SunFest Music and Arts Festival Review – Stellar Seaside Tunes
Photos Courtesy of SunFest
SunFest is a marvelous waterfront festival, a premier music and arts experience in the heart of South FL, attracting nearly 300,000 attendees over the course of its five day lifespan. Bustling crowds of people greeted us immediately upon entering SunFest. They were dressed in proper Florida attire, sandals and shorts, colorful floral button downs and polos, complete with ray bans over eyes, a variety of hats on the head, and a drink (or two) in hand.
Many big name brands such as Ford and Sony were present, showing off and demonstrating their wares. Three floating bars stand over the water, giving off silent magnetic appeal. Music permeates the air, multiple stages beckoning to the endless groups of people excitedly walking to and fro.
Weezer and Snoop put on prolific shows the first day. Weezer’s set was one of the best rock concerts our Editor has ever been to! On Sunday at the Ford Stage, we experienced some of the deep soulful sounds provided by Thomas Wynn and the Believers. The crowd here was smaller as people were still arriving, and so experienced a rare intimate environment. Widespread Panic came on afterward for an electric (but not synthetic) performance, delivering a unique and lengthy set as per usual. Nearly every song played turned into a jam session. Happy hippies and hipsters alike smiling at each other on tapestries in the grass and throwing wicked dance moves in the crowd. The VIP folk had tables and chairs alongside a breathtaking waterfront deck, enjoying the ocean on one side and the sonic delights coming from the Ford Stage on the other. Widespread Panic brings in the vibes.
We took a break from the music to explore, and decided to check out the barges.
The three interconnected bars each provided their own distinct drink selection, and their own DJ to mix things up. The Bacardi barge offered rum & tequila mixes, the Coors barge had ice cold beers ready to go, and the Skyy Vodka middle barge offered exactly that to everyone in need of something a little stronger. The crowds here are smaller, and the atmosphere far more intimate. A great spot to take a moment away from the festival at large, dance to some techno beats, converse and reflect, or even meet a new friend.
Nothing like art to catalyze the imagination.
The new and improved art district was set up right near the JetBlue stage. Featuring art collections from a number of vendors as well as unique installations to take your breath away in between music sets. The one that stood out most to me was a collaboration between two artists called “Sunshine Memories”, a giant canvas for people to write their memorable and meaningful tropical experiences, creating a collective memory on one powerful piece.
Rock that stands out.
Kaleo played next over at the JetBlue Stage, and man was that impressive. This Icelandic blues rock band delivered a stellar set, one which was upbeat at times and somber at others. Their culture no doubt influencing some of the otherworldly sounds they shared with the crowd. It was here that I especially took note of just how many families were present. Children wrestling and laughing in the grass, getting more excited about the music than the adults, sitting on parents shoulders.
A hungry belly in need of noms.
There is nothing to induce hunger quite like a day of dancing and music, and here possibly even better than everywhere else, Sunfest delivers. Put together by the organizer of the Food & Wine festival in Palm Beach, the menus here offer something delectable and delightful for just about any mood. We decided on a beef gyro and a Caribbean noodle dish after roughly 15 mins of difficult deliberation.
Was it good? Better. Were we satisfied? Yes. Did we buy more? Almost.
The final hours.
Sunset was greeted by legendary pop punk band Blink 182, walking on stage to a cheering crowd. The energy for this set was palpable, people teeming with excitement. You could feel the crowd ignite every time they played a fan favorite. Their encore ending song had the dedicated fan base literally hopping, throwing their heads back and forth, hair in all directions. Rare and potent energy only an event like this can inspire, and the dense crowd can provide.
A fiery farewell.
We ended the night spectacularly with a ten minute fireworks show. Everybody gathered looking out over the water to share their final moments. The culmination of the show was an absolutely stunning array of what had to be hundreds of explosive showers of color within a 20 second time window. It literally took my breath away, and was one of the most impressive fireworks shows I have ever seen. July 4th should take a note, cause wow.
All in all, Sunfest is an amazing high production waterfront festival
Some of the biggest names in music come together to deliver rich energetic sets. Beautiful live and interactive art installations to get your creative juices flowing. Spectacular array of delicious food vendors to satiate and salivate over. Fantastic chill spaces such as the floating barges and the beachside benches scattered about. There is a familial feel to the crowd despite how staggering it is. Music, art, and good vibes bring people together in a truly amazing way.
I’m excited for next year. You should be too :)