Tortuga Music Festival

Published on March 3rd, 2014


Tortuga Music Festival

Sunshine on your face. Toes in the sand. Ocean breeze in your hair. Live music in your ears. Rock The Ocean’s Tortuga Music Festival is back! This two-day shindig  features artists in country, rock, and roots and returns to Fort Lauderdale Beach Park for the second year in a row on April 12 and 13.

Tortuga Music FestivalCreated together with the Rock the Ocean Foundation, the festival serves to celebrate the festival’s ocean side setting while raising awareness of issues impacting the world’s oceans and supporting marine research and conservation.

Producing an event on the beach isn’t as logistically simple as say inviting a bunch of bands to play a parking lot or at an established music venue. But that’s OK with A.J. Niland, co-founder and CEO of HUKA Entertainment, who produces and promotes the annual event. He describes Fort Lauderdale Beach  as “a majestic place to experience a live-music event.” There is certainly a feeling of freedom and fun listening to music on the sand. “Our goal, “he states, “has been to not only create a world-class music festival, but to give meaning to it, so fans and artists alike can enjoy the event on several levels.”

Country pop boss Luke Bryan and country hottie Eric Church headline the bill loaded with more than twenty acts to catch.  Can’t you hear Bryan croon, “Girl, I don’t care I just got to see what you’re wearing” in his rendition of “Crash My Party.” Or how about Church’s reflective “When we grew up, we rode in trucks” to get your twang on. This incredible weekend lineup also includes rock, folk, reggae and funk beach fusion pioneers Slightly Stoopid, reggae legend Ziggy Marley, folk singer-songwriter Brett Dennen, inventive roots rockers Delta Rae, Nashville rockers Moon Taxi, genre-jumping septet The Revivalists, folk/funk band White Denim, classic rock legends 38 Special, the legendary Hank Williams, Jr., San Francisco act TrainDierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert,  Sheryl CrowBilly Currington, powerhouse vocalist Brett Eldredge, ParmaleeCole SwindellEric PaslayFrankie Ballard, Paste’s Best of What’s Next sibling duo Brothers Osborne,  Chase RiceBlackjack Billy, modern folk rockers Sons of Fathers and blues-infused rock band Quaker City Nighthawks.

Tortuga Music Festival

Festival tickets are currently on sale, with two-day general admission festival ticket prices starting at just $165. Complete festival details, including pricing for GA, VIP and Super VIP tickets can all be found at

To boot, CMT will broadcast its “Hot 20 Countdown” show from the festival. Sounds like some photo bombing action is in order.

Anchored by live music performances across three stages, the centerpiece to the festival is its Conservation Village, curated by The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, where over 20 organizations dedicated to marine research and conservation will provide interactive, educational experiences for festival patrons. Stroll by and get informed. Last year, Tortuga raised nearly $70,000 to give back as a result of ticket sales and donations.

Tortuga Music Festival

This year’s Guy Harvey Conservation Village exhibits will be interactive and hands-on. People will be able to see shark tracks, try lionfish recipes, challenge big game fish in a simulator game, understand how DNA testing could be critical to the seafood they eat, and see what a sea turtle nest looks like all while enjoying the sunshine on the beach.

Organizations and exhibits confirmed for participation in this year’s village include Guy Harvey Research Institute, Florida Fishing Academy, Loggerhead Marinelife Center, National Coral Reef Institute, REEF exhibit, Green Gourmets, Tampa Bay Watch, Aquatic Ecosystem Solutions, Sharklet Technologies, Sawfish exhibit, and Sea Turtle Oversight Protection (STOP).

“One thing we heard repeatedly last year from both the artists and the fans was how much fun everyone had with their feet in the sand and the sound of the waves blending with the music,” says Niland. “That makes it hard to forget who the true headliner of our event is – the ocean – and what we can do to make sure it returns every year.”

Tortuga Music Festival

Parking at the beach can sometimes be a little tricky so to save yourself any potential headaches, simply park at the Galleria Mall on Sunrise Boulevard and take the festival provided shuttle. Shuttle tickets cost $30 a person, and ride operates 10am to 11:30pm both days. Smart festival-goers, don’t forget your sunscreen and towels.

The Tortuga Music Festival is held 11am to 9pm Saturday, April 12 and Sunday, April 13 at Fort Lauderdale Beach. Tickets with two-day general admission start at $165. Visit for more information.

~ Andrea Richard