Okeechobee Music Fest returning in 2017

Posted at 5:52 PM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-13 07:02:32-04

It’s official.  Organizers with Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival say they are permitted and ready to go for 2017.

An official announcement and concrete dates are still a few months away.

At a special meeting Thursday in Okeechobee County, county leaders and residents got their first chance to discuss what worked and what didn’t the first time around.

In March, the inaugural festival brought in more than 30,000 peopleto Okeechobee County for 4 days of music and arts.

The question is was it a success?

It depends on who you ask.

“[If] it brings in noise to the neighborhood and you don't get no sleep, then I say nay,” one resident told the commission.

Another resident had a different view.

“I don't know how you have a music fest without having music.”

Organizers and many residents say the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival was a success.

“I’ve always had to travel if I wanted to attend a major entertainment event,” one resident said. “And here it was, happening in our hometown.”

Officials say it pumped millions into the area economy.

However, some residents who live near the festival site say they saw a different picture - one filled with traffic and trespassers.

“We observed a woman drop her pants and dedicate in a neighbor's driveway.”

For others, noise was a big issue.

“The windows in our house shook from Thursday night until early Monday morning…without stop,” another resident said.

Regardless of which side they were on, residents were anxious to share their thoughts about this year's Okeechobee Fest: 

“If the noise was that bad, then the wind must’ve been blowing it away from me, because it didn’t bother me at all.”

“People were very pleasant, kind and compassionate.”

“The people that put it on, I thought, and my family thought they did a great job.”

Paul Peck, co-founder of the festival, says they're listening.

He says they will focus on addressing the concerns, and making the festival a better fit for everyone.

“The more in touch with the community we can be, I think the better equipped we're going be to produce an event that's going really synch well with Okeechobee,” Peck says.