Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival is just days away, so we wanted to give you a heads up for artists that we’re looking forward to seeing next week. If you haven’t purchased tickets yet, make sure to take a look at the options so you don’t miss out. Also be sure to check out the full schedule so that you can plan ahead and catch all of your favorite artists.
When I first heard that a festival was coming to Okeechobee in 2016, I was curious, but hesitant. Long before any details were released, the festival was advertised as being comparable to Coachella or Bonnaroo. Combine that with the close proximity to my home, and I should have been much more excited. In fact, five years ago I would have been elated at the prospect of a festival in my backyard that’s comparable to two of the oldest and most respected mega festivals in the US. However, it’s 2016 and the reality is that the festival scene has become so saturated that it takes a lot more to get fans excited for a new festival, when fans already have a plethora to choose from. As details started to trickle to the public, my doubts about the festival slowly started eroding. What started as a solid first wave lineup only got better as the host announced more artists and revealed details about the venue. It became clear that Okeechobee was not set to be just another festival. We previously covered some of the sights to look forward to at Okeechobee, now let’s get down to the sounds to look forward to.
One of the aspects I am most excited for with Okeechobee is the diversity in music. My music preferences are slanted towards electronic genres, but that doesn’t stop me from appreciating diversity in music. The first festival I ever went to was Camp Bisco and I fell in love with Bisco at the time. The appreciation of musical diversity that I experienced at Bisco is something that has stuck with me. As I mentioned, there’s no shortage of festivals for fans to choose from; it becomes very easy to find an event that heavily caters towards a specific genre. What’s harder is finding a festival that brings in the big headliners, while maintaining an eclectic mix of genres and artists. Enter Okeechobee.
Okeechobee has its share of festival headliners that are no strangers to the festival circuit: Mumford & Sons, Bassnectar, Skrillex, etc. I’m here to shed some light on some of the artists that aren’t necessarily on everyone’s immediate radar.
Ok, maybe ODESZA was already on your radar, but that’s a primary reason why I’m including them: ODESZA has been on my radar for far too long, without having the opportunity to see them live. ODESZA is an electronic duo hailing from Seattle, Washington. Their music is dynamic and eludes genre labels for that reason: Electronica, Indie, however you want to label it. Their music is often heavy on percussion and synthesizers, producing a euphoric and uplifting sound.
Big Wild is fresh off GRiZ’s 2015 tour as a supporting act. I guess you could say it was successful, because he’s already booked a headlining 2016 spring tour, with Okeechobee as his first stop. Hailing from Los Angeles, CA, Big Wild produces some percussion-heavy music. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Jackson Stell, AKA Big Wild, is on the same list as ODESZA, given that the two acts are frequently compared by fans. It’s clear that Big Wild’s career is just taking off; you won’t want to miss this up-and-coming artist! Take note: Big Wild is scheduled to play Thursday night, which means that only patrons with a 4-day pass will be able to see his performance.
Big Grams (Big Boi + Phantogram)
I previously mentioned musical diversity as a motivating factor for my excitement for Okeechobee. Big Grams seems to embody this. Hip-hop legend Big Boi (half of Outkast) and electronic rock duo Phantogram seem like an unlikely combination of genres, yet the two acts combined make for some smooth listening. This is also one of those acts that puts on a select number of performances every year, making their Okeechobee performance that much more special.
RL Grime is no stranger to the festival circuit, surely due to his ability to command a crowd with his DJing skills, while also pumping out great polished productions. DJing and producing are very different skill sets, but out of necessity, producers have been forced to learn DJing and DJs have been forced to learn producing in order to stay relevant. Mastery of one skill does not necessarily translate to proficiency of the other. RL Grime, however, is one of those guys who has mastered both, which is one of the reasons why his shows are so much fun: he has a strong catalogue of originals and remixes, but is also able to seamlessly weave in other music. His ability to move between genres and tempos is impressive and makes for some engaging live performances.
Tom Morello (and Bassnectar? Or Skrillex?)
Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine guitarist) was a late addition to the Okeechobee lineup and I couldn’t be more thrilled. He’s officially slated to perform a PoWoW with Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band. That in itself will be a great performance, but what I’m really hopeful for is a performance with Bassnectar. Ever since Lorin Ashton (AKA Bassnectar) revealed last year that Morello had been working on electronic music projects with Knife Party, Bassnectar, and Skrillex, I’ve been praying for a Morello & Bassnectar performance. Seeing as Skrillex and Bassnectar, two artists that have previously worked in the studio with Morello, are booked for Okeechobee, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to suspect that Morello might jump on stage with Bassnectar, Skrillex, or both. This is pure speculation and nothing official has been announced, but stranger things have happened.
Bonus: Nataraja Torana Stage
The Nataraja Torana Stage is an art installation stage located next to Aquachobee Beach and the Big Wheel (Ferris Wheel). I have to give a shout out, because it will feature some performances from Dancebreak contributors. Keep an eye out for: