Fans, businesses have a lot to look forward to as Okeechobee Music Festival rolls into town

Posted at 10:28 PM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-27 22:30:22-05

Jeff Watford and his 'Sweer Peas' grocery store in Okeechobee County watched last year's Music and Arts festival from the sidelines. His store opened one month after the event left town. 

“We’d seen a lot of young folks going by and going real slow, and I wish I had been open at the time, but we weren’t,” he says.

This year however, he's getting into the game.

“We’re expecting a lot of sales and a lot of people,” he says.

More than 30,000 people are expected to descend on the small rural county later this week - a county with a population of just over 39,000.

Jeff's business one of the closest to the festival site.

“I think it creates a lot of opportunities for small businesses like myself,” he says.

From one first timer to another - 2017 marks Kevin Collinsworth's first year as CEO of Soundslinger, the company that puts on the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival.

He's making a bold claim to fans heading this way.

“I think they should expect last year on steroids,” he says.

He says they've expanded the site this year and opened up more areas for more fan access, with an emphasis on art throughout the festival grounds.

“We have a lot more as far as physical, visual art on site, more artists involved, much more performances and pop up performances,” Collinsworth says.

Bigger and better for fans and for local businesses - if not a bit intimidating for Jeff.

“We’re not going to be able to handle all the people,” he says with a laugh.

It may turn out that for him, it's not a bad problem to have.

For more info on the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival, click here