The Ten People You Meet at Okeechobee Festival
So long, Okeechobee!
I wish it weren't true, but the Okeechobee Festival is over. My brain still swims in a special mix of overindulgence and lack of sleep, but looking back at all these music and people slideshows is helpful to my transition.
I miss my new friends and all the strange characters, but it's enough to know these wild animals all converged for an impermanent but perfect moment. Did you notice how friendly the rickshaw drivers were? How beautiful the hippies looked? Let's all refresh our memories and get reacquainted with these folks. Maybe one of these people is you.
Monday night, before finally sleeping in my own bed, my roommate and I reflected on the totally posi-chill vibes of Okeechobee Festival. I don't think I've ever been to such a friendly, communal camping fest in my life, and we decided it was because there were so many damned hippies around. Hippies may be dirty and smell like spiritual essence, but they are some damned good people, y'all.
9. Sunburned White People
This had to have been day one. Look at how white and unsheltered from the sun this dude is. No doubt he was beet red by the time he packed up to head home. It happened to everyone. There was no escaping it. It was worth it.
8. Space People
I can't say whether this person pictured was on drugs at all, but we can say with great assurance that the friend we came with never came down in his whole 72-hour experience. We can also say the same was probably true for at least 5 percent of the Okeechobee Fest population. The music went all night long, it never stopped once, which is perfect for keeping the wide-eyed occupied and also from straying all over the campgrounds at 4 a.m. blasting dubstep. Good job, Okeechobee programmers. We hope you space people have caught up on sleep.
7. Light People
Given that so many people spent their festival in outer space, it was great that so many other festivalgoers dressed themselves head-to-toe in lights. We saw quite a few of these gorgeous light coats. We saw a few really fabulous jelly light totems and one light-up rainy cloud. Some people wore those custom stick-figure light suits. Some people just wandered the crowd asking if anyone wanted a finger show. It was heady af out there, bruv.
6. Hip-Hop Heads
Speaking of heads, I don't think I've ever been to a camping festival that so perfectly represented the great hip-hop coming out right now. Hip-hop is a genre leading the pack in commercially supported artistic experimentation, and with so many people consuming these artists' creations, it's only right that music festivals start giving rappers more shine. From Kendrick Lamar's uplifting jazz-hop to Future's double-cup mumble trap, from Mac Miller's wasted philosopher musings to Big Grams psychedelic funk trip, there were so many flavors of hip-hop to enjoy. It's a beautiful moment to be a head, and it was great to celebrate it together in such a beautiful setting.
5. Bernie Supporters
You couldn't go three sets without hearing or seeing some sort of reminder that Bernie Sanders is the candidate of Okeechobee. Win Butler talked about it. Mumford and Sons went on a rant about Trump, as did Mac Miller. Throughout the crowds were totems of Bernie's face or Bernie-related memes. This Bassnectar fan repped her candidate on this T-shirt. If you like to listen to dope music, sleep in a dingy tent for three nights, and survive off granola and Budweiser, Bernie is quite apparently the presidential hopeful for you.
4. Total Weirdos
What are these people doing? Who the fuck cares?
3. Festie Princesses
Hey Robert Plant, California isn't the only place to find girls with flowers in their hair anymore. Festival season has officially commenced, which means white girls all over the country are collecting every flower, beaded bra, Native American-inspired headdress, and pair of high-wasted shorts on the planet. If you need any of these things for your garden or museum or whatever, you better work fast or get left in the dust.
2. Boss-Level Rickshaw Drivers
We have no idea how these people managed to not die. These men and women are superheroes. They carried our dazzled, inebriated asses from festival to campground to medical tent to shower station over and over again, working for as low as $10 a person and tips. I met a dude who came form Austin, Texas, just to ship our asses around, and he seemed to be having a good enough time. Some rickshaw drivers hooked up lights and massive sound systems to their rigs. They brought the fucking party, and they brought us to the fucking party, and for that reason, we thank you.
1. Full-Fledged Adults
Someone told me at the media tent that they met a guy who attended the original Woodstock. Everyone that age claims to have been there, of course, but it brings the point home that this was not an 18-to-24 extravaganza. I met a lot of folks older than or at least pushing 40. There were a lot of children running around too, which can be strange when you just shotgunned a beer and dosed yourself silly, but it's actually kind of cool. I saw a few hippie families with naked children at the beach or walking through the grounds. I saw some babies so small, they were carried in breast slings. As long as they've got earplugs, fuck yeah, dude. Expose that kid to the best music of the moment, and if you're still young enough to survive this kind of environment, why not? Okeechobee welcomes all, and it hopes to see you next year too.
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