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Sunfest – A West Palm Beach tradition

The first weekend of May each and every year West Palm Beach holds its annual music and arts festival, Sunfest. Sunfest spans five days and hosts over 50 acts from a variety of music genres across three stages. It also features a large number of local artists. Sunfest spans over a half mile along the intra coastal waterway from the Palm Beach bridge north to the Palm Beach marina, making it reachable by car or by boat. The first sunfest was help in 1983 and was a 10 day festival. By 1992, sunfest changed to the 5 day festival we enjoy today. One amazing things about Sunfest is that is organized by a large group of volunteers who do their best to make everyone happy which can be an impossible task. During the event the volunteers number over 3000 working 3-4 hours shifts. I have met a number of people who travel down from as far away as the northeast for this festival.

 

I am sure one of the hardest chores for the volunteers has to be the entertainment. Each year they do a fantastic job of putting together a lineup that ranges all tastes. Some examples of past acts have included such pop acts as Meghan Trainer, Robin Thicke & the Goo Goo Dolls. A few rock acts who have performed in the past have been Boston, Lenny Kravitz, The Counting Crows, Stone Temple Pilots, Creed, Collective Soul and even 80’s stars Rick Springfield and The Bangles just to name a few. One thing I love about Sunfest is it gives you the opportunity to see an act you may not normally take the time out to go see.

Another unique aspect of Sunfest is the floating barges. The barges have now grown to three huge barges featuring some of the areas most popular dj’s. You can usually find Captain Morgan and his crew going from barge to barge to cause shenanigans.


There are a few options and upgrades I have been fortunate enough to enjoy in my years of attending Sunfest. The first one is Club Sunfest. Club Sunfest offers you a number of advantages. It has two separated VIP areas. The VIP area along the Tire Kingdom stage offers a great view of the artists as it rests up on a hill. The Club Sunfest area at the Ford stage while offering an obstructed view, does give you a break from the crowds while still allowing you to enjoy the music. You also have bars with drink discounts and air conditioned bathrooms, which is much better than port o johns. Club Sunfest membership also gives you one free cocktail of your choice as well as one free meal per day. Over the last few years, tickets for Club Sunfest sell out before the beginning of the year so keep that in mind.

 

Another newer upgrade is called The Stand. Tickets to the stand allow you access for a show into a section directly in front of the stage. Think mosh pit without the pain. The nice thing about the stand is you can purchase this option per show and from my experience they do not pack this area so you feel squeezed in.
The grand finale of Sunfest is the firework show held on Sunday night to close down the festival. It now boasts two floating barges blasting off a barrage of fireworks. The fireworks show typically lasts over 20 minutes. The only bad thing about the fireworks show is it reminds you that you have to wait another year until Sunfest rolls back around

 

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