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Okeechobee Music And Arts Festival Will Draw 80 Musical Acts To Perform In The Woods North Of Florida's Largest Lake

Is Okeechobee getting its own Coachella?

A new camping-style, weekend-long festival for the music-loving masses is coming to the Sunshine State in March. The event will kick off ahead of Miami's Ultra Music Festival and Fort Lauderdale's famed Tortuga.

Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival, named for its location amidst the woodlands north of Florida's largest freshwater lake, will take place March 6 through March 8. It's being produced by Soundslinger, LLC, a team of concert promoters and producers whose resume includes Bonnaroo in Tennessee, Outside Lands in San Francisco and the STORM Electronic Music Festival in Shanghai, China.

Organizers promise more than 80 musical acts, ranging from solo artists to bands and DJs, and representing genres including rock, hip-hop and underground electronic. The full lineup will be announced in mid-October.

"We don't have all of them confirmed, but we do have some big names that we feel really confident about," Ricardo Dueño, Soundslinger's executive assistant, said.

He said the idea isn't to compete with Ultra, which will bring the world's top DJs to South Florida a few weekends after Okeechobee Fest.

"We're not seeking the most popular electronic artists; we want to focus more on the underground scene," he said.

Leading into the recession, the 800-acre site on which the festival is being held—dubbed Sunshine Grove—was owned by Soundslinger co-CEO Cliff Rosen. The lot was supposed to be a residential development, but construction was abandoned after the market crash of 2008.

When Rosen met Steve Sybesma and Paul Peck—now the company's CEO and COO, respectively—the group came up with idea to put together a music festival. By the time the event arrives in March, the festival will have been a few years in the making.

The Okeechobee festival will be about more than music, however; arts and spirituality will also share the spotlight.

"We want to represent the forefront of the arts, like what's happening when you go to Wynwood, for example," Dueño said.

Sunshine Grove has an aura of sustainability and spirituality, Dueño said, and the festival will embrace that. 

Yoga, meditation and holistic workshops, as well as environmental community projects, will be hosted in an area of the festival called "Yogachobee." It will include an organic juice bar, ferris wheel and "chilling" area with herbal teas, Okeechobee News reported.

The festival will also highlight popular Florida food trucks, craft beer-makers and artisanal producers. 

Dueño said he expects people from all over the world to come to Okeechobee Fest—spring breakers included. With the event taking place the first weekend of March, the Florida weather should draw college students from up north as well as other music and art enthusiasts.

"It's this almost isolated place in Florida, and people are going to be traveling from their cities into a different world," he said.

Ticket prices have not been set but are expected to run around $300 for a general admission weekend pass.

Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival may be the first event hosted on Soundslinger's Sunshine Grove woodland property, but the festival organizers don't want it to be the last. Sunshine Grove will offer "the primary purpose of producing multiple annual large-scale camping-style music festivals and other unique events," Sybesma's LinkedIn profile reads.

While Dueño said Soundslinger's primary focus is on putting together a successful first music festival, he confirmed the company hopes to produce others.

"We really do want to create a new concept on that land—festivals, concerts, other types of events," he said.

Watch the promotional video for the festival below:

(Image of Coachella via Flickr/Jason Persse​)

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