Orange Blossom Revue 2023 Recap

Orange Blossom Revue 2023: A Beautiful Weekend In Central Florida

by Dec 9, 2023Featured, Music, Reviews

words and photos by Loata Tuikaba
Facebook:  Loata’s Photography
Instagram: loata_tuikaba_photography

Orange Blossom Revue took place December 1 – 2, 2023 in Lake Wailes Park, Florida.  Presented by the Blossom Charitable Foundation, Inc, the festival featured a weekend of Americana, Roots, Bluegrass, and Rock bands, food vendors, craft beers, local vendors and an amazing sense of community. 

Orange Blossom Review 2023:  A Gathering of Beautiful Souls, Musicians and Community

Sites of RV’s, tents, and cars lined the park as you walked to the entrance of the Orange Blossom Revue (OBR) music festival. Several golf carts with young teenagers representing the Orange OBR shirts are making their way around to pick up the OBR fest-goers. Joyous smiles from the staff welcome you in, and the sparkles in the eyes of the cashier set a vibrant tone to the grounds. 

A warm soft voice got my attention. Harper O’Neil is on stage singing. Her orange jumpsuit and white fancy sunglasses along with her smooth whiskey voice are captivating.  Her sound is playful and soulful. You hear it in her song “No Longer Mine”, which has a combination of short burst trumpets and guitar. 

The stage is seen from the entrance. Food vendors are on the right, and beverages are on the left. The vendor Crooked Cow caught my eye. Their sign said, “Alcohol-infused Ice cream featuring gourmet popcorn and mini donuts”. I thought to myself that must be where the lady got her delicious mint chocolate ice cream, and many overlookers were at her stand. A long line of people were waiting for their opportunity to taste the swig of sweet nectar. Many have said it tastes crisp and sweet. How sweet is it you ask? There are 2.3 teaspoons of Pure Blossom Honey in every can. The beverage in question is the Orange Blossom Pilsner, and you can purchase it from ABC Liquor.

In the back, off to the right, next to Crooked Cow is Cocoa Cake Studio. She has everything you could need to cure the munchies. Brownies, Cake Pops, Cookie, Whoopie pie, and  Banana pudding.  All are reasonably priced at $4-5.

The empty hangers from the merchandise tent are well received by the attendees. The festival-goers seemed to really love the design. The proceeds from this event help underwrite grants for art, education, and recreation programming, making the purchase of merchandise a win-win situation. 

Orange Blossom Revue 2023 - Bracelet
Orange Blossom Revue 2023 - Merchandise Tent

The Local Vibe Presented Through Food Trucks and Vendors

This event crowd was very diverse. It included young and old families, couples, long-time friends, and many single people. There was plenty of emergency staff throughout the event to react quickly and they were happy to lend a hand when necessary.

If you are like me and prefer to just eat once you are hungry;  you can’t go wrong with Pizza from Home Slice Pizza. It’s huge! The serving was enough for two hungry adults and it’s priced right at only $10.  Some of the food trucks had a little wait time, but they are putting down fresh food so it’s better for you. The food trucks with the longer waits were Thai Topsy, Hibachi, and Build Your Own Mac and Cheese Bowl. These food trucks were on the south side of the stage lined up on the edge of the lake. 

The middle had several picnic tables and hammocks which were perfect for relaxing. Porta-potty and handwash stations could be found across the way. There were no lines and enough wash stations so you could take your time and thoroughly get cleaned.

Orange Blossom Revue 2023 - Festival Vibes

Bluegrass and Beyond – A Blend of Music For All Attendees

Molly Tuttle & The Golden Highway filled the grove with their instrument and blend of voices and harmonization. Their bluegrass sounds and string picking took me back to the Gold Rush days. “Crooked Tree” stood out the most for me because it comes from her Alopecia condition. When she then took off her wig it made me get in touch with my emotions.

Beautiful Oak trees with moss swaying from them create the perfect frame for The Wood Brothers to end the night. Their songs are meditative and healing. Their song, “River Takes the Town” is on point with current world situations, “…and the rains keep coming, nothing is certain till the levee breaks down and the rivers take the town.” Their story telling is raw and impeccable. 

