachoobee radiated the ‘life is beautiful’ vibe and was definitely a highlight for many during the daytime sunny hours, but as nighttime rolled around there was a new stage that came to life. Jungle 51 was a stage that only operated from nightfall until the peak early morning and for good reason too. Jungle 51 was where human form and alien form became blurred and if there were any interplanetary visitors amongst the crowd this was where they felt most at home. You could witness giant flames erupting from the stage as well as lasers shooting across the skies, which drew you into the sounds blaring from the stage. The tropical tree forest also helped those who come alive in the nighttime hours to really awaken and get their groove on.
Okeechobee can also be applauded for offering up free water to fans and setting new trends and incentives to really help step up their commitments to staying green, by having multiple recycle and cleaning stations throughout the festival and offering up cool prizes that included passes to the 2019 edition for festivalgoers that traded in plastic and other recyclable items. Other highlights included the Pow Wow Jam session that has become a welcomed annual tradition at Okeechobee. Artists from The Roots, Snoop Dogg, Chaka Khan and Trombone Shorty to Joey BadA$$ and Big Gigantic played. The Roots also sat in as back up band and it was an all-star packed jam that just seemed to get better and better.
There is no doubt after such a tremendous weekend that can only be described as “Epic” that Okeechobee Music Festival will continue to be a staple for Florida music festivals for many years to come and due in part to its combination of providing more than just music. The entire experience will leave you feeling more thankful, appreciative of the current moment, and overall just happy to be alive! The artists performed left you with unforgettable memories, but the artists’ weren’t all to thank for Okeechobee’s complete package deal of gorgeous ambiance, arts, and fashion and all in a beautiful setting.
With all the craziness that the outside World dishes us with daily, let’s be thankful for one long weekend each year we have Okeechobee to enjoy, celebrate life and to get lost in the music and all that this amazing festival offers. We can only wonder what Okeechobee will offer South Floridians next year, but if 2018 was any indication, it’s going to be worth the wait!
For more info on Okeechobee Festival go to www.okeechobeefest.com