Music Fest partners with local nonprofits

OKEECHOBEE — Organizers of the Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival (OMF) announce their Okeechobee community partnership initiatives in advance of the upcoming festival occurring from March 2-5, at Sunshine Grove. Specific initiatives build on the partnership with the local community fostered from OMF’s inaugural 2016 festival and include increasing local nonprofit partners to 8 total, all with presence on-site at the festival, partnering with local businesses to enhance the OMF 17 experience, and continuing to employ the community in festival-related jobs.

OMF 16’s community partnership initiatives included cash donations of $52,000 to 3 partner nonprofits and county support of $78,000. OMF 16 also created hundreds of local jobs and increased sales revenue to Okeechobee County and surrounding communities. OMF 16’s sold out festival brought an unprecedented increase in retail and hotel business, selling out every hotel room in a 2-hour radius for the duration of the festival. Total economic impact from OMF 16 was $16.4M with $1.5M in state and local taxes generated by the festival.

OMF 17 nonprofit partners include Treasure Coast Food Bank, Martha’s House, The Warrior Center, Home Builders Institute, Drug Court Advocate, an initiative of the Okeechobee Substance Abuse Coalition, United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades and Okeechobee Counties, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 69 and For Okeechobee, Inc.

OMF 17 organizers in partnership with Treasure Coast Food Bank (TCFB) will be collecting leftover food from concessions and consumers in an effort to supply as many meals as possible to local soup kitchens post-festival.

Judy Cruz, CEO of TCFB, a returning nonprofit partner, commented on TCFB’s partnership with OMF, “For so many in Florida and our guests from around the country who will come together this spring, the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival is a tropical, cultural experience like no other,” said Judith Cruz, CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. “But the Festival also manages, with equal success, to spotlight the issue of food insecurity in Okeechobee County. We are thrilled to once again have the opportunity to partner with OMF 2017 and look forward to once again receiving their generous support as they help supply us with the resources and means to continue providing assistance to a community we so honorably serve.”

Executive Director of Martha’s House, Inc., Jonathan Bean, commented about their partnership with the March 2017 festival. “Martha’s House Domestic Violence Victims’ Services organization is excited about partnering with Okeechobee Music festival 2017. We all know all communities have problems, and that it takes co-operation and partnerships to solve them. As we’ve come to know the organizers of OMF we see their real desire to be genuinely involved in Okeechobee and the welfare of its people. Martha’s House is looking forward to a great partnership and strengthening of our community, and listening to some great music doing it.”

At the upcoming festival, OMF 17 community efforts include a nonprofit initiative called “Participation Row” to encourage and foster interactions and engagement between festival attendees and nonprofit partners.

“Nearly a dozen local nonprofits will be featured in the ‘Participation Row’ social action village at the festival, organized by the nonprofit organization and sponsored by Orlando-based solar power investment firm commented Headcount Executive Director Andy Bernstein.

Bernstein added, “Participation Row is a place where festival attendees can meet representatives from each nonprofit, take positive actions that support their missions, and enter a free drawing for a D’Angelico guitar signed by the Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival headliners. In addition, the nonprofits will receive proceeds from a VIP signed memorabilia auction.”

In addition to community nonprofit partnerships, OMF organizers are creating jobs for many in the local community that will support the festival needs in terms of transportation, box office, security, and attendants.

Adding to the local and regional community efforts, OMF is rolling out a restaurant program that promotes local restaurants, an on-site Farmers Market managed by a local co-op to organize and run the market so that participants can enjoy fresh local produce during the festival, and a School Arts Project in which local high school students will collaborate to create a unique art piece that will be showcased at the March festival.

Soundslinger, LLC CEO Kevin Collinsworth states, “After a very successful inaugural event last March, collaboration with the community is imperative for continued growth. Our future plans to include working with local nonprofits and local vendors underscore the importance of producing a positive impact with the community.”

In addition to continuously improving the festival operations, logistics & the overall attendee experience, an ongoing endeavor of the Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival is to do everything possible to respect and cherish the natural beauty of the festival site at Sunshine Grove, the surrounding area, and the Okeechobee community as a whole. Each year the festival will make progress towards the eventual goal of being a carbon neutral event while utilizing as many biodegradable, repurposed, recycled & sustainable materials as possible.

For complete lineup & ticketing information, please visit okeechobeefest.com.

ABOUT THE OKEECHOBEE MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL (OMF)
Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival boasts an extraordinary multi-genre bill, with more than 120 artists, bands, and DJs from around the globe performing across five signature stages. Announced 2017 Headliners include 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, Griz, Cold War Kids, Blood Orange, Mike Posner, Bleachers, Soja, The Revivalists, Snails, D.R.A.M., Mac Demarco, Waka Flocka Flame, Sleigh Bells, and many more with additional artist announcements coming in January.

ABOUT SOUNDSLINGER, LLC
Soundslinger, LLC develops music, art and lifestyle businesses on its dynamic 600-acre owned property at Sunshine Grove centrally located in Okeechobee, Fla. In March 2016, Soundslinger showcased its festival business with the Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival (OMF). OMF 2016 was a four-day camping, music and arts festival that showcased 130 artists on five stages. OMF is the first of many events to come from Soundslinger.

The Lake Okeechobee News is published every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and now includes news from around the lake every Wednesday.

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