Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival has announced the Phase 2 lineup for Okeechobee 2018, which takes place March 1-4, 2018 at Sunshine Grove in Okeechobee, FL. The PoWoW! superstar mashup is set to include Snoop Dogg, as well as other headlining artists TBA. Additionally, Lil Dicky, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Ski Mask The Slump God, The Funky Meters, Smino, NoMBe, Berhana, Liquid Stranger, and more have been added to the Okeechobee 2018 lineup. Tickets are still on sale with Tier 1 pricing set to end this Friday Dec. 15 at 11:59PM.
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Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival returns to Sunshine Grove in Okeechobee, Florida for its third year this March 1-5, 2018. The star-studded lineup includes headliners Arcade Fire, Bassnectar (two sets with a special full moon beach set), Halsey, and Travis Scott, as well as Khalid, Foster the People, Leon Bridges, The Flaming Lips, Zeds Dead, Slightly Stoopid, Tipper, Big Gigantic, STS9, Local Natives, Gramatik, Illenium, Blackbear, Thievery Corporation, Tycho, Sylvan Esso, Judah & The Lion, Kyle, Misterwives, Sofi Tukker, Magic!, Lettuce, Billie Eilish, Ganja White Night (Live Set) B2B Boogie T and Dirt Monkey, Jai Wolf, G Jones, Big Wild, Denzel Curry, Pouya, Quinn XCII, Allah-Las, Nightmares on Wax (Live Band), Twiddle, and many more. As usual, Okeechobee will feature a PoWoW! Superstar Mashup set, consisting of many of the aforementioned artists. This is just the first phase of artist announcements, so expect more artists to be announced in the coming months. A range of ticket options are currently available for purchase from the ticketing website.
Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival concluded its second year earlier in the month, which also happened to be its second sell-out year. This is an admirable achievement for a young festival, especially given the current competitive festival atmosphere, where many festivals are struggling to retain the attendance numbers they enjoyed just a few years ago. Okeechobee’s success should come as no surprise to anyone who has attended the event, but to get the details on the role that Okeechobee plays in being a leader of a movement that is changing the face of music festivals across the world, we spoke to Tyler Hanson, owner and founder of Kulturehaus.
In 2017, Kulturehaus was responsible for the curation of 40 acres of land, which included Chobeewobee Village and Aquachobee, with a total of eight stages that hosted workshops, yoga, music, and performances. Kulturehaus worked with multiple large-scale visual artists and their crews plus an eclectic assortment of performers, musicians, builders, volunteers, and production staff. The crew of about 500 worked to create a 24-hour experience spanning the start of the festival on Thursday, to its conclusion on Monday morning. Included in the 500 people are Kulturehaus’ staff of six, who spent six months onsite preparing for the festival. As Tyler explains, “Kulturehaus is a modern day guild for modern day artists.” He takes pride in the fact that they didn’t build a single normal stage: “we created environments for performers and people to come and participate in.” The success of the project is evident. Take GRiZ for example, who played six sets (is that the final tally?) at Okeechobee, including a sunset performance at the Be Stage, and a collaborative PoWoW! performance at the Here Stage (two of the main stages). But the performance that seemed to get everyone talking the most was his late-night back-to-back set with 12th Planet and SNAILS at the Incendia Stage, one of the hallmark creations of Kulturehaus at Okeechobee.
The reason for success is that Kulturehaus puts the artists first and the music second. Kulturehaus first employed the idea through the creation of Art Outside, a festival that Tyler founded in Texas in 2005, which served as a proof of concept. As Tyler notes, they “split the paradigm.” He asks: “What would that environment look like” when art is the main attraction and music is secondary? Tyler saw that a lot of festivals looked the same. The market has become so saturated that Bonnaroo’s sales are down 40% and Austin City Limits is hovering around non-growth. “We are at peak festival,” Tyler says. “What do you do when everyone else is doing the same thing?” For Tyler, the answer was clear. He notes that he was fortunate to have the producers of Okeechobee reach out to him and give him the funds to “create a festival inside of a festival.” This has been the product that he has been working towards for the last twenty years. “Okeechobee is very unique in that it sees the vision of the future of music festivals, which is not music, it is art and they are supporting that.” Tyler’s goal was to reinvent festivals, to “put art and music in front of people in a new way that is meaningful and registers and does something.”
He expands, noting that at the festivals of the future, DJs and bands will take a backseat, to make room for an immersive experience.
