“OH-KEE-CHO-BEEEEEEEEE!!!!”, Snails said as he greeted the eager crowd for his set Saturday night at the Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival. The eager crowd was excited to be attending Okeechobee’s second year, as fans of various music genres across the United States flocked to the four day long festival. Nestled in the rural city of Okeechobee in South Florida, Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival offered an escape into a world of hidden jungles, expansive flatland, and peaceful beach-like settings.
On Thursday festival-goers arrived to set up camp and enjoy a night’s worth of activities. Okeechobee is different than other music festivals in Florida in that it contains themed areas that constantly have activities going on. The Grove was the main stage area which ran around noon to two AM. The area dubbed “Moonlight Oasis” consisted of Chobeewobee Village, Aquachobee, Yogachobee, and Jungle 51. The Chobeewobee area was a escape to see art, indie artists, sculptures, visit special tents. Pockets of entertainment were disbursed around this area including the Halcyon pop up shop and the centrally positioned neon lighted Pavilion Palace which had DJs spinning throughout the day. A hidden “Tea Lounge” with live musicians including Beans on Toast and Akim Funk Buddha playing was in a forest in this area.
Aquachobee contained a beach-like getaway with artistically constructed shade tents made by the Bamboo DNA company. Bamboo DNA has had their projects featured at Coachella, Burning Man, and Electric Picnic. The Incendia stage in Aquachobee did not fail to impress with geometric structures, insane thermodynamic fire art AND if you were lucky enough to show up at 1AM on Saturday morning you would have seen a secret B2B from Snails and 12th Planet.
Jungle 51 was THE place to be after the Grove closed. This stage hosted techno beats that none of the crowd could resist dancing too. Highlights included Keita Sano, Simone Gatto, and Kim Ann Foxman. It was literally placed in a jungle setting and attention to art and detail was even evident in this area with Red Laser trees.
The variety of the music (and in some cases the clash of genres) was very apparent at The Grove. Music constantly switched between live acts and DJs such as Griz and Gallant (who killed it with his soul-shaking falsetto). Delays became an issue as switches were often not made fast enough and listeners would have to move on to get a good spot in the crowd at other stages. Wiz Khalifa surprised the crowd by
freestyling over remixing Chainsmoker’s hit ‘Closer’ on Friday.
EDM fans found Saturday to be the most enjoyable as Bassnectar, Snails, Porter, and others played at night. Okeechobee had no shortage of fans adorning Bassnectar’s logo. Fan were treated to a very unique live show from Porter Robinson on a smaller stage than you would normally see him perform on in recent years. The show featured many updates to his Worlds show. Bassnectar tore it up as usual, even if the sound had to be lower than the previous year. Snails had everybody headbanging and moshing, which was certainly a jarring juxtaposition compared with the rest of the festival’s groovy chill vibe.
Okeechobee pulled a crowd of all ages. The wide mix of music from indie to EDM brought in people of all different background and demographics. In addition the detail given to the structures created an unforgettable atmosphere that’ll have fans (especially fans of various genres) returning for more.