Okeechobee Festival Recap and Photos

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Slideshow photos courtesy of Betsy Jay Photography

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Bipolar Sunshine provided a show with an intimate, house show feel. Adio Marchant talked to his audience with a grateful voice, connecting the audience more to his music. His songs had a fun mixture influenced by pop, R&B and dance music. Regardless of whether you were new to the band or a long time listener, you couldn’t help but leave as a fan.

It was evident that Cereus Bright had a vibrant crowd, with several people cheering before the band even finished sound check. As they started their show, the passion behind their music seemed to seep into the eager fans. Giving a performance one would expect from the Avett Brothers, they delivered a folk music-influenced sound that a lot of artists have moved away from, and was otherwise almost non-existent at the festival. 

With popular songs like “Broccoli” and “Cute,” it came as no surprise that there was a large crowd of excited fans anxiously waiting well before D.R.A.M.’s show. Dafelle proved his talent as a DJ and warmed them up with an outstanding compilation. Everyone was pumped up and their excitement overflowed to the stage as D.R.A.M. jumped out. He kept the momentum and delivered a high energy performance. The pair definitely provided a live show that was guaranteed a place as a favorite at the festival.

The sun started setting as Gaudi took the stage. The multi-colored sky provided a stunning backdrop and paired beautifully with the incredible sounds the composer and musician had obviously taken great care in mixing. He offered a unique dub/electronica sound with evident reggae influence that quickly motivated the crowd to dance in the sand.

Mike Posner provided a vibrant and energetic show, engaging with the crowd constantly. At times, he looked as if he were going to jump into the pit of fans and dance alongside them. He rarely stopped smiling or bouncing around the stage. His respect for his band members showed, as each of them got their moment in the spotlight. Of them all, Jacob Scesney really stood out with his seemingly effortless mastery of the saxophone, delivering an unforgettable performance that provided his fans with the connection they were seeking.

Sleigh Bells didn’t disappoint fans as they started out as strong as they finished. Alexis Krauss danced across the stage, whipping her hair and smiling throughout the show. Together, she and Derek Miller were energetic and having as much fun as the crowd below them. Their sound was bursting with the same energy the artists brought to the show, and they had everyone dancing and singing along with them.

Sturgill Simpson added a rare country and roots rock sound to the festival. The crowd appreciated how his music pushes the country genre limits, and many sang along as he played his diverse set. He truly showed his talent as he played and sang. As expected at a festival, the crowd that gathered was filled with fans of many different genres; however, he managed to appeal to them all.

Tennyson might have surprised many as they walked out, looking young (as they are). However, they proved age is no factor when it comes to talent. Tess took to the drums with energy that had the crowd yelling for a solo. Luke smiled as he played the keyboard. Together they combined everyday sounds along with the music they played, creating a wonderful instrumental mix. They both engaged with the crowd, making jokes in between songs and exchanging friendly brother-sister banter. Their performance fully satisfied their fans and left a lasting impression for those who hadn’t heard them before.

It was apparent The Knocks brought the power of New York City with them as they burst out on the stage. B-Roc mixed the tunes while JPratt hopped around and stirred up the crowd. They encouraged their fans to get involved with the music, singing along with them and jumping around. The two were exuding positivity and it was hard to tell who was having the most fun during the show. Their electronic sounds charged everyone and no one wanted the show to end.

The Revivalists brought so much energy to the show that it started with lead vocalist and guitarist David Shaw accidentally falling off the stage and injuring his head. However, he proved that he had as much soul as his music when he returned and the band played through the whole show as if nothing happened. In fact, it was a show full of enthusiasm and spunk with each song seeming even better than the last. It was a very interactive performance, with David even sitting on the edges of the stage and reaching out to touch hands with crowd members. The band certainly provided a strong, stimulating performance that showed off the talent behind their roots-driven rock music.

Both Usher & The Roots are strong on their own, but together they were a powerhouse of sound. Thousands of people gathered in anticipation and there was an overwhelming excitement throughout the crowd during the show. Tariq started the show off strong, with the crowd bursting with excitement. He transitioned by introducing Usher and the stage erupted with sound as every musical part connected. Together, Usher & The Roots produced a wonderful collaboration of hip-hop song and dance that thrilled all that listened.

Written & photographed by Erin Sunday from Okeechobee Music Festival