Good vibes and great music continue for the long running festival.
– review of day 2 of the festival (downtown West Palm Beach).
At just a year short of a quarter century, SunFest is easily one of the longest running US festivals, and that prestige has allowed organizers to book the most varied lineups imaginable year after year. 2017 was no exception, as the festival followed up Wednesday’s Weezer – Snoop Dogg head-to-head with a day that managed to squeeze in Hip Hop, Folk Rock, Country blues and Pop RnB in just a few short hours.
After a short set from local band Chemradery opened the evening, Country singer Lillie Mae showed everyone why she is one of the top rising talents in Nashville. The performance included tracks from her just-released solo album Forever and then Some such as Over the Hills and Through the Woods, and Wash Me Clean.
Following up Mae, Bay area singer Marc E. Bassy went on the Ford Stage. After starting with with some hip-hop inspired songs like Cigarettes, and Morning, Bassy finished the set with a couple of top shelf covers. By the time he was done, there was already a huge crowd gathered at the Tire Kingdom stage in eager expectation of Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals.
The three-time Grammy winner had the longest set of the evening by a long shot, and so delighted the audience with 2-and-a-half hours of rock, jams and funk. The band is currently in the middle of a global tour and the energy of this was palpable. Songs like Welcome to the Cruel World went over flawlessly, and the set was full of long improvised jams that took the crowd on one musical journey after another. It is worth mentioning that the sound production on the stages had been improved for this year and sets like Harper’s made full use of the better acoustics. Still, things started to thin out about one hour in as people left to get ready for the night’s top headliner who were none other than Hip-Hop sensation Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.
The duo has been killing the game with no corporate label and an impressive assortment of mega-hit genre-bending songs for years now and were one of Sunfest’s most anticipated performances. Starting things off with their trademark humor, was their recent song Brad Pitt’s Cousin, which was shortly followed by the beloved Thrift Shop. After that came Fences, Wings, and the emotional Same Love. The singing and stage presence were excellent and Macklemore kept the crowd engaged with conversations and games, like some epic cookie-tossing, all the way through. Things got to a high energy peak towards the end with Can’t Hold Us and Cadillac before going back into a funny finish, as the artists donned the full ridiculous costumes for We Danced.
It was time to go now and only at SunFest can such a thunderous performance come before the weekend even gets there. Much, much more was in store for the following three days.