On March 1, 2018, I entered the portal that was Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival and my life was forever changed. Thousands of festivalgoers came together in the Florida wilderness for four days to create a truly incredible and unforgettable experience and I feel so fortunate to have been a part of it.
Okeechobee began in full force on Thursday night with a full moon party featuring musical performances by Thriftworks, Opiuo, and Bassnectar. The night was filled with music, howling at the moon, and lots of attendees trying to pace themselves for the weekend ahead of them, but most failing completely.
Friday was more of the same, except with less howling at the moon. Bassnectar played for attendees once again, this time with a less downtempo and more intense, heavy set. The highlight of Bassnectar’s performance, and the entire first full day of Okeechobee, was his opener of “Basshead” mashed up with “My Name Is” by Eminem. If you’ve been on any form of social media since this night, you’ve probably seen the majority of the Bassnectar community freaking out about this opener. Although I’m not the biggest Bassnectar fan out there (I’ve seen him 12 times, not over 40), I’m also one of those people freaking out. Of the 12 times I’ve seen Bassnectar, this opener was the best one I’ve ever seen live and flawlessly set the mood for the rest of his performance and Friday night.
Saturday was more about the experience than the music for me. I spent most of Saturday exploring the festival grounds, especially the ChobeeWobee Village, home to the yoga and workshop classes, arts and crafts vendors, and art installations. By far the most intriguing aspect of the village was the tea lounge. Hidden among the trees behind hanging ropes was an alternate universe where attendees could get lost for hours. There were small, intimate music performances, hammocks and couches to relax in, and roaming performers serving tea. Whether you wanted to get your back massaged by a car waxer or receive a compliment at the complimentary bar, the tea lounge had it all.
For the final day of the festival, Okeechobee pulled out all their stops. Sunday started with full on b2b madness at the Aquachobee stage with Dirt Monkey b2b Subtronics, Boogie T b2b Squnto, and Ganja White Night b2b Boogie T b2b Dirt Monkey. The Aquachobee stage then closed out with a stellar performance by Liquid Stranger. The wubs and wobbles transitioned to the Now stage with Ganja White Night and Gramatik, and ended with the best Zeds Dead performance I’ve ever seen. Sunday at Okeechobee was undoubtedly the best day in terms of music performances and I loved every minute of it.
Overall, Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival was a dream come true. The entire weekend was filled with love and learning, amazing music performances, and great vibes. For this being only the third year of Okeechobee, the festival sure knows what they’re doing, and it’s clear that it is here to stay.