Okeechobee Music Festival returned to Okeechobee, FL this past weekend for four days of live music from ODESZA, Baby Keem, GRiZ, Excision, Earth, Wind & Fire, GooseBig BoiFree NationalsBreak ScienceChannel TresSunSquabi, and scores of other acts. On Saturday, an all-star crew of musicians from across the 2023 lineup came together for the annual Okeechobee PoWoW! featuring a special appearance by Anderson .Paak.

Related: Fantasy On The Front Range: Anderson .Paak & Lettuce Play Red Rocks Back-To-Back, Collaborate in Denver [Review/Photos]

The funk-and soul-focused 2023 Okeechobee PoWow!, led for the second straight year by music director Morris Pleasure (Earth, Wind & Fire) and executive producer Carlos Saavedra, boasted a 19-name roster of billed performers and surprise guests including Free Nationals (featuring José Ríos, Ron “T.Nava” Avant, Kelsey Gonzales, and Callum Connor) alongside trumpeter/rapper Maurice Brown, Rick Mitarotonda and Peter Anspach of Goose, Adam Deitch (Lettuce) and Borahm Lee of Break Science, the Earth, Wind & Fire horns (Gary Bias, Reggie Young, and Bobby Burns), singer India Shawn, drummer Thomas Pridgen, and bassist Brad Miller. The collaborative set also featured a billed appearance by Big Boi, who stormed the stage with Sleepy Brown mid-set to perform a rendition of one of his OutKast favorites, “The Way You Move”.

Other highlights of the set included a number of Free Nationals originals (like “Beauty & Essex” and “Eternal Light”), a Drake hit (“Hotline Bling”), EWF Gratitude classic “Can’t Hide Love”, Average White Band cut “Pick Up The Pieces”, and a joyous cover of Stevie Wonder‘s “Superstition”.

Related: Goose Welcomes Big Boi, Sleepy Brown For OutKast Classic In Austin [Photos/Video]

As the PowWow! wound down, Anderson .Paak took the stage in a pink track suit and a long, Rick James-like wig (which he quickly threw into the crowd) to help close the show with a medley of his various hits (including a snippet of Silk Sonic‘s “Leave The Door Open”) followed by a closing one-two punch of “Come Down” and “Suede”.

While many fans had suspected that .Paak might make an appearance at the PoWoW!, photographer Yvonne Gougelet, who covered the set and its rehearsals, tells Live For Live Music that it was genuinely a last-minute move. “Initially, .Paak wasn’t planning on coming,” she explained, “but before the Free Nationals played their first set Friday night, Anderson and Jose (guitarist) were on Facetime and Paak had fomo. So he flew in the next morning!! Was totally unexpected!!”


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Below, check out a gallery of photos from the 2023 Okeechobee PoWoW! and the preceding rehearsal sessions via Taylor Regulski, Kristina Bakrevski, Ian Meneses, Adi Adinayev, Jamal Eid, and Yvonne Gougelet courtesy of Insomniac Events.