MP3 TAKES: Okeechobee Music Festival I 2023
Okeechobee Music Festival 2023 (March 3-6, 2023) has proved itself time and time again as the ultimate way to kick off the festival season.
This year was a thrilling and diverse event that brought together music fans from across the country. The festival boasted an impressive lineup of artists across multiple genres, including rock, hip hop, electronic, and more. Add in its beautiful home site, The Grove, in Okeechobee, Florida’s scenic countryside, and this festival is always a ‘can’t miss’ event.
Bought out by Insomniac in 2019, OMF has become a revamped operation in recent years. In many ways, it’s been a fantastic infusion that’s largely responsible for the festival’s return, maturation, and success, but like anything, change is never easy.
We dive into that and more with our TAKES on Okeechobee Music Festival 2023 below:
Early on into the weekend, rumors began spreading that an attendee had died onsite. The festival didn’t address this on social media until March 8th following the event:
The tragic death of a festival attendee is a sobering reminder of the importance of fan preparedness and promoter responsibility. As fans, it is our duty to take precautions and prepare for potential hazards, such as extreme heat or dehydration, and seek medical attention when needed.
Festival promoters also have a responsibility: to keep fans informed and transparent about the festival’s operations and any potential health hazards or incidents that occur. During our attendance, however, we did note numerous medical tents situated throughout the property and ample staff stationed throughout the grounds. So on preparedness, it seemed business as usual for a typically well-run Insomniac operation.
We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the attendee who passed away and hope that this tragedy serves as a catalyst for increased safety measures and accountability in large-scale events.
SURPRISE(S)! ANDERSON .PAAK & MORE
OMF 2023 was full of surprises and unexpected performances, with a number of surprise guests making appearances throughout the weekend.
UK legend Skream brought his signature sound to the festival, delivering a high-energy set that had fans dancing from start to finish at Incendia. GRiZ teamed up with LSDREAM for a back-to-back performance that showcased their unique styles and musical talent, while Lab Group+ (Supertask+Tiedye Ky+Player Dave). Anderson .Paak also made a surprise appearance during this year’s PoWow! Allstar Jam, originally headlined by The Free Nationals. The Grammy-winning artists came out and closed out the PoWow! with a 15-minute medley alongside Nationals band, members of Break Science and Goose, among others.
THINGS LOOKED DIFFERENT
‘Okee’ had some noticeable changes in 2023 compared to previous years. One of the significant changes was the introduction of GA+ camping, which provided those purchasing attendees with more amenities and a more comfortable camping experience. This upgrade allowed attendees to have a reserved spot and access to showers and private bathrooms. These areas were previously included in GA (depicted as yellow in the 2020 graphic), so the general crowd was pushed further back into the campgrounds.
Another noticeable change was the reduction of infrastructure at the Aquachobee beach area, which previously had been a popular spot for attendees to congregate. This year, the canopy structure was removed, alongside formers constructions like hammocks and a gazebo.
READ: Photo Gallery: Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival 2022
Without much shade on the beach, the hot weather this year proved to be a major challenge for many attendees. Temperatures climbed above 90 degrees, leading to concerns about heat exhaustion and dehydration. Many fans struggled to stay cool and comfortable in the sweltering heat during the day if they wanted to enjoy many of the grassroots favorites like Florida’s Cut & Sew (below), EAZYBAKED B2B kLL sMTH, and The Widdler B2B Push Loop.
Whereas Aquachobee had less than we’re used to seeing, organizers did add a new stage, a Burner-esque Masquerade Art Cart. The stage, naturally designed to look like a pirate ship, hosted takeovers from regional labels like House Hats and Wubaholics, who hosted up-and-comers like Evalution, Meduso, & Raaket.
TOP TIER MUSIC CURATION
Despite these challenges, Okeechobee Music Festival 2023 was a memorable and enjoyable experience for many.
Okee offers a diverse range of performances across its multiple stages, including stand-out shows at the HERE stage, NOW stage, and the BE stage.
Zingara and Mersiv were two electronic acts that certainly wowed the crowd with their dynamic and high-energy electronic beats at HERE.
At the NOW stage, Florida-band Flipturn delivered a lively and engaging rock performance that had fans dancing along to their infectious hooks; Channel Tres was another favorite who stood out with his hybrid live electronic show.
Read: New Releases From Okeechobee Artists Lil Yachty, Channel Tres, Break Science & More
Baby Keem, ODESZA, and Daily Bread dished out memorable performances in a long line of unforgettable sets at the BE stage, showcasing their unique styles and impressive musical skills to enthusiastic crowds.
Overall, these performances were just a small taste of the incredible talent on display at the Okeechobee Music Festival 2023, making it an unforgettable experience for music fans of all kinds. The music, venue, and experience overall make this festival one that people will and should return to again and again.