Music, Art, and Good Times at Okeechobee Fest 2016
It's been a week since Okeechobee Fest, I know, but the post Okeechobee post is finally here. As I mentioned in my previous post, I almost didn't go to Okeechobee, but I'm so glad I did. This weekend was filled with music and art and laughter and beautiful weather and happiness. It was a weekend I'll remember for some time to come.
My mom and I ran into a few bumps the morning of the festival, so we didn't get to the grounds until later in the afternoon on Friday. I was still feeling a bit of residual anxiety, and that plus missing some of the bands I'd planned on seeing had me in a slightly sour mood. After we set up our camp, though, and made our way over to the stage hosting Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifter, things started looking up.
The nights were beautiful, out in the middle of nowhere. Multicolored lights illuminated the trees from below and the stars shone down from above. Speaking of trees, the bottom one in the righthand photo has a smiley face in its leaves. Can you see it?
Mom brought an old rug and her grill, and we camped like pros. Saturday was her birthday, which made the whole weekend even more special. She hadn't had a birthday this fun in years.
While the Grove hosted the three main stages at Okeechobee, Chobeewobee Village, on the other side of the grounds, offered festival-goers three smaller stages, several art installations, a ferris wheel, rows of art vendors, a yoga area, and a beach. Various musicians and DJs created a chill atmosphere under The Palace, and the gongs on the installation in photo above were played by the wind.
This photo is a terribly composed photo, but I had to show ya'll that I found Waldo.
The Fleeble Flobbler shot flames into the air every night, while nearby a small grove of trees offered shade, hammocks, couches, chairs, tables, and charging outlets for anyone looking to chill for a while.
That mushroom was actually a charging station. The people standing beneath it became friends after one of them suggested they each share a fun fact about themselves while their phones were charging. They talked for more than an hour. Across the grounds, that life-sized elephant greeted festival-goers as they entered the Grove.
Florida weather can get pretty nasty, even in March. Already the days are in the 80s and humid as hell, but the weather at Okeechobee could not have been more perfect. The days were in the 70s, with a gorgeous breeze to keep the heat at bay. The nights dropped down into sweater weather, but you could always move into a crowd if you got too chilly an dance for warmth.
The best part of the weekend, of course, was the music. Folk rock, indie, alt-country, jazz, hip hop, rap, house, and EDM were all represented at Okeechobee. I only listen to bands from the first half of that list, but that diversity brought people of all different races, genders, ages, and sizes, and even though we differed in a number of ways, we were all there for music. Even the bands got together for Pow Wows to play genre-bending classics like "Rock the Casbah" and "House of the Rising Sun." Marcus Mumford even called Donald Trump a "fucking cunt" at one point, and that was just plain fun.
The weekend may have gotten off to a rough start, but I drove home Monday with the windows down, festival music playing, already looking forward to next year.