“They’re interactive, they’re fun, they’re participatory, they’re unique, they are something else. Being able to go to Okeechobee is a blessing because Soundslinger LLC, the producers of Okeechobee, are so supportive of creating an environment where they really let us run wild.” The point of which, is to get people excited and involved, to “wake people up” with immersive worlds that go beyond just a stacked lineup.
The larger goal of Kulturehaus is “creating equal basic rights for artists and supporting their business.” Of the fee that Kulturehaus collects for their part in Okeechobee, two-thirds went directly to artists, while the remainder went to materials and other costs. Kulturehaus aims to close the gap with headlining musicians, noting that a single headlining act that performs for 1.5 hours on the main stage will charge 3-4 times that amount. Compare that to Kulturehaus’ 500 artists and builders working 24 hours a day for 4 days straight (not including setup and tear-down). The mission is to get festivals to divert their attention from headlining acts towards “creative visual and interactive art that runs for the duration of the festival.” His vision is that five years from now, Kulturehaus is a “multi-million-dollar job, where we’re getting paid as much as a headliner is, to make things that are far more memorable and amazing.”
Tyler argues that artists are the next rockstars: “Headline acts of festivals get paid upwards of one million dollars to play a set. That’s not sustainable. That’s not art. That’s just a shit-ton of money going to a bunch of management and agencies.” That’s less of a criticism of the music and more a criticism of the business model. Tyler recognizes the importance of music: “you go to a music festival for music, but actually you’re there for the art. And music is art. The point is to make art democratically applicable. Democratize the art and give it equal value.” Democratizing the art will change the dynamics of festivals, so that the future of festivals is not about stacked lineups, pyrotechnics, lasers, and lights. All of those features will still play a role in music festivals, but they will take a backseat so that hundreds of artists can build interactive artistic musical playgrounds for adults to participate in.
If you are interested in being radical, creating or changing the culture of your festival so that you are not like all the rest: now you know Kulturehaus exists. Principals Kevin KoChen and Tyler Hanson have been at the forefront of the independent festival movement, being intimately involved in the West Coast scene by working on Symbiosis Gathering and Lightning in a Bottle from their inception. In addition, their exploits have led them to working with public and private entities from NASA to Google and all sorts of entities in between, looking to make a scene. But it is their massive artisanal network of doers, makers, dreamers, and imagineers that they have cultivated over the past 20 years that truly make Kulturehaus unique.
Soundslinger, LLC, is bringing Okeechobee Music Festival back to its 600-acre property at Sunshine Grove in Okeechobee, Florida. Okeechobee Music Festival had a wildly successful inaugural year, with an incredible blend of music, dancing, art, yoga, and food. 2017’s event will take place from March 2-5, featuring artists like Kings of Leon, Usher & The Roots, Bassnectar, Flume, Pretty Lights, The Lumineers, Proter Robinson (Live), Young The Giant, Griz, Soja, Snails, Waka Flocka Flame, Porter Robinson (Live), Sleigh Bells, Louis The Child, and many more.
A limited quantity of both 3-day and 4-day Early Bird festival tickets as well as Early Bird VIP packages are on sale now via OkeechobeeFest.com. Early Bird 3 day GA price is $229, Early Bird 4 day GA price is $249, and Early Bird Eternal Sunshine VIP price is $599. Once the limited quantity of Early Bird tickets are sold out, additional GA tickets will be available at the Tier 1 price. Additional major artists and other news to be announced in the coming weeks.
Okeechobee’s festival site has been carefully prepared to capture the natural beauty of the sunshine state, and give the festival an intimate feeling. Building upon the epic experience that greeted patrons in its inaugural year, Soundslinger has further invested in new art, amenities and infrastructure for Okeechobee’s second annual edition. An assortment of spectacular multi-media immersive art installations dot the landscape, including unique pieces commissioned specifically for the festival with an emphasis on upcycled materials. Patrons will stumble upon large scale structures and small intimate interactive pieces as they experience the artistic heart and soul of the festival in ChobeeWobee Village, or spend time exploring the majestic Sunshine Grove through every hidden hammock, grove of palms, and secret pathway throughout the festival site. When hunger strikes after an afternoon of dancing, a wide array of locally sourced treats from some of Florida’s most popular food trucks and artisanal purveyors will be on hand to satiate the most voracious appetites and discerning palates. Meanwhile, Yogachobee offers a place for healing, exploration, and reflection on the epic musical moments and experiences, with yoga, meditation, permaculture workshops, speakers and more.
