Written & Photos by Dave McCallum
It’s that time of year, you’re probably looking at a pair of boots, a jacket, gloves, and a scarf getting ready to go out. However, you are going to Riptide festival and those drab layers are on the floor of your Air B&B as you slip into your favorite beach clothes and finish a cold beer. Located on beautiful Fort Lauderdale South Beach you are about to be transported to a musical oasis in that makes you forget that it’s December. Below I will do my best to elaborate on the full body and mind experience that is Riptide.
Nestled on the beach in the heart of Fort Lauderdales beautiful South Beach Riptide offers a festive and fun place to listen to your favorite bands and sample the local experience. Getting to South Beach is a breeze. I found an Air B&B for $50 a night only 10 minutes away from the beach and the airport. Getting to the festival is even more relaxing that an Uber ride. This fortunate festival goer waved down one of the many extended golf carts zipping back and forth between local hotels and main streets that surrounded the area. In the blink of an eye there I was immersed in a one of a kind festival experience.
If you were planning on going out after the festival the beach boulevard offers a huge variety of restaurants, bars, and nightlife to explore. Beach bars like Elbo Room offer additional live music should you be in the mood for something festive and G&B’s Oyster Bar if you are looking to grab some fresh seafood and a nightcap.
I’d like to invite you to step into the amazing world that is Riptide’s food selection; with Mexican, Greek, Cuban and Island-styled dishes in addition to seafood, BBQ, pizza, beach faves, veggie creations and sweet sensations it’s impossible for someone not to find a dish that fits there cravings. My personal favorite was the Gumbo which was made with all the southern fixing that make a man’s mouth water. Once you grab your personal favorite food it’s time to grab a drink to wash it all down with wine lovers have the option to swing by 101.5 Lite FM Wine Garden which featured some delicious local and sourced wine selections. If beers more up your alley then the Yuengling tent has your name on it. And of course like any great festival there was a plethora of other tents to quench your thirst with a wide variety of beverages ranging from fresh squeezed lemonade to custom cocktails.
The VIP Pack:
If you wanted to spend a couple dollars and opt for the VIP here are the perks you can expect: expedited VIP entrances into the festival, VIP raised viewing areas two complimentary drink tickets for liquor, beer or wine, exclusive VIP surprise and delight station with hourly pop up sampling catered by the best local restaurants Unlimited, free bottles of water full, dedicated cash bars offering signature Riptide cocktails Air-conditioned VIP restrooms additional seating and areas to refresh and rehydrate.
Lets not forget the best part though, the music. And what a great mix of new & old, rock & rap, superstars & up and coming talent. Continue reading to find out more about my favorites from this years lineup.
Portugal the Man: Portugal the man put on a smashing show. Starting out with a cover of Another Brick in The Wall and cascading into a set that left fans dancing and cheering for more when it finally ended. The Portland rock group creates music that is funky and fresh with its indie roots it is surely a show worth checking out.
Cage The Elephant: Cage The Elephant always delivers. When you get there and see Matt Shultz start performing you know what’s about to follow. Hardcore guitar riffs and an on stage performance that usually ends with Matt half naked crawling through a sea of fans. This was the case at Riptide as he is always performing for his fans and knows how to deliver what they want.
Weezer: Oooo eeee oooo I look just like Buddy Holly…… you know how it goes. If you go to a Weezer show you are there for one reason; you are there to sing every word to every song while the dueling guitars pierce through the audience with waves of energy and a fierce passionate rock sound. Weezer does not let you down either with set list that will leave fans new and old speechless and elated.
Lou Gramm of Foreigner: This was a surprise for me. I went into this show knowing of the band Foreigner, but I was not ready for this 80’s rocker experience. I found myself singing along to songs that left me feeling nostalgic and content. Classic songs like Midnight Blue and Hangin’ on My Hip delivered by a legacy rocker like Lou was an experience in and of itself.
Salt-N-Pepa: Little did I know when I went into this that this would be one of my favorite performance of the weekend. I thought I’d get a good chuckle singing along to Shoop (and I did), but these hip hop queens delivered a lively and passionate show that left me wanting more. After 30 years of touring these ladies know how to deliver and their crowd was begging for more by the end of the set.