Preserving the awesome majesty of the ocean is the admirable goal of the inaugural Tortuga Music Festival, April 13-14 on Fort Lauderdale beach. But no one will think less of you if your primary focus is the music.
Country star Kenny Chesney, up-and-comers the Eli Young Band, indie-rock heroes the Avett Brothers and buzzed-about blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr. lead a lineup of more than 20 pop, rock and country acts on three stages for the concerts, a co-production of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, marine conservationists Rock the Ocean, environment-friendly HUKA Entertainment and underwriter Landshark Lager.
Other big names on the bill include Gary Allan, Michael Franti and Spearhead, G. Love and Special Sauce, Kip Moore, and Sister Hazel. Organizers say more acts will be announced in the coming weeks.
Tickets go on sale Saturday at TortugaMusicFestival.com. The price will be $99 for a two-day pass.
Along with the music, there will be sustainable seafood offerings, traditional festival favorites, environment-themed vendors and more. The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Ocean Conservancy will partner on a Conservation Village filled with educational information.
A Nashville publicist who handles some of the acts on the bill has a special attachment to the event: Heather Bohn is a graduate of Coconut Creek High School, and her family used to throw their blankets down on the very beach where the show will take place, behind the hotel she still calls "the Yankee Clipper."
Bohn relocated to Los Angeles to work in the music industry (she drops names such as the Rolling Stones comfortably), and then Nashville, where she reps acts including country chart-topper Gary Allan and the Grammy-nominated Eli Young Band. A music festival on the shore in her hometown has always been a dream.
"I would be at Bonnaroo, which is like the biggest music festival going these days, and stand there looking out on 80 or 100,000 faces and think about it," Bohn says. "And [Bonnaroo] is basically in a rock pit, with dirt and rocks all around. ... I would think, 'Why can't we have this at the beach?' "
She said that when she heard the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the Rock the Ocean Foundation were putting the Tortuga Music Festival together, "I felt my eyes get all warm, like I was going to cry."