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SunFest Delivers Once Again!!

SunFest Continues to be a Melting Pot of Genres and Generations Bringing Thousands to Florida’s Largest Waterfront Music Festival.

May 3rd – May 5th, 2024

The first day of SunFest 2024 kicked off with a bang, offering a vibrant showcase of musical talent across various genres. As the crowd poured in, they were treated to a diverse lineup of opening acts, setting the stage for an unforgettable evening and weekend. Disbarred, Fox Maple Band, Kritikal, Slofunkpump, Shaw Davis and the Black Ties, Vern Daysel and The Burning Breeze opened the festivities, each bringing their unique flavor to the mix. This eclectic mix of tunes served as the perfect appetizer for what was to come.

Known as Florida’s largest waterfront music festival, the event is held annually in downtown West Palm Beach along Florida’s intracoastal waterway, extending along Flagler Drive. This long-standing music festival is known for bringing together a variety of people from all walks of life to enjoy live performances and art activations coupled with great food, culture and fun.

Family fun was a major theme at this year’s SunFest— young kids and teenagers alike were seen enjoying the musical acts, captivating art activations and delicious treats from varied food trucks. From young and mature couples alike, between the music, fresh flowing drinks, yummy food and unique art, there was entertainment for everyone to enjoy.

Creative art from local South Floridians was another major attraction at this year’s SunFest–in fact, this year the music festival hosted an Art Village spotlighting local artists and their diverse artwork and paintings.

The Ideal Nutrition Stage reverberated with the nostalgic sounds of Quiet Riot, the iconic 70s metal band, as they belted out their timeless hits, commemorating 40 years of Metal Health. Drenched in long hair and black leather, they transported the audience back in time with their electrifying performance. They finished their set off with their two most popular hits, “Cum On Feel the Noise” and “Metal Health.”

Over at the Ford Stage, Shaggy took command, igniting the crowd with his infectious energy and reggae rhythms. From crowd favorites to interactive moments, Shaggy, along with his DJ and band, ensured that every moment was filled with excitement and engagement. He paid homage to all the great reggae artists with a medley of the great sounds that helped shape the genre. He played his biggest hits from decades of stardom including “Boombastic,” “Angel” and “It Wasn’t Me.”

Shaggy performs at SunFest. photo by Angelia ‘Rose’ Capalbo

The Ideal Nutrition Stage reached its crescendo with Billy Idol‘s electrifying performance. Celebrating four decades of musical prowess, Idol delivered a set filled with his signature hits, including “Dancing With Myself,” “Rebel Yell” and “White Wedding.” His distinctive style and stage presence kept the audience on their feet, culminating in an unforgettable evening of rock and roll revelry.

Nelly took the Ford Stage by storm, seamlessly blending his classic hits with newer tracks, showcasing his evolution as an artist. From hip-hop anthems to country-infused jams, Nelly’s performance was a testament to his enduring popularity and versatility. He started off by taking us back to his country grammar roots with hits like “E.I.,” “Ride With Me,” “Batter Up” and of course, “Country Grammar.” He moved through his set with hit after hit showing off his 20 years of dominance across the music industry. He finished the night off with “Dilema” and “Just a Dream.”

Nelly performs at SunFest. photo by Angelia ‘Rose’ Capalbo

Despite the rain that graced the final sets, the atmosphere remained electric, with the massive crowd undeterred in their enthusiasm. With a mix of rock, hip hop, reggae and Latin music, the first night of Sunfest offered something for everyone, setting the stage for an epic weekend of musical celebration.

Saturday’s performances did not disappoint with performances from Cole Swindell, Yung Gravy and The Revivalists headlining the day’s biggest line up. However, before they took the stage, country soul singer Elle King, Dylan Scott, Bryce Vine, Hailey Whitters and Paul Russell performed. One of the best performers of the weekend included Palestinian-American soulful singer and rapper, Anees. The 31-year-old Washington D.C. native delivered a powerful 45-minute set of passionate and heartfelt ballads and pop songs that had all the ladies mesmerized. He initially got on a lot of people’s radars last year when he went viral on Instagram and TikTok with a passionate live performance of his popular single “Sun and Moon.”  Saturday’s varied musical guests truly had something for everyone– even local Florida bands like Killbillies offered up relaxing, country folk music for audiences to bask in.

