Festival Preview Okeechobee

Navigating Through the Jungle that is Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival

Photo by Nicholas James Photography

Last year, something magical happened in the deep heart of Florida: Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival. 2016 was the start of a tradition that will last a lifetime for many. Okeechobee entered the Florida festival scene running with a killer lineup (featuring headliners such as Mumford and Sons, Skrillex, Miguel, Hall and Oates, ODESZA, and more), killer location, and killer vibes. Attendees this year are expecting bigger and better. Join us this upcoming weekend (March 2 – 5) at the same location to continue those good vibes. This year, the lineup includes artists The Lumineers, Usher & The Roots, Flume, Griz, Pretty Lights (Live Band), Kasbo, Logic, Space Jesus, and more. There is something on the lineup for any and all.

Those that attended last year can attest that the grounds are massive. People who were unable to attend last year might feel slightly overwhelmed by the sheer immensity of what all is going on. The grounds are very spread out across a few acres – but you can get the general feel of the different sections below!

Entering OMF

Navigating to your designated entrance is easy as pie. Set your GPS to 12517 NE 91ST Ave, Okeechobee, FL 34972 (taken straight from the Okeechobee website) prior to arrival and it will lead you straight there. As you get closer, signage will be available for clarification, or you can just follow the masses. There are different entrances for VIP/GA, so make sure you have everyone in your group that you plan on camping with prior to approaching these entrances. They will not allow leaving/re-entrance unless it is an emergency. If you forget an absolute necessity, there are general stores located on the grounds that will more than likely have it – befriending your neighbors might help too!

The Campgrounds

As soon as you pass through security and cross the threshold into Okeechobee, it feels like the world is lifted off of your shoulders. It will be hard to feel anything but pure joy. As you can see from the 2017 map above, there are various sections marked off by different text lingo. To help find your campsite are workers stationed at different points, plus a multitude of landmarks you and your crew can utilize. There is not one “bad” camping spot per say because regardless of where you land, you are near either one of multiple “The Grove” (aka the main venue) entrances, Jungle 51, or Aquachobee Beach/Chobeewobee Village. Where you are camped is also dependent upon which portal you enter.

The Grove (OMF’s Main Stage Area)

The Grove is separated into three main stages: “BE” stage, “HERE” stage, and “NOW” stage. These names derive from a book by Ryan Dass called “Be Here Now”, a book on spirituality and meditation. The significance behind the stage names are special, and are present in all aspects of the festival. With the stages all being in the same area and not a far walk to one another, noise bleeding was a worry; however, there is very little competition between the three besides bass-heavy sets, such as Bassnectar.

Located in The Grove is also a huge amount of food tents (and some of the best festival food I have ever had), merchandise tents, water stations, bathrooms, etc. VIP has separate food options, and a lounge area at both the “BE” and “NOW” stage. One of the easiest way to meet up with friends in the venue is The Tower, which you can easily spot in The Grove map below.

Chobeewobee Village

Scattered throughout the village area is a land curated to feed the soul and awaken the festival goers “inner weird”. In the village and the surrounding area, you will find a large amount of interactive art installations, food trucks, vendors, and yoga/motivational/personal-building workshops. It can be comforting attending the workshops offered by Okeechobee because you are able to see people from all walks of life connecting through common interests and activities.

Be prepared for a surprise or two, plus the addition of another smaller stage in the Village: The Incendia Stage. The Village is the heart of the festival, home to all of the activities to do during the day, and late-night shenanigans to entertain after the shows. There is way more to Okeechobee other than what is happening in The Grove; spend some time in the Village and you will not regret it.

Photo from Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival Facebook

Jungle 51

 Jungle 51 is easily one of my favorite places to run away to after The Grove has calmed down. The jungle is one of the strangest places you will ever encounter, but you will never want to leave. Here, you can listen to techno/house music until the wee hours of the morning. The atmosphere is what completely makes the jungle what it is – you enter and are immediately greeted with a fallen UFO. Along the edges are comfy couches to hang out and enjoy the amazing laser show that takes place. Watch the video below to get a taste of the jungle. 

Aquachobee Beach

Located at Aquachobee is one of the most relaxing environments one can imagine. There is nothing better than literally having absolutely nothing to stress about, laying on the beach listening to great music. Aquachobee is your “island vibe wake up call” and is one of the more interactive locations on the grounds. This area contains the last stage at Okeechobee, drink stands, and the best part: a BEACH you can actually go swimming in. Last year, the weather was perfect during the day to go lay out and dip your toes on the water. I highly recommend bringing a floatie to fully enjoy the experience! Check out the video below of Hermitude playing a sunset set at the Aquachobee stage.

There is way more to Okeechobee besides what is listed above, the trick is exploring all of it yourself! If you have yet to buy your ticket, click here to do so because this fest will sell out again.

Once you cross through that gate, it does not matter who you are or where you are from, you all will enter the portal and become one.

Your average 20 something year old - living life with a free spirit and a wild heart. Music on my mind and sunshine in my soul.

  1. *Ram* Dass was the spiritual leader who wrote “Be Here Now”

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