We have two big items to tell you about in our post, today. Steep In is stoked to announce that we have a new photographer on our team, Madelyn Blair. I’d like to take a minute to introduce Madelyn Blair before we give you her take on Okeechobee Festival, which was a blast.
Madelyn and I actually met through our mutual love for concert photography on Instagram. We are both Raleigh based photographers so we happened upon following each others profiles. After admiring her work on my everyday scroll for a while, I noticed we had covered some of the same local events. One of which was, you guessed it Shakori Hills, where we met for the first time in person, taking photos at the main stage. After getting to know her at a few shoots and becoming more familiar with her work,I felt like it was in Steep In’s best interest to try and get her to join the family. I am doubly excited that the beautiful images she captured at Okeechobee, are the vehicle for her introduction to our audience.
Madelyn was born in California but moved to the triangle at an early age. She got her degree at App State all the while developing her taste for the live music scene. While she has been a music lover since high school, shehas gotten more serious about her photography over the past four years. I find that rather impressive for the quality of work she is putting out. Madelyn’s favorite genre is indie rock, so I’m looking forward to the flavor that her work will bring to the Blog. As a publication we aim to connect y’all to as much music and art as we can, so a fresh take on the local scene is rather welcome.
And now back to your regularly scheduled programming, We have another wonderful Florida Music festival to fill you in on, Okeechobee. The fest is only in its second year but is already killing it with an attendance of roughly 30,000. Even with all these people the festival the still has a laid back and spacious vibe. There’s plenty of room to stretch out and enjoy yourself, especially at the healing arts center yogachobee. The only places where you could have felt a little crowded was at the Electronic sets. Which those who venture that way usually anticipate.
This Music and Arts festival is truly an arts festival as much as it is a music festival. We were blown away by the amount of art that was on display. You could wander around for hours taking in all the sights.
One of our favorite areas was the Lost in Tea Lounge. An Alice and wonderland themed forest put on by Lost in Time Productions. This is a magical little section of the park where you’re likely to find anything around the next corner: performance art, visual art, drum circles, tea.
Along with the 8 other stages, they have aquachobee the local swimming hole. It comes complete with a beach and plenty of space to bask in the sun while listening to the music coming from yet another stage.
Okeechobee has a water stage so why wouldn’t they also have a fire stage? The Incendia stage is a piece of functional art that looks like it came straight out of Mad Max Fury Road. I was transfixed the first time I saw fire emanating from the center of the ceiling on this structure as well as spreading out across its surface. There is no single image that is more visually complicated and beautiful than flames dancing and pulsating to music, and I’ve heard that this stage was actually designed and built by a local team here in Raleigh.
The music though! I don’t want our enthusiasm for the visual art and the grounds to take away from the value this festival brings solely from a musical stand point. The lineup was incredible and covered so many genres. Indie rock, funky jazz, white boy joke rap, world electronic, Snoop Dogg with The Roots!!! Other artists included Arcade Fire, Bassnectar, STS9, Foster the People, Thievery Corporation, Lettuce, Lil Dicky and the Flaming Lips. The triangle was even well represented too! We thought Sylvan Esso put on one of the best performances, not sure how unbiased we can be when it comes to them though. Okeechobee Fest packed every genre they could into every corner of the park.
Madelyn told me her favorite performance of the weekend was The Districts. They are indeed an indie rock band which was right up her alley. They brought the energy that she loves, and you could tell from their fun display they didn’t take themselves too seriously. They spent their segues joking around and making the crowd feel like they were a part of the performance.
Overall, we loved the festival for the chill vibes, the focus on visual arts and the stellar music. WE hope to see y’all there next year.
Erick Coomes of Lettuce