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Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival [Review]

FestivalsGaby PeytonComment

Festival Blues..... A very real and very emotional state of existence following any festival for most festival goers. No offense to Disney, BUT, festivals are actually the happiest places on earth and there are many factors that make that statement true. I’ve yet to experience a festival I didn’t entirely enjoy and that I didn’t absolutely want to belong to and call home for the rest of my life.

Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival was no exception. Being the inaugural year for Okeechobee, there was a lot of uncertainty swarming the festival. What will the festival be like? Will it be crowded? What do I need to bring? Am I going to get eaten by an alligator? The answers to these questions were based on straight speculation rather than concrete facts. However, now that the festival is over, we can confidently answer these (and many other) questions regarding the festival.

Curious wanderers rest assured, OMF handled business and exceeded expectations set for their opening year. The best way I can describe it is to deem it a smaller version of Bonnaroo, but with a slightly younger audience.  Being in Florida, at the start of spring break, with OMF's killer lineup that featured a combination of the biggest artists in EDM & hip-hop, it should have been anticipated that a slightly younger crowd was attracted. But, who can blame them? I wish I would have had the opportunity to attend Okeechobee while in college! However, don't get me wrong, there were still people of all ages, from children as small as 1 year to geriatrics in their mid-60s. Okeechobee was a place for all, and it was certainly magical to see people of all ages in attendance. 

                                           BE stage at Okeechobee.     Photo courtesy of Terry Beeman:  Facebook  //  Instagram  //  Website

                                         BE stage at Okeechobee.   Photo courtesy of Terry Beeman: Facebook // Instagram // Website

As you can see by the photo, OMF was aesthetically appeasing in many ways. Whether it pertains to the visuals on stage, or to the festival setup and decorations/artwork, Okeechobee most certainly soared above expectations in that regard. Continuously surrounded by palm trees, with Moroccan and LED lights strewn across the limbs, it was liberating in an unique Florida way. It definitely added to the festival and gave Okeechobee an unique edge over other festivals. I mean, where else can you constantly be completely surrounded by palm trees and enjoy your favorite artists for 4 straight days? 

Photos Courtesy of Laura Hahn: Facebook // Instagram 

 

Okeechobee also deserves props for keeping the festival small for the first-year. It was pleasing that they capped it around 30,000 attendees so that the festival was not so enormous that it was overwhelming. It also created a more intimate experience and allowed for those who wanted to be close for their favorite artists, the ability to do so, since the crowd wasn't as large. Keeping the number of festival attendees small definitely enhanced the experience, especially since the stages appeared to be smaller in comparison to the crowd. If Okeechobee were to expand attendance in the future, I hope that they will also expand the Sunshine Grove (the area the main stages were located). 

If you saw the lineup of artists that performed at Okeechobee, you know that the list was absolutely killer. It should be no surprise that their live performances were equally as astonishing.  Skrillex destroyed expectations with his crazy visuals and filthy bass drops and was talked about by many following his performance.  Miguel (pictured below) was one of the top performances of the weekend. If you haven't seen him yet, he needs to be a must-see from here on out. Talk about someone giving everything they can while on stage, Miguel is it. I never wanted his set to end, it was so incredible. Be sure to add him to your future festival lineups, if able. Other great performances (that I attended) were Bassnectar, Hermitude, Future, Kill The Noise, Odesza, Kendrick Lamar, RL Grime, Mac Miller, Lotus & Marian Hill. 

                    Miguel performing  Saturday evening.  Photo courtesy of Terry Beeman:  Facebook  //  Instagram  //  Website

                  Miguel performing  Saturday evening.  Photo courtesy of Terry Beeman: Facebook // Instagram // Website

Overall, the experience at Okeechobee was extremely freeing and exactly what was needed after a long winter. Everything was put together very well and it was smooth sailing getting in and out of the festival. I would highly recommend OMF and would definitely return next year! Also, if you were in attendance at OMF, take the official survey and leave your feedback to help the event planners in preparation for next year! 

Check out our Okeechobee photo slideshow, compliments of Terry Beeman below, and visit his website, Facebook and Instagram pages for more amazing photography and for more Okeechobee photo coverage.