Tortuga Music Festival Sets a New Attendance Record, Solidifying Its Place As Country Music’s Biggest Beach Bash
More than 100,000 people from all 50 states and 22 countries came out to the fifth annual Tortuga Music Festival at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park this weekend. For three days, crowds jammed to performances by acts like Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Nelly, Darius Rucker and Chris Stapleton. They danced in the sand wearing bikinis and board shorts under impossibly blue South Florida skies. But they also mixed conservation with celebration, planting sea oats in the festival’s Rock the Ocean Conservation Village, and mingling with environmental action groups like the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Sea Turtle Oversight Protection (S.T.O.P.), and the Surfrider Foundation. Beyond raising awareness, the festival raised funds to the tune of more than $300,000 donated to Rock the Ocean’s partners as a direct result of ticket sales.
The festival’s conservation mindset is key to Tortuga’s mission, says Evan Harrison, CEO of Huka Entertainment, the company that produces and promotes the festival. Harrison says his company is dedicated to leaving the beach in better shape than it was before the festival, sponsoring several cleanups that removed hundreds of pounds of debris from the park’s shores and waters.
The 2017 record-setting weekend surpassed last year’s sell-out crowd of 90,000. "It's a tremendous feeling to see Tortuga grow its fifth year in a row," Harrison said. "The energy from the artists and fans fueled by our festive beach setting truly create a magical experience."
The music brought that magic to life, including Chesney partnering with Old Dominion for "Save It For A Rainy Day," new music from Stapleton’s 'From A Room: Vol. 1,' Jackson crooning crowd-favorite "5 O'Clock Somewhere," and Rucker singing “Wagon Wheel,” throwbacks from his Hootie & the Blowfish days, and an impressive cover of Prince's "Purple Rain.”
For both audience and artists alike, Tortuga was a hands-down hit. Dustin Lynch, who performed “Cowboys and Angels,” and “Seein’ Red” plus a few Blink 182 covers on Saturday told the Miami Herald he was feeling Tortuga’s vibe. “This is the coolest—one of the coolest—music festivals in the world,” he said.
Photos courtesy of Flickr.com