“We are excited to build upon the success of OMF 16. This year’s lineup is great and we have more surprises to come. We are opening up more of our amazing property for people to explore, and continuing to invest in art and the overall festival experience. Can’t wait to open the doors on March 2nd!”
– Kevin Collinsworth (Soundslinger CEO)
In addition to continuously improving the festival operations, logistics & overall fan experience, an ongoing endeavor of the Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival is to do everything possible to respect and cherish the natural beauty of the festival site, the surrounding area, and the earth as a whole. Each year the festival will make progress towards the eventual goal of being a carbon neutral event while utilizing as many biodegradable, repurposed, recycled & sustainable materials as possible.
4-Day GA Passes include parking, tent camping, and access to all four days of the festival. Fans can make the most out of their weekend with the Eternal Sunshine VIP Experience, a variety of Tent and RV Rental options, the Eternal Sunshine VIP Boutique Camping Experience, or a Super VIP Luxury Tour Bus package called The Grand Kachobee. These ticket and lodging packages are customized to give each fan an experience that they will never forget. Detailed information is available on the website.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who attended Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival 2016 that Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival will be returning in 2017. Okeechobee 2016 was a smashing success, so the festival was all but guaranteed to return. The festival will return to its home, Sunshine Grove in Okeechobee, FL, March 2-5 2017. The privately owned ranch features a sandy beach, grassy flat lands, and tropical jungles. The festival promoters have vowed to build upon last year’s success; Chief Creative Officer and co-Founder Paul Peck says, “There were so many once-in-a-lifetime moments at Okeechobee ’16. In 2017, we’re going to build upon the magic we created last year by adding new, next level surprises. Those special, shared experiences that will never happen again is what Okeechobee is all about.”
A very limited amount of pre-sale tickets will be available for $229.50 for General Admission, and $599 for VIP, tomorrow (Wednesday, August 17) at 11AM EDT.
In the days leading up to Okeechobee Music Festival, Dancebreak put together a list of artists that we were most excited to see, which included Jackson Stell, also known as Big Wild. Big Wild performed Thursday night at Aquachobee Beach, the night before the majority of campers arrived at the campgrounds. In spite of this, Big Wild still drew a large and enthusiastic crowd and put on a performance that got patrons ready for an unforgettable weekend. When he took the stage, he addressed the crowd with a tone that was giddy with excitement. As he jumped between instruments during his performance, it became clear that Big Wild is someone who is appreciative of the opportunity to share his talents with the world. After his show, we had the opportunity to sit down with Jackson and discuss his upcoming spring tour, his inspiration, his background, and what we can expect from Big Wild in the future.
Dancebreak commentary is in italics, while commentary from Big Wild is in normal text.
Welcome back to Florida. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. It seems like you’re in a really exciting point in your career. To start, the name Big Wild, where did that come from?
It kind of originated during my first trip to California. It was maybe three years ago now. I went to Big Sur and camped there for a couple of nights and I was just really surprised by the landscape and the natural beauty of the whole area and it kind of, for whatever reason, gave me insight as to where I wanted to take my electronic sound from there. Because up to that point, I had kind of been shooting in the dark with what I wanted my sound to be. I decided from there that I wanted to be adventurous and blend electronic and acoustic elements. That name just came about naturally.
You said that you’re originally from Lancaster, MA, right? And you’ve since moved out to Venice Beach. When did that happen?
Well I lived in San Francisco for five months. I moved out there in April 2014, and after that I moved to LA. I’ve been there ever since.
Was that primarily because you wanted to focus on music?
Well I got kicked out of my apartment, because they were jacking up the rent. There was a lot of drama. But also because of the music scene, and my girlfriend was going to UCLA, so there were all these things telling me to move there.
You’ve previously supported Gramatik, Odesza, GRiZ, and others on tour. This month you’re embarking on your own headlining tour, two of the shows are already sold out. Congratulations on that. What’s different about your headlining Spring Tour? How does your preparation for headlining shows differ from supporting acts?
It’s tough for me to say, because I’ve never really headlined. Actually I’ve headlined one show so far. It was just a random charity show I did in Austin. But I think what’s going to be really cool now is I feel like I have more freedom to carry out my full vision of what I see myself doing on stage and performing. I’m going to be using more new music that I’ve been producing lately and this is kind of going to be an exposé for all of that. I’m going to be able to control the visuals and everything. It’s awesome to fully use your vision. Whereas when you’re support or direct support for an opener, you kind of have to fit in the mold of whoever is the headliner. Because it’s their show. But now I have that privilege of being the headliner. That’s the best part of it.
