Arcade Fire Heats Up Okeechobee Music Fest

Thurs., Mar. 1-Sun., Mar. 4

Arcade Fire tearing into another fan favorite!
Arcade Fire tearing into another fan favorite! (Photo by: Brian Doughty)

Sunshine Grove, Fla. – Arcade Fire headlined the 3rd annual Okeechobee Music Festival at Sunshine Grove from Thursday, March 1st through Sunday, March 4th.  The wildly eclectic festival marked its 3rd year with another outstanding lineup of live performances spread over 4 beautiful days in the bucolic Florida countryside.

A cold front brought chilly nights that had attendees bundling up before stripping down to shorts and t-shirts during the exceptionally warm days.  Clear blue skies provided a picture perfect backdrop to every show.  OMF features all kinds of music; from live DJs and EDM acts to jam bands and pop stars.  Every musical genre is represented and respected.  Many fans come for one act and end up becoming fans of several others!

The recent school shooting tragedy in Parkland was also on the minds of many fans and workers during the festival.  Food and beverage booths had donation jars collecting money for the families of the victims.  And several bands mentioned the tragedy from the stage.

One of the biggest shows of the festival was the "Super Jam" featuring The Roots and Snoop Dogg and Chaka Khan.  The Roots kicked off their set with some high-energy songs before things REALLY got high when the Dogg hit the stage!   Challenging any fan in the audience to a smokeout, Snoop got the crowd jumping with a set jam packed with hits; including OG smashes like "Nothing But A G Thang" and "What's My Name?"  Fans were going wild, singing and dancing along!  Then, Chaka Khan came out and turned the energy in another direction with hits like "Tell Me Something Good" and "I Feel For You"!

The Flaming Lips took over the "Be" stage on Saturday night and turned the field into a giant playroom, filled with confetti and giant bouncing balls!  The band's psychedelic set included classic songs like "Race for the Prize", "Fight Test" and an awesome cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity"!

Another big draw was R&B sensation Leon Bridges.  He had the crowd moving on Sunday night with a set that mixed hits like "Brown Skin Girl" and "Better Man" with new tracks off his upcoming album.  His tight band of musicians kept the sounds grooving while Bridges danced all over the stage!

Finally, it was time for the big headliner, Arcade Fire.  The tribes of fans with their homemade and glowing totems packed the field in front of the "Be" stage to hear an uplifting and energizing set!   They started with "Everything Now" off their latest album before performing flawless versions of "Here Comes the Night Time", "No Cars Go" and "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)!   Frontman Win Butler told the crowd about his anger over the Parkland shooting and encouraged fans to support the #NeverAgain movement to change gun laws.  Arcade Fire ended the night (and the festival) with a harmonic rendition of "Wake Up" that had everyone singing along!  

The third year of OMF found the festival pushing new boundaries with artists and activities.  I can't wait to see what they come up with for next year.  You won't want to miss it!

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