Okeechobee Music Festival 2018
You never know what to expect when gearing up for a music festival you have not been to before. The days leading up to it, you pack and hope not to forget anything. When you arrive all your worries are put to ease, you set up your tent, you unpack the car and unwind at your campsite.
The sense of togetherness at music festivals is one of the most impressionable memories each time, especially camping festivals. The bond between your neighbors, which typically become new friends. For the third installment of Okeechobee Music festival One EDM was happy to be a part of the community.
On March 1st 2018, the portal to the Sunshine Grove opened up for all to start their journey. The eclectic multi-genre line up had a little bit for everyone, all walks of life and all ages. Everyone was present for one common interest: music. Okeechobee prides itself on the no judgement, carefree, safe space for all in attendance. Sunshine Grove is a 600 acre natural paradise filled with a beautiful climate with a lake for swimming surrounded by sand and palm trees.
We set out early Friday morning from the Tampa area, about three hours away. The sun was shining, the morning dew was out and we were more than excited to start our journey. We arrived around 10:00 am, unpacked and settled into our spot in portal four. Today we did not have a list of people we wanted to see so we went out on a whim. We went early to the festival grounds onsite to check out the set up of the stages and familiarize ourselves with the space. In just the first day, it was easy to see what sets Okeechobee apart from other music festivals. The influx of art, from Uncle Rick’s Red Hot Cock to the stage set ups and all in-between. The sustainability throughout all the grounds were unmatched as we watched people collecting garbage to trade in for goodies.
To map it out for everyone who was not in attendance, there was The Grove, where all three main stages were: Be, Here and Now. Then there is the Moonlight Oasis which consists of Jungle 51, Aquachobee Beach and ChobeeWobee Village. This is where you’ll find a ferris wheel, a beach and a pirate ship to sit on amongst other hidden gems.
First up was Jai Wolf. He is a soothing blend of melodic electronica and alternative/indie music. You might know him for his infamous song “Indian Summer.” When he dropped this the entire crowd was dancing, totems and all. One EDM happened to be in the right place at the right time when Tipper began. The visuals captured all in attendance from start to finish. What a wild ride that was. This was our first time ever hearing Tipper’s music and he was the number one set of the whole weekend.
Lastly, to close out day one was no other than bass lord Lorin, also known as Bassnectar. Overall, his visuals were decent and so were his tunes. Although it was cold, we braved the weather to check out the after hours parties at the Moonlight Oasis.
Day two consisted of mimosas and sand to start. One EDM went straight to the beach on site to refresh. Around 1 pm, the music at Aquachobee stage was loud enough to hear from nearby campsites. As we floated in our unicorn float we heard sets from Chet Porter and Shallou. To no surprise, there was a toss up between our two favorite sets of Saturday; Illenium and Big Gigantic. Illenium is always a fan favorite. Nick knows how to mix between heavy dubstep and melodic tunes with smooth transitions. Also there is Big Gigantic, who is hard to describe if you’ve never seen them before. They’re composed of brass instruments and funky tunes that throw your noggin back decades.
After Big Gigantic closed out we headed to Moonlight Oasis to rest before our walk back to camp. Thankfully we stuck around. As we sat there in our hammocks we heard a familiar voice on the Incendia Stage say “Hey guys I’m Nick from Illenium and this is Dominic Lalli of Big Gigantic.” You could hear the excitement from everyone in the crowd. It was a spontaneous collab set. Next thing we knew, Nick was throwing down them dirty dubstep tunes while Dominic was wailing on the saxophone.
The final day in the portal was a struggle for everyone after the weather extremes, miles of walking and dancing all weekend. To start the afternoon we caught a few riddim sets at the beach. Boogie T B2B Squnto, and Ganja White Night B2B Boogie T B2B Dirt Monkey; a perfect way to gear up for the grand finale.
We stayed to close out with Zeds Dead. Zeds Dead always knows how to put on a great show. Between their personalities and their amazing music it’s always a magical ride. Zeds Dead dropped “Coffee Break,” which was a surprise to all die-hard ZD fans. As a result, you could see and feel the smiles across the crowd while everyone threw their Z’s up. Right after their set One EDM’s very own Kristina got to meet and snap a picture with them, which made her weekend.
Final thoughts: one of the more family oriented festivals we’ve gotten to attend, between the new friends and actual families out in the crowd. The only cons: the cold weather (which in Florida no one can properly predict), the bleeding of the three main stages (BE. HERE. NOW), and the big pause breaks between sets at some points of the weekend.
A big thanks to the producer Soundslinger for a successful third year in the Sunshine Grove. The ladies of GrandStand Media were fabulous throughout the weekend. Thanks to the cops and security who kept us safe, all musicians and fans alike. This weekend would not have been this great if all weren’t a part. All in all, One EDM cannot wait until Okeechobee 2019.