A record 90,000 sunscreen-lathered fans packed Fort Lauderdale Beach Park this past weekend for three days — and three stages — of entertainment at the Tortuga Music Festival 2016.
Dierks Bentley, Blake Shelton and Tim McGraw were this year’s headliners, leading a lineup that also included Thomas Rhett, Joe Nichols, Elle King, Kelsea Ballerini, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Cam, Old Dominion, A Thousand Horses, Sam Hunt and many more.
Opening his set with a rollicking cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” Randy Houser turned out to be the opening act for Mother Nature. He had just wrapped when strong winds, lightning and rain caused a mass evacuation during the festival’s opening night. The almost two-hour delay meant Old Dominion’s set had to be nixed — but the ACM New Vocal Group of the Year quickly organized a pop-up show at a venue across the street. Bentley took the stage when the weather passed, picking the rain and beer-soaked crowd back up right where they left off.
Now in its fourth year, Tortuga serves a lot more than country fans. It also raises awareness of the dire need for ocean conservation and marine research. More than two dozen environmental organizations were set up in the festival’s Conservation Village in the center of the park.