Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman offers his insights, opinions, and observations about the local scene. This week: Looking back at Tortuga Music Festival.
Congratulations are in order. The organizers and producers of the inaugural Tortuga Music Festival provided a fine introduction to what might, in the years to come, evolve into one of South Florida's leading music festivals. The combination couldn't be better --- sun, fun, sand, and sounds. So I thought a look back with a fresh, day-after perspective was in order. Here's what worked and what could use use some improvement at the 2013 Tortuga Music Festival.
An impressive line-up
Not bad for an initial foray. After all, it's not easy to sell a two-day event that's never been done before. Getting Kenny Chesney, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Grace Potter, the Avett Brothers, and the Wailers all to one venue is one mean feat. Congrats on wrangling some big names to your first shindig.
An A for organization
Everything was laid out remarkably well. Everything was marked clearly, and the traffic flow within the festival confines appeared to be seamless. There were plenty of portable toilets, lots of tasty varieties of food -- everything from stir fry to paninis to chili -- and beverages (and by beverages, we mean beer). There was more than adequate security. And the specific areas for viewing the proceedings made sense. Many festivals continue to struggle with logistics. Tortuga nailed it right away.
Everything ran according to schedule
Getting stuff done on time at a fest is a hugely impressive hurdle unto itself.
Plenty of crowd control
No stampedes, no pushing and shoving. It was all very polite. Maybe next year, there will be a bigger swarm of people, but this time around, it felt just right. After all, you could actually see the stage. You can't always claim that advantage at a gathering like Bonnaroo.
Shade and seating
Now that's a big plus, especially when the temperature climbs into the 90s (or at least that's how it felt). Having a place to sit after traipsing back and forth to the stages at opposite ends of the site was a real blessing, especially if you didn't want to opt for your own sand coach. And having shade was a big plus as well, especially when you don't have to fight your fellow festivalgoers to escape the sun.
Did we mention beer?
Kudos to the folks at LandShark for the free samples. Kudos for making it so available. Kudos period. And more kudos as well. Yay, beer!