Bringing people together of all walks of life, SunFest shines ever so brightly.
– review of day 3 of the festival (downtown West Palm Beach).
Indio Valley is known in addition for it’s temperature that dips just a hare away from Death’s breath, primarily for Coachella the United States version of Glastonbury, just in a different climate. In that same retrospect, just as Scotland is known for T In The Park so to is New York for the All Last Weekend’s Parties and Austin, Texas for ACL. For Florida, our selection and spot on this map is stapled in Ultra Music Festival, EDM’s greatest weekend escape and a little while ago, also offered the same escape for rock lovers. Sadly, this has become less prevalent as the years have passed, with major rock acts such as The Killers and The Cure no longer gracing the bills and legends whose contributions to both of the genres are priceless were shuffled to side stages.
Bastions for rockers in South Florida have ranged anywhere from little to scarce, a sad truth as the entire region is an untapped oil well of passionate music lovers, especially in its most dire areas from Stuart to Boca Raton. It is here, where SunFest so smartly planted it’s roots, guaranteeing a gathering ground for it’s attendees. And while the festival is not without faults, with commercialism sometimes bearing a shadow big as the stages, it still does what a festival is meant to: bring people together. And no matter what day you arrive at SunFest, this is always visible.
Friday especially, despite the plethora of Cinco de Mayo events outside, still packed a considerable amount of people for the first acts, and the organizers theming of stages is still on point. While the Tire Kingdom Stage is still steady in their opportunity to host new acts, JetBlue on the farther reaches of the SunFest galaxy continues to take the award as SunFest’s “treasure” stage, where the less heard, but greatly underrated acts play.
NOSLEEPKB, who opened the festivities kept with this hallowed moniker, displaying with J Cole type beats and a Trey Libra-esque delivery, the duo gave a great performance, leaving vines enough to grow and spread atop the skyline. SunFest’s ongoing dedication to actively choose not to pack the line-up with major names, but instead let new acts have proper exposure is one of the festival’s greatest attributes, with an attention to theme and detail that is admirable. When you think about the amount of production that is done for the small space that is given (the entirety of the festival and it’s stages goes only about 4-5 blocks), it’s fascinating.
Somehow balancing Ziggy Marley’s always well deserved packed audience, which exceeded and split out into the asphalt (and deservedly so, might it be added) as well as Tinashe’s Ford Stage appearance, showcasing the vocalists Beyonce like stage performance and velvety smooth vocals. The long sprint came at 9 when on separate ends but mercifully 45 minutes apart, Flo Rida and Fetty Wap began.
It’s with this in mind perhaps that Fetty played much of his well known tracks first, saving deeper and darker tracks for fans who stayed till the end. Taking into account all these factors, you still couldn’t help but feel bad for Fetty Wap, as more than a quarter of the audience left to make it to the opposing end.
To the casual fan of Flo Rida whose knowledge of the rap star might extend to his Fast & The Furious track contribution, club hit Low or the longtime fan base who knows every cut including his pairings with David Guetta, the set was balanced with both in mind, and revealing an interesting live trait of the South Florida native; his admirable ability of stringing together feelings.
Whether you were at the front of the sea of flashing blue, to the side as the cool sea breeze hit you or the very back watching it all from a viewpoint, you needn’t look far to see it: an EDM communal feeling, pop attraction and flair, wrapped up with rap’s more rebellious streak. The combination of all these elements was just what Day 3 of SunFest needed to tie together that feeling of togetherness that seemed less present from the year previous.
With a set filled with radio hits such as GDFR and Where Them Girls At and My House, it was these things that made the show a fun one to watch. Closing with The Wild Ones and bringing a fan on stage to sing Sia’s vocals, as you view the crowd jumping to the closer, regardless of whether you like pop’s evolution or not, you can’t help, but smile. Whether you love reggae or rap, the goal of bringing people together is singular. Whether that’s at Indio, Scotland or Florida, a festival’s selfless goal is to provide that sacred water in the middle of the desert. And SunFest, as always, is no mirage.