So many Miamians never bother to leave the city. More than a few people think Palm Beach County exists in a far-off dimension, light years away, unreachable by any known means of transport. Though, yes, it is a dystopian nightmare to drive more than 20 minutes anywhere in Miami, escaping the clutches of that clingy, abusive lover is worthwhile if done for the right reasons. Namely, music festivals.
The top of this list would and should rightfully include Okeechobee Music Festival, held annually in March. In only three years, it became the bright, shining example of what a proper music festival could be.
But with no official dates posted as of this writing and no social media updates other than the fest's last tweet in September — “Hang in there... info coming soon #omf19” — the worry grows that Okeechobee will not return, a fear raised by several outlets over the past few months. As the silence grows louder, our concern deepens.
Nevertheless, there are other out-of-the-area music festivals for the brave and the bold. Just around the corner are Electric Daisy Carnival Orlando, an actual neon carnival with a thumping EDM lineup and half-naked college kids; and Suwannee Hulaween in Live Oak, the answer to the question, "What does it look like when stoned, jam-band-loving hippies wear SpongeBob costumes?"
Up near the border in Jacksonville, the home of the Jaguars and some business parks, exists a headbanger’s wet dream: Welcome to Rockville. No lineup has been announced yet, but the May festival last year featured Ozzy Osbourne and the Foo Fighters as headliners. Hellz yeah.
Another Miami staple, despite its relative youth, is III Points, which has shifted its weekend of weird and wonderful to February 2019. Easily the artsiest and most eclectic of the area's fests (with an absurdly awesome roster this time around), III Points is a total hipster event that somehow the hipsters have not yet ruined.
Each spring brings a pair of sunny, waterside fests perfect for drunken staycations. The first, Tortuga Music Festival in April, is a country-music smorgasbord of Jimmy Buffett-style beach livin’ and high-quality, pop-concert-style production. Past guests have included Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, and... aw, who gives a shit. You get to pound Budweisers on the beach! Legally! Yee-haw.
SunFest in West Palm Beach. Its claim to fame, aside from having been around as long as air conditioning in Florida, is the lineup typically includes everyone ever. Each year feels like someone put their parents' Spotify collection on shuffle after mischievously sprinkling in a few new acts they won't recognize. The festival roster is then the first 20 songs that play. Boom. Let’s party (but be gone by 11 p.m.
If planning that far ahead ain't for you, two smaller South Florida gems — House of Creatives (HOC) and Riptide — are fast approaching. Both take place in November at the best kind of concert venue, the beach. The indie-flavored HOC will be held at Virginia Beach Key Park, while Riptide brings two days of genres as close as distant cousins — rock and R&B — to Fort Lauderdale Beach.
Whether you stay close or venture past Aventura, get out and take advantage of all these great fests while our state is still above water and the music isn’t just bubbles.