Florida’s Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival boasts killer headliners from all backgrounds. With performances from EDM masters Skrillex and Bassnectar, folk darlings Mumford & Sons and hip-hop mogul Kendrick Lamar, there’s something for every type of music lover.
The impressive lineup needed extra accommodation, so the first-year festival just announced the extension of the festival to an extra day. With the OMG 4-Day Pass, gates will now open on Thursday, March 3 with music, games and art installations open all night.
Now with even more time to explore the 800-acre festival grounds, we’re getting excited about our list of must-sees. With too many great headliners to choose from, we decided to focus on the supporting acts we’re most excited about seeing. Step away from the main stage to check out this awesome group of artists – both international and Floridian locals – at Okeechobee.
From hot jazz to Swedish psychedelia, satirical folk to electronic hip-hop, these are Verge’s 10 must-see Okeechobee supporting acts.
1. Big Gigantic
If you’re not familiar with Big Gigantic’s blend of jazz and dance music, be sure to have a listen before making your Okeechobee schedule. The Colorado duo consists of drummer Jeremy Salken and saxophone player/producer Dominic Lalli. Their infectious melodies and funky instrumentals have struck a chord with festivals around the world, and we can’t think of a better place for a Big G dance party than in the forests of Florida. Their hit “Good Times Roll” will definitely help us start our weekend with a bang.
Stop by the psych-pop band Sunbears! for the perfect, relaxing afternoon dance session. Hailing from Florida, this group was featured alongside artists like Miley Cyrus, Phantogram and My Morning Jacket on The Flaming Lips’ track-for-track Beatles tribute album: With a Little Help from My Friends. The group’s infectious synth-pop mixes the spacey instrumentals of Tame Impala with the uplifting pop spirit of Passion Pit. This combination is sure to bring an energetic performance to Okee this spring.
Singer and producer Miguel will be bringing his hypnotic hip-hop beats down to Okeechobee. His relaxed funk melodies are given a dark, electric flourish on his newest album Wildheart. His vocal and guitar styles echo those of early soul pioneers Freddie Mercury and Prince, while his elaborate arrangements showcase his production skills. Take a break from a day full of hard dancing and beach lazing to groove to the sultry beat of his hit “Simple Things.”
4. Moon Hooch
Featuring drummer James Muschler and saxophone players Mike Wilbur and Wenzl McGowen – Moon Hooch started when the trio met at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. Their self-titled debut album was released in 2013, and was quickly followed by This is Cave Music in 2014. They’re a purely instrumental jazz group, complete with extended solos that showcase each individual’s musical talents. We can’t wait to see the Hooch and their jazzy showcase at Okee.
5. The Shelters
This garage band comes from Los Angeles armed with catchy choruses, fuzzy guitars and an attitude to rival the Stones. They’ve only released one EP so far, but their 2015 energetic anthems “Liar” and “Birdwatching” are classic rock with a touch of grunge. Chase Simpson, Josh Jove, Sebastian Harris and Jacob Pillot describe their band as “rock missionaries, testifying for the earthy pleasure and purpose of music delivered with full heart and zero subterfuge.”
6. Manic Focus
Chicago-based music producer John McCarten mixes soulful hip-hop with deep house EDM as Manic Focus. He experimented with sampling and deep electronica in 2012’s Expanding Mind, and his latest release, 2014’s Cerebral Eclipse, debuted under popular producer GRIZ’s label, All Good Records. His live instrumentation skills have earned him a spot touring with other big artists like Big Gigantic and Paper Diamond. Be sure to check out the heaving-hitting bass from his set.
Dungen may look like a strange pick for our list, but don’t be quick to dismiss. This Scandinavian group came out of a small village in Sweden from Gustav Ejstes. After experimenting with sampling and hip-hop in his early days, Ejstes became exposed to the underground music of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. His debut album Dunjen held only three songs, each over 11 minutes long. Their blend of spacey ‘60’s rock, Swedish folk and free jazz is just strange enough to be brilliant. Their set will be perfect for those craving a synth-soaked psych fest.
This alternative band from Pennsylvania is infamous for their oddly eclectic style variations and their gleefully goofy lyrics. They gained a large cult following during the later ‘80’s and in to the ‘90’s, but disbanded in 2012. Last year Ween announced they’d perform reunion shows beginning February 2016, including a stop at Okeechobee in March. From the signature folk-rock harmonies of “Baby Bitch” to the island-infused beat of “Bananas and Blow,” this is one reunion show we don’t want to miss.
9. Dr. Dog
What’s a festival without some good lo-fi indie rock? After a few self-released albums from the early 2000’s, Dr. Dog caught the ear of Jim James from My Morning Jacket, who asked the Philadelphia group to open for his band on tour. Since then, the group has been steadily rising, including the recent release of their live album, Live at a Flamingo Hotel. The chantable chorus of “Heart It Races” just screams crowd-pleaser. We just hope we get the same extended jazzy outro.
10. White Denim
This trio has all the spunk of The Black Keys with the vocal textures of Iron & Wine. The Texan group –James Petralli, Josh Block, Austin Jenkins, and Steve Terebecki – debuted in 2007 with their EP Let’s Talk About It. Since then, their energetic garage beats and frantic, punk-rock vocals have transformed into the more subdued notes of their 2013 release Corsicana Lemonade. Their performance is sure to be a mix of hard rock jams and easy listening grooves, both of which sound like the perfect complement to our Okeechobee weekend.
Let us know who you’re most excited about seeing at Okeechobee, and check out our specially curated playlist on Spotify!