It’s finally come to an end. The 2020 Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival wrapped up on Sunday with a full slate of live performances that, despite the gloomiest weather of the weekend, ended the festival on a high note.
The day got off to an excellent and early start with a set by Lucy Dacus and her band on the Be stage at 2:40 p.m. Dacus’ performance proved to be one of the weekend’s most affecting–from the goosebump-inspiring opening solo cut “Fool’s Gold” to closing with a powerful rendition of “Night Shift.” The set was one of the weekend’s best, but also one of its least-attended– only a few dozen people turned out to the festival’s biggest stage for the mid-afternoon set, which was a disservice to both the band any any fans of indie rock on the grounds who didn’t make it.
Later on in the evening, Glass Animals made a triumphant return to Florida after the cancellation of a planned show at the Fillmore Miami Beach in 2018 due to an accident that incapacitated drummer Joe Seaward. Now ten years into its career, Glass Animals is gearing up to release a new record and seems ready to step into the limelight for good.
The band was in full stride for its early-evening main-stage set, and singer Dave Bayley’s performance was electric. Though the set was wanting for a bit more material from the group’s excellent debut album, the performance was easily one of the weekend’s most rousing, and felt like a better fit to close the main stage than the following set from Mumford & Sons.
Continuing the tradition from the last few days of Okeechobee coverage, here are some stray observations from other sets that I was able to attend.
- Flatbush Zombies– This Brooklyn hip-hop collective provided what was almost certainly the most hardcore set of the weekend, with a surprising legion of devoted fans to be found throughout the crowd at their late-afternoon main-stage set. The trio is now ten years into its career, and shows no signs of changing– but why fix something that isn’t broken?
- Mumford & Sons– With respect to the legions of fans who were clinging to their front-row spots throughout the day, I’m going to recuse myself from sharing my opinions of the British folk outfit’s set. While the band’s inclusion on the lineup was a nice nod to the festival’s inaugural year back in 2016, it struck me as woefully out of place on this lineup, especially as the event’s closing headliner.
And now, with sore feet and a sunburned face, I conclude our daily coverage of the 2020 Okeechobee Music Festival. It was a wild ride, as expected, and the festival is now bigger and better than it’s ever been in past years, with most of its logistical kinks ironed out and clearly no struggles to sell tickets.
Credit should be given where it’s due to Insomniac for revitalizing a festival that seemed to be on life support after taking 2019 off completely. It seems now that the only question left to answer is whether the organizers will lean into even more electronic territory with the festival’s next installment, or keep the tradition of indie and rock bookings alive.
Hopefully we’ll have our answer to that question soon enough, and we’ll be back again next March.