My original plan for 2020 festival season was a pretty stacked list. I had lots of different festivals, some I’d been going to for years and some brand new festivals, that I was going to try and hit this year. I feel I can speak for almost everyone when I say that my 2020 travel and festival plans have already been extremely disrupted by the coronavirus which has caused almost all events to be canceled or postponed. However, I am one of the blessed few who did get to attend a festival right before all of the chaos started. This year I attended my first ever Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival, and am so glad I was part of this amazing experience!
Okeechobee took place this year from March 5-8 at Sunshine Grove in Okeechobee, Florida. This was a big year for this festival for multiple reasons. First of all, after a wildly successful first few years, Okeechobee had announced that there would be no festival in 2019. Then, last year, Insomniac CEO Pasquale Rosella gave us some great news — not only would the festival be returning in 2020, but Insomniac would also be partnering with the original festival founders to make this the biggest and best Okeechobee yet.
This festival was absolutely amazing in every way imaginable. It was a camping festival, which is always more fun in my opinion. Something unique about this event was the setup. While most camping festivals set it up to have the campsite on one side and the festival on another, this festival had a very different format. The main festival was in the very middle and was surrounded on almost all sides with different campsites. In addition to this unique setup, there were big pieces of the festival that weren’t actually inside the festival grounds at all, but in this area between the campgrounds and festival grounds that became one of our favorite spots to hang out throughout the weekend. One of these amenities was called the Aquachobee Stage.
The Aquachobee Stage was easily one of the highlights of Okeechobee as a whole. This stage was literally on a beach next to a beautiful lake. As soon as we got to the festival and set up camp, we ran straight to Aquachobee just in time to catch Supertask, Huxley Anne, and Yheti. Watching the sunset here was absolutely breathtaking. On the first full day of the festival, I had a blast running around during a few of the sets and finding friends from different states and introducing them and vibing in the sun on the beach. G-Space and Eazybaked both put on amazing sets and this definitely set the stage for an incredible weekend.
After leaving Aquachobee on Friday we finally ventured into the actual festival to check out the other stages and vendors. This festival really has it all - in addition to a beach stage there were also stages in the forest. The “Be”, “Here”, and “Now” were all big main stages tucked into the woods of the festival grounds that were lit up by gorgeous lights and art installations everywhere you turned.
There was also a stage called “Incendia” which we called the fire stage because it was such an insane setup with so many pyrotechnics as you’re exiting the festival and heading to camp. Last but not least, another favorite was a stage called “Jungle 51”, which felt like an actual jungle and played tribal house music til the sun came up. On Friday we hopped around and got to see Papadosio, Lotus, Bassnectar, and Kaskade. The highlight was definitely Bassnectar, who played the best set I’d ever seen from him and even lit off a SpaceX rocket during his set!
Saturday we spent more of our time inside the actual festival instead of the beach. The highlights were Sublime With Rome, G Jones, and seeing my first ever Tipper set. We closed the night out by going to the Incendia stage for the first time and experiencing an insane Goopsteppa set.
Sunday was sadly the last day of sets, but I made sure to get up early and see everything possible to make it an incredible last day. I feel like I accomplished that pretty well by seeing Flatbush Zombies, GRiZ, Glass Animals, San Holo, Mumford & Sons, Sayer, and Tiedye Ky, and Maya Jane Coles. Glass Animals ended up being my favorite set from the entire weekend and I was so glad I made the effort to see so many different varieties of music instead of just sticking to the same artists I can see at any EDM festival.
If you ever have the chance to attend Okeechobee, please do it! This festival is amazing in every way, and is so much bigger and better than I even expected. The vibes, the tropical environment, and so much more make this an experience worth having. I can’t wait to come back next year and share this place with even more people.