The longest and most ambitious day of music began on day three of the Okeechobee music festival. The day started with a cool morning and a blanket of high clouds, but by mid morning the sun began to burst through and large crowds headed straight to Aquachobee beach. The warm temperatures encouraged many to brave the waters of the pond and by noon, the water was full of bathers. Alternative country rockers from Virginia, the Jamie Mclean band, were playing on the nearby stage. Mclean offered up an interesting improvisation to one of his lyrics, singing “I want to move to Okeechobee and start a marijuana farm”.
Music on the main stage began early as well, with experimental Indie bands like Givers and Twin Limb leading the way. Early music fans were greeted to light crowds at all the stages and food booths, except the coffee stand, which proved to be the most popular beverage at the festival. But for those who like their alcohol all manner of drinks were available from designer Tequila and Vodka drinks, to special rum concoctions and, of course beer and wine. The young Boston rapper Michael Christmas kicked off the Hip Hop jams for the day, playing to a crowd of appreciative early arrivals. Indie jam rock made an early showing with festival regulars Dr. Dog and Deer Tick. Meanwhile two American blues classic performers went largely unnoticed in the afternoon sun. Walter “Wolfman” Washington and The Roadmasters brought a brilliant display of New Orleans style blues music to a small but appreciative crowd. He was followed by a true legend, Booker T. Jones, who defined the Hammond B three sound of the sixties. He also played a mean guitar, playing a Hendrix cover of Hey Joe, featuring his son on a blistering lead guitar. It was one of those amazing festival moments that just seems to go unnoticed by many, but seem so special to the lucky few who are living in the moment.
Lotus brought the first crowd of the day into the main stages area, with the young EDM audience partial to their jam band electronica sound. They also played a second late night set, with a much smaller audience during Kendrick Lamar. Their last minute set replacing the only no show at the festival so far, Kill The Noise. The young rapper Mac Miller brought an even a bigger crowd to the main stage and had the Hip Hop fans in a euphoric state.
Meanwhile, a beautiful sunset draped the Aquachobee beach in gorgeous pastel colors. The EDM duo Manic Focus had a frenzied crowd dancing up a dust storm on the small stage by the beach. At the same time the Preservation Hall Jazz Band led an impromptu New Orleans style parade across the beach through the area followed by a throng of colorfully festooned followers.
As night fell a huge crowd gathered around the main stage for an early evening set by charismatic soul singer Miguel. With an awesome backing band he wowed the crowd with one of the best sets of the day. On the other side of the field, Big Gigantic had the EDM crowd in their own state of euphoria. The EDM duo laid down their own unique drum and sax playing over EDM electronica with a ferocious presentation and spectacular light show. The highlight came when blues master Roosevelt Collier, who led the jam the first night of the festival, joined the duo onstage for a blazing trio of Blues meets Jazz meets EDM mash up.
Just like Booker T., The Preservation Hall Jazz band played to a small crowd at first sandwiched between, Big Gigantic and Miguel. But the crowd swelled as passers by heard their infectious New Orleans rhythms. The band gave out dozens of colorful umbrellas to many in the crowd to create a dazzling visual dance display in the audience.
The huge crowd at the main stage mostly stayed in place after Miguel waiting for perhaps the most anticipated set of the festival. Rapper Kendrick Lamar, fresh from his five Grammy wins, brought his intense rap style to an enraptured audience. His relentless rapping ability, together with his awesome live band, make him one of the most interesting live Hip Hop artists ever. The feisty rapper toyed with the audience when he first came out, faking a start to the show several times, before launching into his first explosive rap. Later he brought out Mac Miller for a duo, to the delight of the crowd.