Orange BLossom Revue 2023 - Molly Tuttle Band
Orange Blossom Revue 2023 - Oak Trees
Orange Blossom Revue 2023 - Wood Brothers

Ready for Another Day of Music and Dancing Along Lake Wales

The next day started earlier, twelve sharp. Lawn chairs were set up in rows awaiting the musicians. To the left, there were clothing vendors. The Rowdy Cowboy sold all things cowboy-related. Hats, t-shirts, hoodies, and accessories. Luna Sea Enchantments had hippie tie-dye, peachy, beach swimwear, festival parasols and handbags. 

First up was Cat Ridgeway And The Tourists.  The artist has her own coffee line. Her song “Aspen” should be an Anthem.  She has a way of using a few words to review, appreciate, and know that it’s okay to be hurt in life and to expect it and look forward to it. Better Help subscription will plummet once this song is out and understood. Here it is, “….Somewhere in Aspen where I happily skinned my knees.”  She invited the audience to join her on the Bridge “ … I said hey, oh now, now, now, don’t you wait, I’m coming ‘round. …. I’m gaining, I’m gaining ground.” 

The perfect way to propel forward visually. 

The band takes 30-45 minutes to set up, giving festival-goers plenty of time to replenish with some water from the huge refill tank. The VIP area had beautiful table decors, white tents, and roomy seating areas where beverages could be ordered. The VIP area also had a dedicated bathroom area.

Up next, with a Taylor Swift vibe and a dash of soul,  Kaitlin Butts made a joke about how we especially love hurtful songs. It made me laugh because it’s true. How else do we know we’ve healed?  “Blood, You’re the jury in judge” completely sums that up. Her range of life experience, her writing, and her voice range is exquisite. The song “How Lucky Am I” envelopes her talents. 

I love the Cowboy boots, hats and the whole get-up being represented with Mike & The Moonpies. I enjoyed their songs, “You Look Good In Neon” and “Rainy Day”. One is catchy and upbeat; while the other is telling a story of his life as he hops down memory lane. 

Orange BLossom Revue 2023 - Setup
Orange Blossom Revue 2023 - Stage

Brent Cobb singing “Southern Star” is upbeat, and by this time the crowd is squeezing in. The general area is filled and blankets are picked up. People are swaying and tapping their feet. The sun is down and that gorgeous blue hour light is here. This 37-year-old Georgian is a songwriter and has written for Luke Bryan, Kellie Pickler, Miranda Lambert and many others. 

It is completely dark with string lights and vendors lighting up the place. The final band is  JJ Grey & Mofro. The raspy voice and electric performance energize the audience.  Everyone was jumping up for his first song. People are still moving up to the stage, and the end of the night is phenomenal.

JJ Grey has a way of making his guitar say what we feel.

That’s what is great about going to a festival where you only know one band. You get to see other bands, and they become part of your Spotify family. You now have a reason to stalk them for their ticket for when they are in town. 

Orange Blossom Revue 2023 - Dancing Couple
Orange Blossom Revue 2023 - JJ Grey

And We Couldn’t Do That Without…

This honky tonk, Americana, soulful event couldn’t have happened without our sponsors.

Thank you Visit Central, Corby Myers, Duke Energy, Specialists in Liquid Handling Products, Bunting Tripp Ingley: Certified Public Accountants, Lightning Loader Petersen Industries, Huston Cadillac, Buick, GMC, Jake Ashley Cockrell, Parlier Crews Architects, Nucor Florida, Edward Jones, Tire Barn, Citizen Bank & Trust, EBD Insurance, George & Erica O’Neill, South State, Peterson & Myers, P.A. Preserva Therapy Med Spa.

Thank you to our Beverage Partners, Orange Blossom Brewing Co. STV, Delicato Family Wines, Grove Equipment Service Inc. City of Lake Wales Crown Jewel of the Ridge and Tropic Oil Company.

At last, our media partners are Holler. 88.5, Action Signs +Advertising, Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales Arts Council, and Eno.

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