It sounds pretty exciting. Are there any specific locations that you’re excited to play at, or are you going into this kind of blind?
I’m definitely going into it blind. I’m really excited to do the San Francisco show. It was the first one to sell out and it’s at a venue called The Independent, which I really like. I’m really excited to perform there because I have a really solid fan base there. Whenever I play in San Francisco, they really vibe with my music. That being said, I’m really excited to perform pretty much everywhere. I’m just excited to tour the country and play my music.
Before you started producing music, were you ever a patron at The Independent?
I did play there once. I opened up for this group called Digitalism and then I also saw a show there, Slow Magic, which was really fun.
I asked you a little bit about your preparation, what kind of equipment do you typically use for live shows? What instruments are you normally playing?
I have my drum pad, my piano, a Cajón, which is kind of a wooden box, percussion instrument. Then I have a MIDI interface where I trigger things off my computer. I have a mic for whistling. And that’s pretty much it. It’s kind of like a small one-man band.
What kind of software are you using?
I use Ableton. And I use Kontakt to trigger my drum sounds off the drum pad.
What about in the studio? I previously read that you started out making hip-hop beats using FL Studio. Are you still using that?
I used that for a while. I switched over to Ableton about three years ago. That’s what I’ve been using ever since.
Has that affected your creative process at all?
I think a little bit. I think for me, warping samples and sampling in general is a little easier in Ableton. So it’s gotten me a little more into that world compared to when I was using FL Studio. Overall, it hasn’t changed my perception of music. My work flow is a little different, but not crazy different. I think at the end of the day a lot of it is very similar.
What were you doing before you started producing? What’s your background? Did you play traditional instruments growing up?
I played piano for about two years, then I played trumpet for six years. But it really wasn’t until I started to produce music, when I was in 8th grade, when I really started to get in to music. Before, I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t really all about it. It wasn’t until I started to song-write and produce where I was like “this is what I want to do.”
You seem to occupy this really cool place in music where there’s a fusion of modern electronics and technology with traditional instruments. It seems like these days the definition of a musician is a lot more fluid as a result of that. Would you say it’s an accurate assessment to call you an instrumentalist, a producer, and a DJ?
I think at the end of the day, the most accurate thing to call me would be a songwriter, because, while I am producing, I’m making music in a program, I’m writing the melodies and writing the drumlines. I’m basically crafting a song. For me, that’s my greatest skill. That’s what first got me into music. Then once I started to play more live, that’s when I was like “ok let’s start to work on my instrument performance ability.” That’s when I started to go back and re-learn all these instruments again. I would say that the labels you gave me are fair, but like you said, there’s a lot of gray area in terms of what qualifies as being a DJ and what qualifies as being a producer. I think a songwriter and a musician is the most barebones definition of what I am. Then you can kind of expand it to more modern names like DJ and producer.
Similar to how you have sub-genres of music?
How do these different skillsets affect your music persona? It sounded like you started out doing songwriting and then moved more into live shows. Did that retroactively effect how you were crafting music?
Definitely. You definitely get a different perception of how people listen and understand your music when you play it out live. Especially—you have to do a lot of different scenarios. You have to be able to play at festivals, small gigs, big gigs, and tours, to really understand how people understand your music. When I’m behind the computer, making music, sharing it on the internet, I can never really get that perspective. Ever since I started to tour a lot more, I’ve really been able to basically understand how people—when I make something, I have a better idea of how people are going to understand it and how they’re going to hear it, as opposed to before, I feel like I was just kind of guessing.
I previously read that you used to focus on music that just sounded good, but now you want to make music that inspires people. Is there a track of yours that you find particularly inspiring?
I think that’s been one of my goals for almost every song I’ve made under the name “Big Wild.” I produced a lot of beats before that, but I think just by trying to make something different that people can still relate to, it’s kind of a key to making someone inspired. It’s easy to bite a trend or get involved with what’s current and I think that’s fine, but I think it’s really important to do it with your own style. That’s kind of what I wanted to inspire with other people—to have your own perspective, have your own individual style, and to bring them another world and show people.
What other non-music related people, places, or ideas influence your music?
