Okeechobee Music + Arts Festival is a good place to get lost in the woods with tens of thousands of the nicest strangers from all over the country and of all ages to dance, eat and chill.
This was my second year going and I'd been counting down the days since January 1st. OMF's lineup is always super diverse -- which I freakin love. It's obvious by who was headlining: Arcade Fire, Bassnectar, Halsey and Travis Scott. Go a little lower in the bill and THAT'S where I got really excited. But more on that later.
For the past three years, festival season has kicked off with Okeechobee Fest in...Okeechobee. Duh. Since it's still so early in the year, it's the perfect starter festival for newbies who aren't ready long days in the heat with thousands of other sweaty bodies. Go ahead and put it on your 2019 calendar now. You'll see why after going through my five favorite moments.
5. Discovering Misterwives
If a song can stop you while you're on the way to get food, it's gotta be legit. Misterwives was in the middle of playing "Our Own House" when I was walking by and I said "Daaaamn let's stop to dance!" Lead singer Mandy Lee was so fun to watch because she's crazy talented and she looked like she was living her best. Add Misterwives to that playlist you have to make your day suck less.
Watch their OMF performance above.
4. The Famous Roochute
During Misterwive's set, I looked over and saw people setting up a rainbow parachute! Like the one from gym class when we were kids! Nostalgia hit me so hard.
Turns out, it's a traveling experience to promote mental health awareness called Roochute. Ron Holgado debuted the beautiful 'chute at Bonnaroo in 2014 and it's been a staple ever since. It's been traveling to other festivals and people post all over social media about how it's one of their favorite moments. Ahem, like me.
Ron told me the purpose of Roochute is to remind people that taking care of your mental health is important so live in a moment like shaking a rainbow parachute with strangers and be happy. Did I take full advantage of that moment to be happy and shake my piece of the Roochute like little Catalina did forever ago? Ya damn right, I did.
3. Sweet, Sweet Leon Bridges
Photo by @BrittanyNoFomo
Leon Bridges' popularity exploded after his song "River" was featured on the Big Little Lies soundtrack. He has this old school soul with a funky new edge that makes his music so fun to listen to. It was my first time seeing him live and I couldn't stop staring at the way he dances. You could see touches of James Brown's broken legs and classic step n snaps from groups like The Temptations.
Watch him perform "River" below. It gave me goosebumps.
2. The Powow of Music Legends
I watched Snoop Dogg light up on stage and now my life is complete.
The Roots were back this year as the backbone for the Powow! Someone please explain their travel schedule to me because most of their time is spent being Jimmy Fallon's house band. I don't get it, but whatevs. I was happy to see them again after last year's thirst trap Powow! with Usher. Those guys jam like nooobody else.
Snoop Dogg aka the Doggfather aka we're gonna keep pretending Snoop Lion never happened was the first one to perform with The Roots. He came out, dropped a few F bombs then lit up. He performed hits like "Gin and Juice", "Beautiful" and "Drop It Like It's Hot" while typical backup dancers were replaced by actual strippers throwing pole tricks. It really doesn't get any more Snoop than that.
Then, the queen came out. Chaka Khan's voice is still just as powerful and sharp now as it was in the disco era. It was incredible to sing along to "I'm Every Woman" with all the other women at the show when the culture is in the middle of a female empowerment surge.
But here's my problem -- I saw A LOT of people leave after Snoop Dogg finished because they don't know about Queen Chaka. I can't, in good conscience, let you leave my blog without an introduction so GET FAMILIAR below.
1. Festival Fashion
I know this isn't technically a "moment" from Okeechobee Fest but I can't deny giving these creative weirdos the credit they deserve!
Glitter was a big thing. I saw it used as highlighter across cheeks and it was all over boobs. Seriously. OMF 2018 was the year of glitter boobs. Also, fashion MVP award goes to the guys who rocked their glitter butts with Beyonce-like confidence. Dayum.
What makes Okeechobee Fest special to me is you can't have a bad time. You're surrounded by thought-provoking art and non-stop music to discover. Most importantly, you're surrounded by people who want to let go and have a good time right along with you.
Catch you next year, Okeechobee.