As soon as my plane landed, I knew I was in for something big. Weeks of anticipation and excitement (and a couple rushed hours of packing) have led me onto this extremely sketchy but economic flight. I landed in Orlando, Florida, and it was only a couple hour drive to the small town where I would be spending the next few days. Around 5,700 people reside in Okeechobee, but during the Okeechobee Music Festival weekend, 40,000 festival-goers fill-up the 600-acre venue known as Sunshine Grove. With Okeechobee Music Festival barely squeaking by the ongoing list of canceled and postponed festivals, let’s dive into my festival experience so you can get pumped up for what’s to come!
This was my first ever camping festival experience. We were guided to our parking spot and began setting up camp right away. With thousands of festival-goers streaming into the campsite, I thought it was going to be hectic and stressful, but no! It was quite the opposite, with surrounding parties even offering each other help setting up. The kindness and positivity were consistent throughout the entire festival, which had to be the best part of this entire experience. With camp finally set up, we realized we had not slept due to hours of travel, and my party all took a long-awaited nap.
Tyler and I woke first and decided to head into where the actual festival was being held. The grounds were made up of 3 different main stages separated across the venue, and many smaller stages spread in between. The closest stage was called Aquachobee, due to it being next to a big, pristine lake. Smaller artists would normally play at these stages, though their relatively less popular status did not take away from the amazing sets being played. Y2K and Caspa are only a couple of the artists I witnessed at Aquachobee, and they had me dancing more than ever.
Farther into the festival grounds, you will find an endless array of food and snack vendors. As music festivals normally go, the grub was NOT cheap (I regrettably paid $9 for a morning coffee). Though the food was overpriced, it was evident that they went above and beyond by offering so many types of food. You are also totally welcome to stop by Walmart beforehand and bring in as much food as you’d like.
If you somehow have an inkling of energy during the day, the festival had many activities scheduled throughout the weekend. Sunrise yoga, massages, and other wellness activities for those wanting to wind down. Field games like Cornhole, Slip N Slide, painting classes, Giant Twister and more for those looking for a little fun before their favorite artists came to play. Or, use the day to lounge at your own campsite! There was no pressure of NEEDING to be doing something at all times. We introduced ourselves to parties nearby and had a blast just relaxing and getting to know people from around the world.
Thursday Highlights: Definitely exploring the festival grounds for the first time, and ending the day with Yheti and Caspa at Aquachobee. Their DJ sets made me thrilled, excited, anxious, and ever longing for the weekend that was about to come.
Friday Highlights: A chill set played by Los Walters during the day, with Big Gigantic followed by Bassnectar during the night. I am a huge Bassnectar fan, and every set he performs is beyond perfect. Not only that, but SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station during Bassnectar’s set, and was able to be seen perfectly from the crowd. Needless to say, it was an overwhelmingly amazing experience.
Saturday Highlights: I lounged for a good portion of Saturday, because I know I had to conserve energy for the night’s lineup. Mersiv, LSDREAM, G Jones, and Tipper played back to back sets at the HERE stage, and I did not leave to get food or use the bathroom once. I shook my booty from 8:15 PM to 2 in the morning.
Sunday Highlights: After a seriously exhausting but spectacular Saturday, I took Sunday to sleep in, eat great food, and take pictures. The festival ended with a set from Glass Animals followed by Mumford & Sons. This was an amazing change of pace of the music, the exact music I wanted to hear to leave such a magical weekend.
I am no festival veteran, but this also was not my first rodeo. It is safe to say that Okeechobee Music Festival was the best festival experience I have ever had. Maybe I am biased, with it being the only camping festival I have attended. But what is there not to enjoy about escaping the cold to go to Florida, 4 days of amazing live music, and spending the weekend with your closest friends.
Though the world may seem dark right now, it’s a good idea to see it as a time of healing. For both the earth and for yourself. I was lucky enough to experience the festival before the postponements, but hopefully, I was able to get you excited about the festivals you plan to go to! Stay strong everyone.