I’m really big into—I used to hike all the time growing up and I reflect on those times when I was hiking in the mountains a lot. There are these very peaceful memories that I have. For the songs that are more serene that I make, that are less dancey, that’s where I try to go to. I base it off of feeling, usually I reference how certain moments in the past made me feel and represent that in the song I’m making and channel that. I do that all the time. It usually comes down to times when I was outside and important conversations that I have with people that made me feel a certain way, like really big events in my life. If you can distill that moment to a specific feeling and then if you can capture that feeling in a song, everybody that you play that to can feel something off of that. That’s what I’m trying to do.
I can relate to that. There have certainly been songs of yours that kind of felt outdoorsy to me. I know that’s a weird label to use for music, but the whole persona of it would bring up memories of going out hiking and exploring nature. I’d say you’ve been successful in that regard. That’s all I had for questions for you. Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’m working on a lot of original music right now. I plan on releasing it all throughout the year. There’s a lot of big things to come. I think people are really going to like it because I’m taking a slightly different approach than what I’ve done in the past. I’m working with more vocalists. I’m trying to create a really good mold of my production, with a vocalist, like a more well-rounded song I would say. I’ve been working a lot on that recently, because I haven’t put out too much recently. I’ve spent more time working in the studio, working on music. I would like people to know that I’m working on a lot of music to be released throughout the year.
So you’re bringing in external people to do vocals?
Ya, it’s kind of like expanding this project of Big Wild beyond just me. I don’t want it to just be about me. I just want to make great music. I think I’m finding the right people to make that happen.
When you look around and see the artists that are really successful, it’s usually the ones that have cultivated a certain culture around what they’re doing, as opposed to just making it about themselves.
Right, and that’s what I’m trying to build right now
Thanks so much for your time. Good luck with the rest of your tour.
Earlier this month, Okeechobee County hosted the inaugural Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival at Sunshine Grove. Fans that followed the coverage leading up to the festival would probably agree that there was a lot of hype to live up to. Before anyone knew much about Okeechobee, the festival was being promoted as a Coachella or Bonnaroo of sorts for Florida and the South East. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when you consider that Paul Peck, a co-founder of Okeechobee Music Festival, is also credited as one of the masterminds behind Bonnaroo Music Festival. Comparing a first-time festival to well-established festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo certainly sets the bar high. If anyone had any doubts about whether or not Okeechobee would live up to the hype, I’m sure those doubts were long gone by the end of the weekend. The reaction from fans was one of resounding success. The first Okeechobee Music Festival was a smashing success and it’s here to stay.
The weekend kicked off on the night of Thursday, March 3, with Miami Beach High School’s marching jazz band kicking off a parade around the festival grounds. Thursday night was largely limited to small and local music acts, as headliners were booked specifically for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. Starting the festival with a local high school jazz band is an example of the great lengths that Paul Peck and crew took to curate an original festival—one that brings in big headliners like Mumford & Sons, Bassnectar, and Kendrick Lamar, while simultaneously enlisting the support of local musicians and artists. From the moment that I first arrived, it was very clear to me that Okeechobee was a festival created by musicians and artists for music and art enthusiasts. There were no cheap gimmicks, just a whole lot of passion, hard work, art and music. That notion becomes even clearer when you read about Paul Peck’s goals and ambitions, and what it takes to create a collaborative music festival.
One of the unique aspects of Okeechobee was the PoWow!. The PoWow! is a superstar collaboration that’s exclusive to Okeechobee. A host of talented artists from a range of genres share one of the main stages to create a special experience. This year, the PoWow! featured Miguel, Win Butler (Arcade Fire), Hall & Oates, Skrillex (performing on the guitar), and many more. Similarly, although not listed as an official PoWow!, the last night saw Mumford & Sons share the stage with The Avett Brothers, Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine), and Preservation Hall Jazz Band. That collaborative mentality is so important because it highlights a critical aspect that a festival should celebrate: inclusivity. There are a number of festivals that attract tens of thousands of patrons and have great monetary success, but can feel insincere due to the emphasis placed on headliners and big ticket artists. Okeechobee felt very different; instead of focusing on individuals, it focused on the group experience, which is what festivals are really all about: sharing a weekend of music, dancing, and art with incredible people.
In addition to the music collaboration, there was a significant emphasis on the art experience. Okeechobee had a number of different themed stages and art installations: The Grove (main stage area), Aquachobee Beach, Yogachobee, ChobeeWobee Village, Jungle 51, Natarja Torana, and more. Of the themed areas, Jungle 51 was one of the most mesmerizing. Jungle 51 was located in the middle of a palm tree forest. A stage at the back of the forest was complemented by a crashed UFO and generous amounts of fog, lasers, and lights. Jungle 51 featured 12 hours of music per day: from 9PM to 9AM, every day. This is where the house and techno lovers would go to dance until the early hours of the morning. The non-stop music combined with the unique lighting created an atmosphere that allowed patrons to get lost in the music for hours.
