The 2018 Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival will descend on 800 acres of the Sunshine Grove property in the town of Okeechobee for the third time March 1-4, offering countless ways to rock out with your flower crown.
A concertgoer would be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed by Okeechobee’s 100-act music bill, spanning five stages and this year topped by Arcade Fire, Bassnectar, Halsey, Travis Scott, Khalid and Zeds Dead. Endless diversions abound beyond the stages, too, with yoga sessions, food trucks, seminars, raves, art exhibits, tea lounges and fire-shooting sculptures, all going down amid landscaped fields and groves of palm trees.
What’s the best way to handle the four-day campout at Okeechobee Music Festival? This survival guide covers packing, getting there, festival etiquette and can’t-miss performers.
What to pack
Unless leaving the campground is necessary, be prepared to pack enough clothes and food for four days of concertgoing, and know that practical apparel — hats, for example — will help against the scourge of mosquitoes, the punishing Florida sun and dance-happy mosh pits (watch the toes). Along with a tent and canopy, pack plenty of sunblock, water (or a CamelBak, a hydration pack worn like a backpack), toilet paper and other toiletries, a fanny pack (for wallets and other essentials), a light blanket for resting, durable trash bags, protein bars, lanterns (or improvise with a headlamp wrapped around a jug of water, which scatters light), earplugs (the music rages at all hours of the night), phone chargers and battery packs, a sleeping mask and deodorant for the benefit of your Okeechobee neighbors. Traveling in large groups? Consider a festival totem, a low-tech way for concertgoers to reach their tribes by waving a decorated pole high above the crowds.
First, plug the address for Sunshine Grove, 12517 NE 91st Ave., Okeechobee, FL 34972, into your smartphone. Okeechobee’s website lists shuttles and routes to the campground from every direction. Download the 2018 Okeechobee Fest Mobile App for a handy guide to performance times, food-stall locations and village schedules. An 8 a.m. meditation in the tea lounge? Late-night shenanigans at Jungle 51? You’ll find both here.
When DJ-producer Bassnectar performed to the deafening shrieks of revelers at the inaugural Okeechobee festival, he played the opening guitar chords of Guns ‘N Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.” It sounds like a fitting tradition to reprise when the Northern California man born Lorin Ashton returns as a headliner for the third time, touring behind a pair of fresh EPs titled “Reflective.”
Bassnectar joins a diverse main-stage lineup that includes soul crooner Leon Bridges, indie-pop hitmakers Foster the People, trip-hop veterans Thievery Corporation, trippy rock crew the Flaming Lips, electronica duo Zeds Dead, crowd-pleasing fusion group Slightly Stoopid and hip-hop duo Big Gigantic. Also returning is Okeechobee’s mashup concert PoWow!, where musicians marry old-school classics with modern technology, this year uniting the talents of the Roots, Chaka Khan and Joey Bada$$. They’ll be matched with Lil Dicky, Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic, Trombone Shorty, Cory Henry, the Funky Meters and Fort Lauderdale rapper $ki Mask the Slump God.
The planned residential development turned festival site known as Sunshine Grove lies some 10 miles north of the lake that gives the festival its name, and is divided into themed “villages.” The palm-shrouded Jungle 51 offers laser-light shows and late-night raves for the sleepless, while the arty Chobewobee features fiery effigy sculptures and experimental sounds. The daytime chill zone Aquachobee brings a manmade beach offering swimming and a Ferris wheel, while the health-centric Yogachobee offers round-the-clock meditations and workshops.
Tickets and parking
Four-day general-admission passes cost $269 (plus taxes and fees), while the Eternal Sunshine VIP Experience costs $699 (plus taxes and fees). Car and RV parking costs extra. To purchase passes, go to OkeechobeeFest.com/Tickets.
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