OKEECHOBEE – It’s official. Insomniac plans for Okeechobee Music Festival to return to Sunshine Grove in northeastern Okeechobee County in 2022.
On May 7, the official Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival social media accounts released a video hinting at its return next year.
On May 10, Insomniac’s Founder and CEO Pasquale Rotella posted an update to Instagram which confirmed Okeechobee will indeed be returning in 2022.
The festival was founded in 2016 by Soundslinger, on the 800-acre property previously known as the Sundance Trails. The property owner had originally planned an equestrian development on the site, and had built a large lodge and paved miles of roads. Due to the Real Estate market decline, no homes were built.
Among the many highlights from the 2016 weekend were spontaneous sit-ins and collaborations, including the PoWoW! featuring Miguel, Arcade Fire’s Win Butler, John Oates, Skrillex, Mumford & Sons, Mac Miller, the legendary Meters rhythm section, the Preservation Hall Jazz horns and more, as well as Tom Morello and The Avett Brothers coming on stage to close the powerful Mumford & Sons set and the festival itself to play “House of the Rising Sun,” The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me,” and AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.”
The first year, ticket sales were limited to 30,000 and the event was sold out.
The festival was also a hit with Okeechobee nonprofit organizations who had the opportunity to run beverage booths at the event, raising thousands of dollars.
In 2017, the festival expanded to four days and OMF expanded ticket sales to 36,000 tickets, Again tickets were sold out. The 2017 festival featured performances from Kings of Leon, Usher & The Roots, Bassnectar, The Lumineers, Flume, Wiz Khalifa, Pretty Lights, Solange, Rae Sremmurd, Young The Giant, Porter Robinson (Live), Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals and more.
The 2018 OMF headliners were Festival headliners Arcade Fire, Bassnectar, Halsey and Travis Scott. The festival included “The Big Quiet” a massive group meditation event that attracted thousands of festival fans. The 2018 OMF reportedly had some difficulty with ticket sales. One theory was the shift in timing of some colleges’ spring breaks was not in alignment with the 2018 festial.
Following the 2018 event, the Okeechobee County Commissioners approved plans for a 2019 OMF – even approving a requested shift in dates in order to hold it during the desired spring break time frame -- but the 2019 OMF was not to be. Rumors began in the summer of 2018 that the festival was in trouble. By October 2018, when no lineup had been announced, it became clear there would be no OMF in 2019.
In June 2019, festival promoter Insomniac announced they had acquired a controlling stake in Soundslinger. Insomniac presented the 2020 Okeechobee Music Festival, March 5-8, 2020. Mumford & Sons, Vampire Weekend and BASSNECTAR headlined.
Due to the pandemic, no festival was planned for 2021.