2024 Schedule

The 2024 Okoboji Blue Water Festival is scheduled for Aug. 10, 2024.

8:00 a.m. Chalkstock (Get Chalkstock info here.)
8:30 a.m. Yoga w/ The Shift Healing Arts on the green space at Preservation Plaza
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Exhibtors Row
9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Kids & Family Activities: Inflatable, Face Painting,T-shirt painting, water tables & more
10:00 a.m. Fishing Seminar w/Dan Spengler
10:00 a.m. Story Time w/Milford Library
1:00 p.m. Keynote Address: Chris Jones-Clean water academic & Art Cullen-Pulitzer Prize winner

Free concert on stage
7:15 p.m. The Nadas
8:45 p.m. X Ambassadors

Thank you to our sponsors and the Park!


Kids & Family Activities

Milford Library Story Time
Water Tables with Pumps
T-Shirt & Face Painting
Chalkstock & Inflatables
Fun Giveaways & More

David Thoreson Images

Under the Big Tent

Fishing Seminar
Keynote Speaker

David Thoreson Images


Lake Protective Associations
Conservation Groups

Cullen, Jones to speak at 2024 festival

Festival co-chairs Greg Drees and Julie Peterson are pleased to announce a stellar duo of speakers who will address water quality issues at the Okoboji Blue Water Festival on August 10. From the Iowa Writers’ Collaborative comes Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Art Cullen and longtime clean water advocate Chris Jones. 

“We are privileged to have such a distinguished panel of speakers join us under the Big Tent at this year’s festival,” Peterson said. The two noted panelists will take the stage Saturday afternoon in the green space at Preservation Plaza. “This is huge for the festival,” Drees said. “Each speaker will bring a unique perspective to the clean water issues facing us today.”

Art Cullen, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 2017 for exposing dark money in corporate agriculture, is editor and co-owner of the Storm Lake Times. Chris Jones recently retired as a research engineer at the University of Iowa and is known for his water quality advocacy.  

“Each of these individuals is passionate about clean water and will speak directly about the good things we are doing as well as the challenges that we face,” Peterson said.

Julie Gammack, founder of the Iowa Writers’ Collaborative and host of the annual Writers’ and Songwriters’ Retreat in Okoboji, will moderate the event.  

Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Art Cullen
Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Art Cullen
Longtime clean water advocate Chris Jones
Longtime clean water advocate Chris Jones

X Ambassadors to headline 2024 festival concert

x_ambassadors copy

Okoboji Blue Water Festival co-chairs Greg Drees and Julie Peterson announced that X Ambassadors will headline the evening concert on Preservation Plaza at the Arnolds Park Amusement Park at 9 p.m. “We are very excited to bring this multi-platinum trio to the festival,” Peterson said. “Our reputation for bringing in top tier acts is reinforced with X Ambassadors. We expect a large crowd to rock on into the night.” 

The bandmates have dominated the alternative charts for the last decade. Brothers Sam Nelson Harris (vocals, guitar, bass and saxophone) and Casey Harris (keyboards) and drummer Adam Levin formed in 2009 and soared up the charts with their debut album, “VHS” in 2015. Blockbuster singles “Renegades” and “Unsteady” racked up a dizzying 1.3 billion streams on Spotify and led to a three-year worldwide tour. 

Subsequent albums “Orion” (2019, “Belong” (2020), “The Beautiful Liar” (2021) and Eg (2023) further solidified the band’s following. A new single by the group, “Deep End,” was written for the movie “Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom,” continuing X Ambassadors’ success in penning original tracts for major films. 

X Ambassadors is set to release its newest album, “Townie,” in early April, a compelling portrait of the band’s hometown in New York, and personal reflections of the community that shaped them.

“We encourage music lovers of all ages to attend this concert,” Drees said. “X Ambassadors reaches across the spectrum of genres and puts on a great live show. Festival goers who have attended our concerts over the last eight years will attest to the quality of the experience.”  

Festival concert to open with The Nadas

Okoboji Blue Water Festival co-chairs Greg Dres and Julie Peterson have announced that The Nadas will take the stage to perform ahead of headliner X Ambassadors on August 10. "This completes the concert card, and we are excited to have The Nadas kick off the show," Peterson said. "They have a strong fan base and a loyal regional following."

Known primarily as a folk-American act. The Nadas live show is authentic and polished with three decades of experience. Band founders Mike Butterworth and Jason Walsmith were the original songwriters, touring as an acoustic duo. With the addition of bassist Brian Duffey, drummer Brandon Stone and Perry Ross on keyboards and guitar, the band evolved into a genre-defying quintet emphasizing sound and mood, and drawing on life's experiences.

Co-chair Greg Drees said The Nadas have shared the stage with The Beach Boys, Bon Jovi, Big Head Todd, and others.

"Festival goers from 2022 will remember The Nadas setting the stage for Melissa Etheridge, and that was a revved-up performance," Drees said. "This is a tight band, and concert lovers are going to want to arrive early to catch their entire act."