When Rock the Ocean’s Tortuga Music Festival began five years ago on the sand in Fort Lauderdale beach, its organizers dreamed of creating an annual event that marries music and environmental awareness. Their dreams became a reality. Five years later the two-day festival with 20 bands has grown to three days with over 35 acts on two stages including Kenny Chesney, Nelly, Chris Stapleton, Alan Jackson, Dustin Lynch and Darius Rucker. This year’s ultimate beach bash runs from Friday to Sunday and features some of country’s (and some of non-country’s) hottest acts. Brett Eldredge, known for songs including “Drunk on Your Love,” and his latest, “Somethin' I'm Good At,” takes the stage at 5:30 p.m. Friday. We talk to the up-and-coming country crooner about his own passion for conservation, touring with Luke Bryan, and that time he found a snake in his toilet. Just read on if you don’t know about it.
Q: You started your year off in an interesting way. Can you tell me about the snake in the toilet video you posted on Twitter and other social media sites?
A: It was 6:30 [a.m.] and I proceeded to the toilet. I stood there in disbelief when I saw it. I was in shock for about a minute and then grabbed my phone. I screamed and woke everyone up. I never completely freaked out. I just hoped it wouldn’t come out at me. My friend was brave and courageous. It was so crazy, the next thing I knew it was on TMZ, it was on everything, it was all over. I knew people would be interested. It was something I couldn't not share. You never know what you are going to roll up on. That’s life.
Q: Tortuga Music Festival gets a lot of repeat performers. I see you were here in 2013 and 2014. What brings you back? And why do you think it’s so popular?
A: I love South Florida. I love the beach. I love to sing on the beach. There is nothing cooler than looking out at a crowd and the ocean is right there. There’s nothing like this festival. To be right by the ocean, livin’ it up and livin’ it up with people there who love music and love life.
Q: Do you like the idea that this festival is tied to conservation? What you think about the festival ending on the early side because of turtle protection rules?
A: Actually conservation is very much a passion of mine. To help with ocean conservation and celebrate music is even better. It’s amazing that this festival does more than entertain. It helps in a big way. It’s a really well thought out festival. It’s important that you can have fun and help out and when you bring those together it’s a win, win.
Q: I know you're about to go out on Luke Bryan's summer Huntin’, Fishin’, & Lovin’ tour. What do you think about his duck hunting announcement? And are you excited?
A: Very. I am still on [Luke Bryan’s] Kill the Lights tour and it’s been a blast. It’s crazy to think we’re almost there. We are just so excited. It’s such a fun tour. It’s all about having fun and playing music. I am over the moon about it and excited to rock it out.
Q: Are you currently working on a new album? Can fans expect to hear some new music at Tortuga?
A: There will be several unheard songs. It’s fun to give fans a taste of what’s to come. I am working on a new album and I am getting closer to having it done. I am very anxious to have this done and we are almost there. This album musically, is much deeper than anything I have done. It’s high energy and explains my personality. There’s a little bit of everything on this album. It touches a lot of things I haven’t got to do in my career.
Q: What's an ideal weekend for you when you are not getting ready to perform?
A: One of my favorite places is South Florida. I also love the Bahamas. For me the best weekend is going out on the water, going fishing. It inspires me to write more.
Q: I love your Twitter videos of you singing to/with your dog Edgar. What made you start doing those and what has the reaction been?
A: I just like to jam out, sit in my bed and sing. My dog is right next me. He just lays there and he falls asleep. I started capturing it. Fans really liked it. For the love and music and puppies.
Q: Any final thoughts?
A: I think if there is any show that captures the vibe of my lifestyle it’s Tortuga. That’s when I am in my element. I am counting the days. That show is me 100 percent.
If you go:
What: Tortuga Music Festival
When: 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. April 7-9
Where: Fort Lauderdale Beach, 1100 Seabreeze Blvd.
Cost: $229 for regular three-day general admission and $999 for three-day VIP. There are single day tickets available for $99 for regular admission and $399 for VIP.
For more information: Visit www.tortugamusicfestival.com.