Feature Photo Courtesy of Alex Perez
Get those automated work vacation email responses ready! This Thursday, March 2, tens of thousands of us will be traveling from far & wide to Okeechobee, FL for yet another incredible year of music, art and memories: all made possible by Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival. We’ve been looking forward to this weekend since the Monday after the fest last year, and we hope you have too! There are quite a few things you should know about Okeechobee before heading there this year, so we thought this guide would help a lot of people out there whether you’re a newcomer or have been in previous years!
BRING A LOT OF WATER
I know this sounds like an obvious cliché, but we can never stress this enough. Florida afternoon heat is no joke. It’s so important to hydrate and stay hydrated throughout the day and night. Make it a goal for you and your crew to drink at least a few water bottles before you go into the festival each day. Once you’re in, make sure someone (or a few people if you’re in a large group) always has water readily available. This is the most important part. Personally, I would pack 2 cases per person.
MUST HAVE EQUIPMENT
Florida is also known for some of the most unpredictable weather you’ll experience. It could be 90 degrees with the sun blazing one moment and then pouring rain the next, so bring apparel to prepare for the weather. Better safe than sorry. I know we’re all looking at the weather forecast for this weekend to plan out what to bring/wear, but trust me on this one. Not only have I lived in Florida for over 15 years, but I’ve also been on the negative end of not preparing the proper clothing for camping festivals, and it is not a good time. Pack some extra ponchos, rain boots and warm clothes as it can get pretty chilly at night. I would also suggest bringing sandals for the showers and biodegradable soap. If you’re tent camping, please be sure that your camping equipment is properly functioning ahead of time. Practice setting up and breaking down your tent a couple times at home. Lay a tarp down before you set up your tent and be sure that you have a shade screen to help protect you against the sun in the morning. Also remember to pack jumper cables, batteries for any air pumps and a car outlet adapter.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
We all know how exciting it can be once you get to the venue. You just want to drop everything once you’re parked for the weekend and go have some fun. The fun will be there all weekend. It’s important to set yourself up for a successful, seamless weekend! Once you set your campsite up, take about 20 minutes or so and familiarize yourself with your area. Make note of landmarks, meet your neighbors (if they’ve arrived already) and even take a trip or two to the festival entrance so you know the route to and from your site. If you’re able to arrive during the day, do that. Setting up camp in the dark is no fun. Neither is trying get back at night, wandering around not knowing where you camped. That can be a pretty intimidating feeling. Another hack is to take a screenshot of the festival map and your schedule. Reception can be spotty, so don’t solely rely on loading the app every time you need to check it.
The last thing I want to mention is the most important: being respectful. Be kind and respectful to your peers, strangers and the grounds. We are all here to have fun and enjoy, so lets do that! If you see someone who needs help, please try to help if you can. You may never know what someone is going through, and you may save their weekend! Please pick up after yourself. When leaving from the stages, make sure you left nothing behind and try to take 1 piece of trash with you. When you pack up to leave on Monday, please clean your campsite! Yes, there are workers and volunteers who stick around to help after the fest, but they are not maids. Lets all do our best to help one another and keep the venue, and Lake Okeechobee, clean and safe!