Imagine being surrounded by music lovers and being only a few feet away from one’s favorite singers. The Tortuga Music Festival is a three-day concert directly on Fort Lauderdale Beach, filled with various country artists spread out between three different stages. It occurs every year on the second weekend in April, when the weather is beautiful for the beach. Anyone who likes country music would love to attend this remarkable event. Tortuga is the only country music festival in Florida that is located on a beach. This festival is great because it brings in a lot of money for the city of Fort Lauderdale throughout the weekend. The fifth year of Tortuga was April 7th-9th, 2017. Tortuga is hosted by the Rock The Ocean Foundation, which educates people about the issues impacting our oceans. Not only does a portion of ticket sales go toward conservation organizations, but volunteers educate attendants about ways they can make a difference themselves!
Tortuga has a conservation village that features many booths, each covers a different issue. Find one that is interesting and check it out! There is shark conservation, overfishing, pollution, and coral reef degradation sections of the village. Each booth gives ways one can add to the efforts already being taken. The photo above illustrates turtle conservation efforts. One table had participants guess how much rope, cigarette butts, balloons, and plastic caps end up in the ocean. They do this to make people more conscious of the terrible effects leaving garbage on the beach has on marine-life. Another booth was an organization called Neighbors Ensuring Turtle Survival. People who visited this table took a survey that showed all the activities they do to help turtles. One of the questions were asked whether attendants use the correct lights for hatching turtles so they would not confuse house lights to the ocean. After taking the survey, the volunteers at the booth explained other ways to help sea turtles survive.
The map of the festival grounds is a helpful tool for attendants. The main stage is called the Tortuga Stage, which is where most of the major acts perform. The second biggest stage is called the Sunset Stage and is on the other end. The third stage is called the Pirate Ship and it is mostly Dj's that play here. The legend on the map shows where anything visitors could need is located. There is a large variety of delicious food vendors that people can choose from at the festival. Most people that attend Tortuga buy general admission tickets, but there are also VIP tickets. The VIP tickets have special perks that allow people to get into restricted areas with private food vendors and a pool. The reef section by the Tortuga stage was new this year and to get into this section people had to pay extra each day. This was a nice addition because it made it easier to get closer to your favorite performers.
Meet & Greets
Attendants get the chance to go to fun meet and greets where they get to meet an artist they like. Each day there is one artist that has a meet and greet set up. Everyone lines up outside a tent, their excitement stirring, until the meet and greet begins. Once it starts people go into the tent to meet the artist and take a quick picture. This is a unique opportunity since at most concerts, artists have a very brief meet and greet. Some might even cost money. Tortuga allows anyone who is willing to wait in line to have a meet and greet with the artists. This year the meet and greets were Brett Young and Luke Combs!
Two of this years' headliners were Luke Bryan and Kenny Chesney. The headliners perform on the Tortuga Stage as the last act of the night. The main stage is the most crowded, especially for the last performer of the night. The way to get a good spot is to sprint to the stage when the gates open. The running is exhilarating and tiring, but the volunteers cheer runners on as they go. Bringing a sheet is helpful when claiming a spot near the stage. It gets very hard to keep a spot in front of the main stage as the day goes on. Even though people try to push and shove their way up, holding the spot is completely worth the hassle. For people who do not have a fear of crowds being close to the stage is an exciting experience they do not to miss out on. However, there is a designated chair area at Tortuga for people who either do not like being in the middle of a crowd or just would rather sit in a chair.