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Sun, Sand & Sounds: The Magic of the Tortuga Music Festival

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From Electrifying Performances to Eco-Conscious Initiatives: Tortuga Music Festival 2024 Shines as a Beacon of Music, Conservation, and Community Engagement Along the Stunning Shores of Fort Lauderdale.

April 5th – 7th, 2024

A stretch of pristine beach transformed into a sea of tents and stages, echoing with the sounds of music, this is the scene that unfolds every year at the Tortuga Music Festival. Music lovers from near and far come together to bask in the beauty of Fort Lauderdale’s coastline and revel in the magic of live music.

The Tortuga Music Festival is an annual event known for its stellar lineup of country, rock and roots music with artists performing on the sunny beaches of Fort Lauderdale. However, what sets Tortuga apart is its strong emphasis on ocean conservation and environmental activism.

The three-day festival collaborates with various environmental organizations and initiatives to raise awareness about ocean conservation issues. Through partnerships with organizations like Rock the Ocean, Tortuga integrates eco-friendly practices into its operations and educates attendees about marine conservation efforts.

Found between the two main stages, Conservation Village is where attendees can engage with interactive exhibits, learn about marine life, and discover ways to support ocean conservation efforts. Rock the Ocean focuses on five main issues throughout Conservation Village: sea turtles, sharks, marine habitats, coral reefs and new this year, marine mammals. Festival goers were able to be a part of the action by painting on a mural at the Guy Harvey tent or stopping for a photo opp at the Rock the Ocean Sea Turtles tent. Other tents such as the University of Miami, Dolphin Project and NSU research and conservation programs shared their research with those who stopped by. There were over 30 groups in attendance this year.

The 11th year of the festival began on Friday, April 5th, with Dee Jay Silver setting the weekend’s tone by mixing country music hits. Sadie Bass was the first artist to perform, showcasing her talent on the Next from Nashville stage, which provides emerging artists with a platform. Despite her initial stage fright, it was hard to believe that Sadie Bass had started her journey on NBC’s The Voice, given how confidently she owned the stage.

The day continued with performances by Tigirlily Gold, Teddy Swims, Huntergirl, Shwayze and Chase Matthew. Boyz II Men took the audience back in time at the Sunset Stage with songs like “Amazed” and “Water Runs Dry.”

Boyz II Men perform at Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

Ashley McBryde was a fan-favorite as she played twice on Friday. She warmed-up the crowd at the Jersey Mikes Sub Above Club mini stage where she spoke to fans and signed merchandise. She performed again later on the Sunset Stage. McBryde is continuing her tour later this April.

Ashley McBryde performs at Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

Entertainer of the Year, Lainey Wilson closed out Friday night. This was not her first appearance at Tortuga as she played just two years ago in 2022, returning now as a headliner. She had the crowd singing along to “Watermelon Moonshine,” “Things a Man Oughta Know,” and her newest single “Country’s Cool Again.” She certainly did not get any dirty looks in her fashionable outfit and stunning graphics.

Lainey Wilson performs at Tortuga Music Festiva. Photo by Sheila Renee

Saturday started off strong with performances by Annie Bosko, Kassi Ashton and Black Opry. Whether you were jumping around inside or walking by, the Next from Nashville tent was always packed and rocking. Austin Snell, who is touring with headliner Jason Aldean, released a new single called “Wildfire” off his upcoming album just the day before his performance. Long Beach Dub Allstars changed it up a bit with their west coast California reggae roots. Their newest album was released last year in June. They ended their set with a cover of “Doin Time” by Sublime paired with an electrifying saxophone solo.

Cooper Alan had the audience moving and grooving his whole set. For a song called “Can’t Dance,” Alan moved smoothly across the whole stage to his song. Russel Dickerson knew how to get the crowd going by opening his set with some of his more upbeat and popular tracks. “It’s About Time” and “Hooked” had everyone hooked from the start. As the camera panned to a little girl holding up a sign about his song “Big Wheels,” Dickerson decided to change his setlist and perform the song from his 2022 album.

