Top Three Moments at the Tortuga Music Festival

Photo: Anthony Cave

All it took was a short walk in the sand between stages along Fort Lauderdale beach to hear country music come full circle. From Sheryl Crow’s country-inspired pop tunes, Dierks Bentley’s “Grab A Beer” mentality and Luke Bryan’s catchy, sing-along worthy tracks, the last day of Tortuga Music Festival appealed to just about every generation.

Here are our top three takeaways from Sunday’s festivities:

3. Bentley and alcohol
Dierks Bentley, a 10-time Grammy-nominated country artist, likes to sing about alcohol. The lead single off his new album, “Riser,” is called “Bourbon in Kentucky” after all. But, it was the newer single “Drunk on a Plane,” which has a Toby Keith “Red Solo Cup” like vibe, which really had the Tortuga crowd going. Fans packed the smaller Sunrise Stage for Bentley’s set and mouthed the words to his lyrics, even raising their drinks in a toast at one point. It was not all alcohol at Bentley’s set though, as he sang a lighter, emotional “I Hold On,” guitar and all.

2. Crow’s still got it
Sheryl Crow brushed off some post-rain wind during her set up on the main stage Sunday afternoon. An hour prior, rain poured through Tortuga. But, the nine-time Grammy award-winner showed no signs of letting up as a recovering crowd dried beach towels and the like. Crow went straight into timeless hit songs like “All I Wanna Do” and “If It Makes You Happy.” She then shifted to a couple tracks off her new album, “Feels Like Home,” like “Shotgun,” which Crow, perhaps referencing Florida’s gun culture, was quick to point out had “nothing to do with guns.” The 52-year-old weaved around the stage, sang with a cowboy hat, cap, harmonica and guitar. And, despite the still overcast weather, vowed to “bring the sunshine back” with one of her last tunes, the ever-popular “Soak Up the Sun.”

1.  Party, party with Bryan
Who else would open their set singing on the hood of a Chevy 4×4 pickup truck? That would be newfound country superstar Luke Bryan. Despite the fact that Ford sponsored the festival (ahem), Bryan’s opening paved the way for a night of partying. From “Crash My Party” to “Drunk On You,” Bryan did just about everything onstage. He drank a beer, sang “Drink A Beer” and even did a cover of Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us.” The Georgia native referenced South Florida’s country girls often, and was quite the people pleaser. Bryan sang in the middle of the elongated stage for most of his set, rather than with the rest of his band near the back, which gave some fans an upgraded view. One fan even threw a pink bra onstage. By the time “That’s My Kind of Night” rolled around, everyone had the lyrics down pat, some still slower than others from an afternoon of drinking.