Sunfest blazed through downtown West Palm Beach along Flagler avenue this past week, and it was worth every minute. One of America’s longest running music festivals, and one of the most underrated and underexposed, Sunfest kicked off last Wednesday to a large crowd of fans and festival regulars, waiting to get the party started.
The festival typically runs from a wed through Sunday, with the weekday show times starting after 5pm, which is great if you can’t ditch work. Saturday and Sunday are full days, so be prepared to commit to a long day of fun and music. Like any other festival, it has its pros and cons. For me living in Broward County, it’s a long drive (over 50 miles each way) and if you get lucky, you can score free parking, otherwise its $20 a day.
Outside of the minimal investment you have to make in tickets, which are quite reasonable considering the daily lineup, it is definitely a festival worth experiencing at least once. As far as the music goes, well, the lineup of artists and headliners was pretty damn good. Deja Elyze and her band Yardij kicked off Sunfest with a great performance on the Ford Main Stage after gates opened. Wilco also put on a solid performance on the 2nd stage.
Part time Miami resident Lenny Kravitz closed out Wednesday night with a great set to a near capacity crowd along the Palm Beach waterways, and he had the women cheering and screaming and the men in the crowd enjoyed his set as well. It’s Lenny, and the ladies love Lenny! The only flaw in the setup at Sunfest, is the 3 stages are quite far apart.
The main Ford Stage, was convenient as was the second stage (known as the Tire Kingdom stage) and the 3rd stage (FPL stage) was a little bit of a hike to get to. If there were 2 artists playing close in time to one another and one was on the main stage and one was on the 3rd stage, you would have to pick one. As for the amenities, restrooms were everywhere, food, drink, shaded areas were also plentiful. Plus, the 3 floating barges/bars are always a nice change of pace. Captain Morgan was flowing constantly, and people were quite happy. AT&T had charging stations conveniently place throughout the festival for any patron who needed a quick charge to their phone.
Thursday had another eclectic lineup planned with artists like Knox Hamilton, Copeland, and dual headliners Sammy Hagar and the Circle as well as Paramore on the main stage.
Friday showcased Zeale, The Hip Abduction, Lindsey Stirling, 311, and closing out the night was Kaskade. Saturday was a long day, but I was able to catch John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, as well as fan favorite Soja on the main stage. Eddie Money put on a “shakin” set followed by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, as well as others. Headliners STP w/ Chester Bennington and Hozier closed out sat with 2 amazing sets from what I gathered.
Unfortunately, since it is a 5 day festival, it makes a hard thing to commit to everyday. I was able to go to 2 of the 5 days, and from what I experienced, there is a reason it’s been going on for over 30 years. Sunday saw performances by The Pixies, The Spazmatics, SomeKindaWonderful, with headliners and festival closers on all 3 stages Awolnation, BOSTON and Fall Out Boy on the main stage.
As Sunfest does every year, a fireworks show signals the end of another great week of music, fun, family, and just another reason why we love South Florida. See ya next year Sunfest. Always support live music!