The masterminds behind the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival have taken significant strides in their first two years of production; needless to say, after attending this year’s edition, we were beyond impressed by the festival.

Located just off Florida’s Okeechobee Lake in Sunshine Grove, this year’s event attracted 40,000 people across its four days. In regards to its musical offering, the festival promoters Soundslinger kicked it up a notch this year, welcoming a plethora of top artists across most of today’s popular genres, ensuring they had something for everyone to enjoy. Staying true to our roots, XLR8R hung out mostly at the Jungle 51 stage, a mind-blowing stage designed by Julio Santo Domingo, Darren McGee, and Andrew Grant—a jungle-themed design that incorporated cryptic crop circles and a DJ Booth that resembled a space captain’s command center. The most notable performances there were Ryan Elliot, Julio, Nightmares on Wax, and Sebastian Mullaert. Aside from Jungle 51’s offering, we spent time at the Aquachobee Stage, with highlights that included up-and-coming artists Vandana and VHS Collective.

Outside of the music, one of the most enjoyable parts of our festival experience was New York record store Halcyon‘s booth, where attendees could browse and purchase vinyl, as well as listening to music from artists on the lineup. Another aspect that stood out during the four days of the festival was friendliness of the Soundslinger’s staff—all of the crew projected a passionate attitude which permeated into the audience, creating a really great vibe. Our only suggestion to keep in mind for future events is to start the headliners earlier in the night as the dance floor cleared out rapidly at sunrise and left most of the headlining artists playing to a semi-empty dance floor at the end of their sets. More attention to waste clean up on the dance floor during event hours would also improve the whole experience; although, this can be attributed to attendees just as much as the organizers. Other than these two minor issues, Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival was a highly enjoyable experience and XLR8R will definitely be returning next year and we recommend you do too.

Photos: Andrew Jorgensen and Adela Loconte