The inaugural Tortuga Music Festival, which drew more than 25,000 fans to Fort Lauderdale beach last spring for two days of concerts highlighted by Grammy-winning headliner Kenny Chesney, was so uniformly well received that its return seemed inevitable. But it’s now official: Tortuga 2014 will return to the same location April 12-13.
No word yet on a lineup, but that has not stopped organizers from offering early-bird tickets beginning 10 a.m. Friday at TortugaMusicFestival.com. The presale includes two-day general-admission tickets for $145 each, two-day VIP for $599 and two-day Super VIP for $999. A four-ticket purchase limit will be in effect, and shipping and handling fees may apply.
The inaugural festival included three stages in the sand north of the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel, with a diverse lineup that featured Chesney, Eric Church, the Avett Brothers, Grace Potter, Jake Owen, Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite, Gary Allan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Eli Young Band, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Donavon Frankenreiter, G. Love and Special Sauce, the Wailers, Sister Hazel and Mac McAnally. Another top act, modern blues singer Gary Clark Jr., was a last-minute cancellation.
The Tortuga Music Festival was created by Rock the Ocean Foundation, the brainchild of Nashville music veteran and former Fort Lauderdale resident Chris Stacey, and New Orleans-based HUKA Entertainment, which also handles the popular Hangout Music Festival and the Concerts for the Coast series featuring Jimmy Buffett, Bon Jovi and Brad Paisley.
“I can’t imagine a better lineup in our first year than the one we had,” says HUKA CEO A.J. Niland in a Tortuga 2014 press statement. “But we’re dedicated to making sure our next bill is even more impressive ... and have already confirmed top-caliber artists for 2014.”
A Tortuga insider expects several 2014 headliners to be announced next month.
Beyond the music, Tortuga carries a heavy emphasis on healthy-oceans education and gathered nearly two dozen marine research and conservation organizations into its Conservation Village last year. Among those represented were the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Shark Savers and Sea Turtle Oversight Protection.
The festival’s environmental concerns created buzz in the music industry, and before the first note had been heard at last year's festival, Stacey was fielding calls from eco-oriented performers who wanted to be part of Tortuga 2014.
"The environmental aspect is what makes [Tortuga] special in the industry," Stacey said last March. He declined to reveal any identities at the time, but said he’d had inquiries about the 2014 festival from "big, big names."
Last year’s festival tickets topped out at $159 for a two-day pass, and a week before the concerts single-day tickets were made available at $99 each.
Copyright © 2015, South Florida