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Getting to Tortuga Music Festival? Water Taxi is your best bet

Country-music fans headed to the Tortuga Music Festival on Fort Lauderdale beach April 6-8 will have one less way to reach the barrier island with the festival’s elimination of shuttle-bus service this year.

Into the breach will sail the Water Taxi, which has added boats, moved its drop-off/pickup stop closer to the festival gate and dropped the fare a couple of bucks. Water Taxi officials expect a 15 percent increase in passengers for the weekend, compared to last year’s festival.

As with past Tortuga festivals, there is no dedicated parking on the beach during the weekend.

Water Taxi is running boats 11 a.m.-11 p.m. each day between three locations, including its newest stop in downtown Fort Lauderdale at the Riverside Hotel, 620 E. Las Olas Blvd. Other stops are the GalleryOne DoubleTree Suites, 2670 E. Sunrise Blvd., near the Galleria Mall, and the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, 1881 SE 17th St., near the convention center garage. Parking is free at the Galleria.

At the festival, Water Taxis will drop off and pick up passengers at the International Swimming Hall of Fame, several blocks closer to the event entrance than last year’s stop at the Bahia Mar hotel complex. Parking for taxi and ride-sharing service also is at the Swimming Hall of Fame.

The trip between the Riverside and the festival site is expected to take 30 minutes, and 20 minutes to and from the other stops.

“When the [Fort Lauderdale] boat show is here, we transport up to 30,000 people a day,” says Phillip Burroughs, director of sales and marketing for the Water Taxi. “We are set up for this. We’re used to it.”

The Tortuga Music Festival is expected to draw about 100,000 people to Fort Lauderdale beach Friday-Sunday.

Burroughs says that in previous years the Water Taxi had a vendor relationship with Tortuga, and a portion of ticket proceeds went to the festival. This year, Tortuga and its new partner, Live Nation, opted to get out of the transportation business, and the Water Taxi is passing those dollars back to customers, Burroughs says.

Water Taxi single-day passes cost $12 in advance, $15 day of show; a three-day pass costs $30 in advance, $40 day of show. The 2017 rate was $18/$45. For more information, go to

In other transportation news, Brightline has added a later train between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach to its Friday schedule, with the last train leaving Fort Lauderdale at 10:55 p.m., arriving in West Palm Beach at 11:35 p.m. Florida Georgia Line is scheduled to end the festival on Friday at 10 p.m.

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