Music festival will ‘put Okeechobee on the map’; lineup to be similar to Bonnaroo or Coachella

OKEECHOBEE — The first weekend in March will bring a music festival that organizers say will “put Okeechobee on the map, worldwide.”

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The Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival is set for March 4-6, 2016 on the 848-acre property formerly known as Sundance Trails on the north side of Northeast 120th Street. To avoid any copyright issues with another famous “Sundance” entertainment event, the property will officially be renamed “Sunshine Grove.”

The festival will be known as “Okeechobee.”

“Okeechobee is a great name,” said property owner Clifford Rosen, noting that many large music festivals are known by the name of the location. For example, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is commonly referred to as “Coachella.”

More than 80 artists, bands and DJs will perform on five stages during the three day festival. Highlights will include dust-til-dawn electronic music stage parties and once-in-a-lifetime artist collaborations produced by the creative force behind the world famous Bonnaroo SuperJam.

“We have signed major headline artists and an amazing supporting lineup that will rival other major festivals in the United States and worldwide,” said Steve Sybesma.

While the names of the headliners won’t be released until mid-October, Mr. Sybesma said the festival will include a mix of classic rock, indie, alternative, electronic and folk.

“Our lineup will be similar to a lineup they might have at Bonnaroo or Coachella,” he explained.

The festival will be on the site of a failed subdivision and an adjoining parcel also owned by Mr. Rosen, totaling 848 acres. The area already has paved roads, but due to the drop in the Real Estate market, no houses were built. A 14,000 sq. ft. lodge and a few outbuildings are the only structures on the property.

Advance tickets will go on sale when the lineup is announced in October.

Day parking will also be available for those who do not wish to camp.

The festival will include multiple points of entry and use shuttle buses to control traffic.

The gates will open at noon on Thursday, March 3 for campers who wish to arrive early. The festival begins at noon on Friday, March 4 and continues through midnight on Sunday, March 6. Patrons must depart before noon on Monday, March 7.

Mr. Rosen and Mr. Sybesma said Okeechobee County officials have been great to work with and the community has been very welcoming. He said they are working with law enforcement, fire and EMT officials as well as county and state agencies to make the festival a safe and fun environment.

He complimented county staff for their professional expertise and their help in planning the operations of this event.

The festival will offer some paid employment and volunteer opportunities for Okeechobee residents. Space will also be provided for displays to promote the Okeechobee community and give visitors information about the area.

The festival site has been designed to incorporate the natural beauty of the area. Performances will take places on three main stages and two smaller stages.

A yoga and holistic area called “Yogachobee” will offer classes in yoga as well as ecological, sustainable community projects. The Yogachobee area will feature an organic juice bar, a Ferris wheel, and a “chilling” area with herbal teas.

The festival will encourage recycling.

“Our mission is to be a sustainable festival,” said Mr. Rosen.

Festival food options will include local and regional food as well as the usual fun festival foods. Okeechobee restaurants that want to participate in the event will have the opportunity to show off their local specialties.

An art area will offer interactive activities and art classes.

A lakeside sand beach will provide a wading and swimming area, with a beach bar and beach stage.

A jungle stage will feature electronic dance music in a natural wooded environment.

Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival is presented by Soundslinger, LLC, a team of all-star concert promoters and producers with credits spanning Manchester, Tenn.’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival and San Francisco, Calif.’s Outside Lands to Shanghai, China’s STORM Electronic Music Festival and countless other shows around the globe.

For more information or to inquire about employment and volunteer opportunities, email

For festival updates, see future editions of the Okeechobee News and stories posted on


Soundslinger LLC was established for the primary purpose of producing the Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival at Sunshine Grove in Okeechobee County, Fla. Company principals include Steve Sybesma (CEO), Clifford Rosen (Co-CEO), Paul Peck (COO) and Jim Tobin (Project Manager). Steve Sybesma, a 42-year concert industry veteran, is the Former co-owner of Sunshine Promotions, co-owner/founder of Deer Creek Music Center, Polaris Amphitheater, the Murat Theater, The Louisville Palace, and TourDesign, CEO of China West Entertainment, and co-owner/creator of A2LiVE and Storm Electronic Music Festival, Shanghai. Clifford Rosen is a successful real estate developer and was the primary developer of the Sunshine Grove property. Paul Peck helped launch the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester TN, was the creative force behind the Bonnaroo “Superjams” and has been a key member of its booking and programming team for the past 13 years. Jim Tobin, a leading festival planner and operations expert who has helped to produce more than 68 major festivals worldwide, will oversee and manage site planning and operations.

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