Lisa Sussman – Eye on South Florida
Fort Lauderdale Beach, FL
Rock The Ocean – Tortuga Fest 2016
Fort Lauderdale, FL — An estimated 90,000 fans of country music passed through the gates and onto the sand at this past weekends country music event, Tortuga Fest 2016. This fun in the sun fest plays host to country music’s brightest and best. This 3 day music festival takes place on the sand to bring awareness to conservation efforts. Organizations such as rock the ocean foundation helps fund conservation organizations both locally and globally. Also raising awareness Florida Fishing Academy, REEF, Bimini Sharklab, CARTHE, IGFA, Guy Harvey Research Institute, and many more were all on hand answering questions and getting the good word out about helping to save our planet and those that live in the ocean. This was the backdrop to some of the best 72 hours of live country music! Tortuga is in its 4th year and the good vibes keep coming.
The 3 stages were a constant rotation of acts ranging from legends to today’s newest talents. The line up was deep and impressive with the sunset stage lit up with talent like Ryan Hurd, Kristian Bush, Drew Baldridge, Kelsea Ballerini, LANco, and Elle King. These acts were seen by massive crowds who knew and sang out every word.
Each night of this 3 day fest was met by a strong closing act. Friday night was dominated by the freakish mini hurricane that blew in as Old Dominion was due on to main stage. The fest was shut down and all were evacuated. Everyone took cover wherever they could find shelter and the gates reopened 3 hours later to grateful and anxious fans. Dierks Bentley took the stage to a standing room only beach party around 9:45pm. Saturday night saw Sam Hunt on the Sunrise Stage where he put on a strong set. It was legend Tim McGraw that owned the night on the Tortuga Main Stage. McGraw played out the rest of the night with fan favorites from his 20 year+ catalog of music. The 40,000+ crowd filled with fans of every age were ready to party in the sand. The sponsors of the event Tito’s, Malibu, Maestro Dobel Tequila, and Corona made sure there were enough bartenders and ice on hand for this beach thirsty crowd. McGraw played 2 hours and did an encore of Indian Outlaw that was pure Tim McGraw and the crowd loved it.
Sunday was a gorgeous, clear, sunny South Florida day. The crowds started early for this final day of Tortuga. The day was filled with game sponsored events from FORD, Maui Jim & Malibu House. Life size Jenga boards, sand bag toss, and fireball games were loved by all visitors. The day started out with Walker County, Chase Bryant, Native Run, Thomas Rhett and started to heat up even as the sun was going down with Billy Currington on the Sunset Stage. Currington’s hit list reads like a great night out on the town. Crowd favorites like “People are Crazy” “Must be doin’ Somethin’ right” and “Hey Girl” left everyone wanting more! The crowd merged into one to watch closing night country super star Blake Shelton take the stage to close Tortuga Fest 2016. Shelton busted onto the country scene in 2001 with his hit smash “Austin”. He quickly rose in popularity and has continued to produce #1 hits. His coaching on the hit show “The Voice” was referenced during his stage performance as he told everyone in the crowd that we “sounded awful” and “did we need a coach?” He went on to keep the crowd buzzing with smash hits like “God Gave Me You”, “Boys Round Here” & “Ol Red”. Blake Shelton is currently out on tour with his show “Taste of Country”.
To purchase gear or to find out more information regarding conservation please visit www.tortugafestival.com