Old Dominion made sure they were not written in the sand with their dynamic performance. Playing songs that everyone knew the words too, one would look around and see friends and family recording themselves singing along together. Along with several tracks from their popular albums Happy Endings and Meat and Candy, the band threw in some songs from their most recent album and even a cover of Kenny Chesney’s “Save it for a Rainy Day.”

Fans eagerly gathered at the Corona Main Stage to ensure the best vantage point for Hardy, the headliner and final performer of Saturday night. Looking out into the crowd from the stage, it was clear why Hardy chose to kick off his set with “Sold Out.” The entire audience seemed to merge into a mass of people, all singing along enthusiastically and swaying to the rhythm throughout his performance. Whether they were passionately strumming air guitars during “Rockstar” or connecting deeply with the lyrics of “Boots,” fans were fully engrossed in Hardy’s show. Amidst dazzling pyrotechnics and dynamic video backgrounds, Hardy paused to share anecdotes about his songs and the personal memories attached to them. He expressed gratitude for headlining with the song that launched his career, “One Beer,” and for the opportunity to contribute to his peers’ success by penning songs for them. Additionally, he delighted the audience with covers of “Sand in My Boots” and “More Than My Hometown.”

Hardy performs at Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

Spectators gathered on the coastline one last time on Sunday for the final day of the festival. As the Main Stage area started filling up, Brian Kelley began to perform. He showcased a few tracks from his forthcoming album Tennessee Truth, which is coming out on May 10th, but he also paid a nice tribute to Jimmy Buffet by doing a cover of “Margaritaville.” The cover was a perfect fit for the picturesque beach setting.

Jon Langston had everyone’s hands in the air performing a version of his most popular song, “All Eyes On Us,” letting his band have a bit of the spotlight. TLC changed up the country vibes for a bit with their hit songs and backup dancers. TLC performed some of their original songs like “Red Light Classic” and even sang “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas. The Red Clay Strays played a fair amount of songs from their debut album titled Moment of Truth. However, the crowd seemed to be most excited for “Wondering Why,” but also pleasantly surprised by their cover of “Hey Jude” by the Beatles.

Bailey Zimmerman and Koe Wetzel were rounding out the night before the main headliner. Zimmerman ran around the stage like it was his playground, and the audience loved it. His energy brought the crowd to a different level as he sang hits such as “Rock and a Hard Place,” “Where It Ends” and “Warzone.” Zimmerman had the crowd chanting his name for more by the end of his performance. He came back out for a surprise performance later with Jason Aldean to sing “Lights Come On.”

As the sun was setting on the weekend, one could feel the anticipation building for the final artist of the festival, Jason Aldean. Aldean played some of his more popular songs to start off the show and had the packed audience screaming along to every word. He performed hits like “Try That In a Small Town,” “Big Green Tractor” and “You Make It Easy.” He also sang songs off his most recent album, Highway Desperado. Aldean was featured on a song that was released April 5th and is preparing for his upcoming concert tour starting in May.

Jason Aldean performs at Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Alive Coverage

Through its unique combination of music and environmental activism, Tortuga Music Festival serves as a powerful platform for ocean conservation and a thrilling experience for music enthusiasts. As festivalgoers leave with unforgettable memories of music, they also carry with them the knowledge to help preserve our oceans. With each passing year, Tortuga continues to demonstrate that through music, education and collective action, we can make waves of change in the fight to protect our oceans for generations to come and enjoy some country music too.

  • Jason Aldean. Photo by Alive Coverage

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Boyz II Men perform at Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Boyz II Men perform at Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Brian Kelley. Photo by Alive Coverage

  • Bailey Zimmerman. Photo by Alive Coverage

  • Anne Wilson. Photo by Alive Coverage

  • Hardy performs at Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Hardy performs at Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Hardy performs at Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Hardy performs at Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Hardy performs at Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Hardy performs at Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Ashley McBryde performs at Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Ashley McBryde performs at Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Ashley McBryde performs at Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Peytan Porter. Photo by Alive Coverage

  • Jason Aldean. Photo by Alive Coverage

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

  • Tortuga Music Festival. Photo by Sheila Renee

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