Florida Groves 2024: Day One

Florida Groves Festival quickly established itself as a staple event in the Central Florida music scene since its inaugural event just a couple short years ago. Its rapid growth was evident in the execution and size of its 2024 event: the caliber of vendors, live art and murals, food options, and even amenities are aligned with more senior multi-day festivals.

The most notable change year over year, however, is the breadth of the lineup.

Expanding well beyond the usual parameters of similar festivals, Florida Groves delivered a diversity of musical styles of origins. Its international representation truly sets this event apart, with artists ranging from iconic pop with several international acts.

Hailing from Italy, Mellow Mood’s style leverages those of traditional reggae in their unique way, making them a band to watch out for. While mentioned as a band to keep an eye on in Top Shelf Music’s pre-festival coverage for the 2024 installment, this sentiment must be echoed after seeing their performance — one that kept the crowd moving from beginning to end. Fronted by identical twin brothers who are perfectly complemented, with a stellar band and outstanding stage presence, Mellow Mood acquired many new listeners over the course of their hour-long performance.

In stark contrast with the reggae rock foundation Florida Groves has built in their first years were the Saturday artists 53 Thieves, Manic Focus, and Two Feet. Attractive to a whole different cohort of music fans, the diversification of the lineup elevated the festival to new levels. On their first-ever tour, 53 Thieves helped start the day early on with their lo-fi jams. DJ and producer Manic Focus kept the Pavilion Stage crowd dancing with his creatively constructed tracks, covering a myriad of genres coupled with a live band consisting of guitar and drums.

One cannot help to sing along with the likes of Weezer and The Beatles being mixed in before the drop.

A staple in in the US reggae scene hit the main stage early in the evening. Tribal Seeds with a refreshed roster of talented musicians, including frontman Steven Jacobo, who recently returned after a hiatus from performing.

Melding reggae with other genres, like rock, hip hop, funk and more, Tropidelic brought the heat to the main stage next with a signature high-energy performance. They guarantee getting a crowd moving, clearly able to deliver on this promise even while roasting in the Florida sun. As sunset approached, an unexpected plot twist developed: for those unfamiliar with their live show, their drum line is a unique surprise, making many wish they saw their potential in marching band during their high school days.

Closing out the Pavilion Stage was the atmospheric electro rock project out of NYC — musician, songwriter, and producer Two Feet.

Two Feet’s moody electronic alternative sound was a changeup with many of the other acts preceding and following him at Florida Groves. Permeating beats with sharp guitar, riffs, and emotive vocals that seemingly exhibited some internal -– and perhaps -– external demons, Two Feet’s style and persona was exceptional.

Michael Franti and Spearhead followed as Saturday came to a close. With his infectious positivity, Michael Franti is perfectly situated to elevate the vibes of anywhere, anytime, anchoring Day One on a high note. The whole day truly showcased a breadth of music, as diverse as the various experiences around the grounds of Florida Groves Festival, beyond just the stages. And everyone had one more day of an equally variable lineup to go!

Photography by Dale Gebelein; recap by Jessica Shvarts

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