10. Avett Brothers. Though they still retain the down-home, good-old-boy persona that distinguished them early on, the Avett Brothers have advanced headfirst into the major leagues thanks to a major label deal with Republic Records and an expanded lineup featuring five players. It’s earned them some serious bragging rights, including selling out Madison Square Garden in a matter of minutes, plus a handful of Grammy nods. Still, none of that notoriety would matter were it not for the fact that the Avetts put on one of the most effusive concerts imaginable, an all-encompassing whirlwind of frenetic choreography and spontaneous, free-for-all musical bliss. — Lee Zimmerman
9. Big Grams. Together with Andre 3000 as Outkast, Big Boi helped make Southern rap the genre’s reigning style, doing so by constantly questioning what hip-hop is supposed to sound like. Big Boi continues that discussion with new collaborators, the sensual and otherworldly sonic force that is Phantogram. The indie-darling duo captured hearts of music lovers with an electronic blend of shoegaze, trip-hop, and pop-ready hooks. The wave-making self-titled debut melds Big Boi’s slick delivery with Sarah Bethel’s ethereal vocals. Rich textures and strange sounds dance to create catching melodies around machine-drum beats and cocky rap swagger. — Kat Bein
8. Hall & Oates. John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. Daryl Hall and John Oates. The category is singer/songwriter duo legends, and while the Beatles are impossible to see and the ’70s folk heroes are forever famously fighting, Hall & Oates are still very much sharing a bed of musical bliss. Thank goodness, because the band wrote more than half of the greatest soft-rock hits ever recorded, including “Rich Girl,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” “Kiss on My List,” “Private Eyes,” “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do),” and “Maneater.” That list merely scratches the surface of the chart-topping success Hall & Oates enjoyed throughout their career peak. — Kat Bein
7. Kendrick Lamar. There was but one album that topped critical lists in 2015, celebrating black-American culture while striking a chord with all backgrounds and pushing the envelope of an entire genre. That album was To Pimp a Butterfly, and the voice and being behind that work is Compton’s Kendrick Lamar. If you caught the Grammys or recapped the clip on YouTube, you were no doubt left slack-jawed and fired-up by the MC’s breathtaking performance. It was jazz, it was performance art, it was slam poetry, it was visually stunning. It was everything an artist is supposed to be. If he could do that in six minutes, imagine what he will do with an hour and 15 minutes on the BE Stage. — Kat Bein
6. Miguel. Grammy-winning R&B star Miguel will lead Okeechobee Fest’s inaugural PoWow multi-artist jam sesh, sure to become the signature capstone to Florida’s newest premier music fest. On his own, the Mexican/African-American crooner delivers sensual, slow-burning odes to love, drugs, and the female form, hitting crazy notes with a swag that would make Prince proud. Along with Win Butler of indie stalwart Arcade Fire and other PoWow collaborators, Miguel will undoubtedly bring out a once-in-a-lifetime creative exchange and one of the most memorable moments of the festival. — Falyn Freyman
5. Future. Born and raised in Atlanta, Future was undoubtedly one of the most prolific and critically acclaimed rappers of 2015, releasing two very hyped mixtapes (including one with Drake) in addition to his fourth studio album, EVOL. Known for his prevalent and innovative use of Auto-Tune and insightful, self-reflective lyrics, Future boasts a range of styles that has massive pop appeal. Trust, you’re gonna want to f**k with some commas. — Falyn Freyman
4. Fetty Wap. Relive your most epic and cherished summer turnups while embracing your inner trap queen. Enough said. — Falyn Freyman
3. Portugal. The Man. Alaska group Portugal. The Man is the type that rises to the mythic proportions of its name, incorporating an array of searing guitars and crazed, colorful lyrical arrangements to make the band’s signature, classics-driven indie-pop sound. Considering their midnight time slot at Okeechobee, it’s safe to assume they will pour some glorious, late-night weirdness over the crowd like a fuzzed-out, hallucinogenic fog. With nine albums in eight years, frontman John Gourley and company have stayed busy; likewise, Portugal. The Man is a nonstop force in concert, sure to drive away any drowsiness for those robust enough to stay up past their bedtimes. — Angel Melendez
2. Robert Plant. Rumor has it Robert Plant turned down a billion dollars for a Led Zeppelin reunion tour, so those holding their breath to see a geriatric version of history’s most virile rock ’n’ roll band should exhale. Fear not, though, for Plant still sings Led Zeppelin tunes with his backing band, the Sensational Shape Shifters, and word is the 67-year-old’s iconic voice holds up in renditions of “Dazed and Confused,” “Whole Lotta Love,” and “Black Dog.” This will be Plant’s first Florida performance in five years, and if nothing else, let this year’s passing of David Bowie and Motörhead’s Lemmy be a reminder to appreciate our rock icons when they do play in our neck of the lake. — David Rolland
1. Skrillex. From lead singer of
Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival
With Mumford & Sons, Kendrick Lamar, Skrillex, Bassnectar, and others. March 3 to 6 at Sunshine Grove, 12517 NE 91st Ave., Okeechobee. Three-day advance passes start at $269.50. Visit okeechobeefest.com.
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