Signs warn: “Expect delays: Music Festival March 2-5.”
As you approach the city limits of the City of Okeechobee, signs warn: “Expect delays: Music Festival March 2-5.”
March 2-5 is the annual Okeechobee Music Festival. Thousands of festival fans will start pouring into Okeechobee County this week The festival opens on Thursday, but many will show up on Wednesday and spend the night in their vehicles.
Since the first Okeechobee Music Festival in 2016, local residents have learned how to prepare for the busy weekend. Businesses stock up on camping supplies, food and beverages popular with the college students.
While festival goers range from babes in arms (with hearing protection to safeguard delicate eardrums) to senior citizens who haven’t stopped rocking since Woodstock, much of the crowd will be college students on Spring Break.
If local residents want to join in the fun and attend the festival, they can take advantage of discount tickets. On Wednesday, March 1, from 4 to 9 p.m., at the Okeechobee Agri-Civic Center, Okeechobee County residents can purchase general admission tickets to the four day festival for just $100. The ticket includes a day parking pass. The discount is for Okeechobee County residents only. Florida ID is required -- no exceptions. Tickets must be purchased in person. Wristbands will be placed on the attendees wrists at the time of purchase. If you have already purchased an Okeechobee Resident ticket, bring your email confirmation and Florida ID.
• If you don’t like crowds, do your shopping before Wednesday or after Friday. Starting Wednesday afternoon, stores will start getting busy with festival fans purchasing camping supplies and food. Most of the fans drive to the festival – many from out of state. To save on gas, they carpool. They don’t have room to bring supplies with them from home. They stop in Okeechobee to purchase what they need before they go to the festival grounds. For the 20-mile trip from the City of Okeechobee to the festival grounds in northeastern Okeechobee County, the vehicles will be crammed full with people and supplies. Some will tie things on the car’s roof. Okeechobee Music Festival is a camping festival. Once they enter the campgrounds, they stay for the whole weekend.
• To avoid lines at the gas station, plan to get fuel early. The festival can bring in the number of people equivalent to the year round population of Okeechobee County. All those extra vehicles will need fuel. If your vehicle is low on gas, you might want to fill up before Wednesday afternoon. Campers must leave the festival grounds by noon on Monday so there may also be lines at the gas stations on Monday, March 6.
• If you are easily shocked by people in unusual attire, be advised the festival fans are known for their crazy costumes. They are college kids ready to have fun in sunny Florida. Many of them come from places where it is cold and snowing. They are eager to enjoy the sunshine and work on tans to show off when they return to the frozen north.
While some follow a favorite band, many come for the festival experience. And when they leave they tell others about our beautiful county.
For festival lineup and more information, go online to