SunFest Is About More Than Just Music
You walk in and the first thing you see is color. Not just the bold polychromatic outfits or the array of beaded bracelets draped on concert attendees’ arms. You see the pristine blues of the waterway blending with those of the afternoon sky. The lights strung by the stages adding yellow, purple and red shadows to dancing bystanders. The haze of freshly cut grass sprinkled with dew. The world inside a kaleidoscope made 3-D.
Standing there with the faint Florida breeze tickling your skin and the tunes ringing throughout West Palm Beach’s waterfront, you begin to understand the true essence of SunFest—where color and sound merge to form a unique synesthesia that allows attendees not just to hear the music, but to see and feel it too. The festival becomes so much more than an auditory experience.
Though, let’s be honest, with the lineup of artists it tends to feature, the music doesn’t hurt, either.
This year exemplifies that. Bastille, Train, Steve Aoki, Walk the Moon and Jason Derulo are some of the many performers set to take the stage (or one of the three stages) from April 27 to May 1. A rundown of the lineup shows an interspersion of genres, rhythms and vocals that somehow seamlessly mesh together despite their different terrains.
“Our goal every year is to bring 50 different artists and provide a group that has great value and creates a great festival,” says Melissa Sullivan, the marketing director for SunFest.
There’s a haven for the relaxed, the cautious, the adventurous and the extroverted. The wallflower can loll on a blanket a good distance from a show, while the animated raver can make a niche right by the center stage, an arm’s length away from a DJ. SunFest is not confined to a specific demographic, gender or taste. With tickets starting at $25, it’s also substantially cheaper than its Floridian counterparts (we’re looking at you, Ultra).
“SunFest is awesome because it creates a fun, laid-back experience that you don’t get at most music festivals,” says Lexi Williams, a student at the University of Miami and a brand ambassador for SunFest. “It has such an eclectic lineup, which draws in all different types of people.”
The beauty of the festival is that stale moments are fleeting and infrequent—if at all. Even the transition from stage to stage becomes an experience in itself. White tents pave the way from one artist to the next, each housing a distinct display of art as part of SunFest’s annual Fine Arts & Craft Show. In it, 150 national artists add their own twist on the beautiful or the sublime with sculptures, paintings, jewelry and photographs.
“The art show is a staple of SunFest and is a component that has been around for years and years—people always love it,” Sullivan says.
With a hazy and relaxed vibe during the day that morphs into a charged and spirited atmosphere at night, which then culminates in one of the largest fireworks shows in the Southeast, SunFest plans to add a new dash of color to this spring.
Don't miss out on these other West Palm Beach-area events:
Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre
This summer, Darius Rucker, Keith Urban, Dave Matthews Band, Chris Stapleton, Hank Williams Jr. and Brad Paisley will all play the main stage at the Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre (formerly the Coral Sky and Cruzan Amphitheatre) in West Palm Beach this summer. Purchase the 2016 Country Megaticket for access to all shows. (Ticket prices vary, westpalmbeachamphitheatre.com)
Chamber Music Society of Palm Beach
Five musicians playing the flute, oboe, violin, viola and cello will mesmerize audiences on April 14 at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. (cmspb.org)
Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival
Celebrating its 25th anniversary season, catch one of the Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival’s four programs this July at venues throughout the county. Local musicians select and make all artistic decisions for the programming. (pbcmf.org)
Palm Beach JazzFest
The inaugural festival comes to downtown West Palm Beach this fall for an all-day musical event that features the best of South Florida jazz. (palmbeachjazzfest.com)