The Natarja Torana stage also played a special role during the weekend, as the structure was built with help from Dancebreak contributors, as previously noted. The Natarja Torana stage was located near Aquachobee Beach, giving patrons the opportunity to stop and dance or just listen as they passed by.
After an experience like Okeechobee, it can be difficult to try to put together a list of top performances at the festival. The music was so carefully curated; many of the artists put on spectacular performances. Robert Plant brought some good old nostalgic classic rock. Medicine for the People brought the musical medicine. Bassnectar, per usual, got the crowd rowdy, as did RL Grime and Kill the Noise (who also decided to Rick Roll everyone). Classixx presented a smooth exploration of retro-sounding Nu Disco music. Lettuce and Lotus brought the jams, while Big Gigantic fused heavy-hitting dubstep with their usual jazz-infused music. Big Wild brought a dynamic performance with a range of different percussion instruments (check back here soon for our follow-up interview with Big Wild). Bonobo crafted an artful set that coincided with the setting sun. Big Grams provided an eclectic mix of hip hop and vocals. Personally, my favorite moment of the weekend was when Odesza rocked the crowd with cerebrally blissful music, followed up by the outstanding closing ceremony with Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers, Tom Morello (who absolutely shredded on the guitar), and Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
Overall, there was little to complain about at Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival. From my experience, it was one of the most professional and well-organized festivals that I have been to. The festival suffered from some of the normal festival madness, like long waits for showers and the general store (at peak hours) and long wait times to leave the festival at the end of the weekend; all issues that are not unique to Okeechobee. Perhaps one of the only warranted gripes was the size of the stages. Okeechobee could certainly benefit from larger stages to accommodate a larger crowd next year, especially if they plan on growing. It certainly will be necessary, as I can only imagine that Okeechobee will have tremendous growth as word gets out of this incredible experience. Thank you Okeechobee and Okeechobeings, we hope to see you all next year!
Make sure to check out our photos from Okeechobee on our Facebook page!
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:
Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival makes its debut in Okeechobee, Florida in just over three weeks. Camping begins at noon on Thursday March 3rd and ends at noon on Monday March 7th, with headlining artists playing from Friday to Sunday night. The festival is compared to other festivals like Bonnaroo and Coachella for its diverse range of musical acts, art, and other attractions. For its inaugural year, Okeechobee will featured the likes of Mumford & Sons, Kendrick Lamar, Skrillex, Odesza, Bassnectar, Mac Miller, Big Grams (Big Boi & Phantogram), Big Gigantic, RL Grime, Kill the Noise, Bonobo, Shpongle, Gramatik, and many more.
The festival looks like it should be a unique experience offering a variety of sights and sounds that will appeal to a range of music enthusiasts. The festival has broken down its layout into different themed areas, which include ChobeeWobee Village, Yogachobee, Aquachobee, Jungle 51, and PowWow. Perhaps one of the more anticipated themed areas is Aquachobee, Okeechobee’s very own beach, complete with its own bar and waterside stage playing music from 9AM to 9PM.
Ok, so not sure what you heard but there will a BEACH and it will be BIG & it will be BEAUTIFUL! There will also be LIVE MUSIC by the water all day and you can swim n splash around with your friends (fun splashing not mean splashing please) while watching a band or DJ crush a show like never before. We're still setting it up but here's what it looks like now and as you can see it's coming along nicely. The stage will be over to the right. Music at Aquachobee will start at 9am every day of the Fest. There's never been a festival like this and it will be the #ultimatespringbreak in March 2016! Meet me here for breakfast on Sunday and we'll have an organic juice together, recover and reflect… I'll be the guy covered in spf 150 😎🏊🏻🎷🌞🍍 #Aquachobee #OkeechobeeFest @skrillex @bassnectar @robertplantofficial @mumfordandsons
Okeechobee is an all ages event, however you must be 18 years old to camp on site. A range of ticket options are still available, including 3-day General Admission, 4-day General Admission, VIP experience, RV parking, and more. Be sure to visit Okeechobee’s information page to get the full details. Don’t miss out on what is expected to be an incredible experience!