The Revivalists perform at SunFest. photo by Angelia ‘Rose’ Capalbo

The Revivalists jammed out shirtless on their guitars offering up a passionate performance singing some of their crowd favorites including “Kid” and “Good Old Days.”  Other emerging artists like Elle King had the audience entertained with her latest single— “Baby Daddy’s Weekend,” offering up a soulful take on country music. In contrast, Northeast American rock band Boys Like Girls performed punk rock, high-energy love songs that had the ladies in the audience fully engaged. With 4.4 million followers on Facebook and 112,000 followers on Instagram, the group has recently garnered new notoriety after releasing their latest album after being on hiatus for over a decade. As they performed their new and old music live in front of thousands of women, they definitely lived up to their infamous motto of being “the original outlaws of emo.” The other final noteworthy band to hit the SunFest stage was The Aces, an all-girl American alternative pop band from Provo, Utah. Two talented young women were rocking out on guitars (guitarist Katie Henderson & bassist McKenna Petty), who were backed by sisters Alisa Ramirez (drummer) and Cristal Ramirez (lead singer), delivering a great show. Ramirez’s androgynous ensemble was refreshing and allowed the audience to focus on her musical talent, while avoiding any revealing or over-the-top bedazzled looks that can sometimes distract from a musician’s talent.

Beyond the two main stages, a community stage called the Sandbar stage gave local Florida-based musicians, who may not have a huge social media following or record deal just yet, a chance to show off their skills and entertain the crowd. We caught many of the local and up-and-coming musicians on Saturday night including Sawyer Rief and the Buko Boys. The festival’s diverse lineup ensured there was something for everyone. From punk rock, to rap, jazz, country folk, blues, electronic dance music and pop music, the festival’s organizers delivered an inclusive array of artists that kept thousands of attendees entertained. Talented local artists and groups like Brett Staska, the I’m Dru!, Matt Corman, Hello Sister, Nightbreakers, Noah Hunton and The Lubben Brothers all delivered high energy live performances. This musical initiative was a great approach to uplifting local and national emerging musical creatives that have some notoriety yet are still developing their sounds and career. Every performer was focused on connecting with the new South Florida audience in attendance, which made each performance even better. Overall, it was a win-win, because it provided exposure and opportunity for these new budding artists on a much larger scale than they have ever experienced before.

Over at the Main Ford Stage, crowds were captivated by Yung Gravy, a new popular white rapper from Minnesota who boasts over 7 million followers on TikTok and two million followers on Instagram. From the moment that he hit the stage, he delivered a set that offered up surprisingly catchy rap songs and country singles alike. “At first glance, I was ready to roll my eyes at another white rapper in a Versace silk shirt, but his flow and stage performance was lit,” said Kristel Shelton, one of the thousands of attendees at Saturday night’s SunFest music festival. Yung Gravy  performed his latest single, “Betty” (Get Money), which had accumulated over 45 million views on YouTube. He also performed one of his country singles, “Get Up On That Horse,” offering a live performance that kept the crowd engaged and vibes flowing.

Yung Gravy performs at SunFest. photo by Angelia ‘Rose’ Capalbo

While the music was great, the drinks and food also lived up to the hype as well. Mr. Pancho gourmet hot dogs were a fan-favorite with long lines while even Florida’s favorite grocery store, Publix, made sure to have their own food truck on site, proving that the SunFest organizers were intentional about collaborating with local restaurants, food chains and chefs. From Jack Daniels to NÜTRL Vodka Seltzers, Celcius and Dunkin’ iced coffee pop-up activations, this year’s SunFest made sure attendees had access to every kind of beverage imaginable. Everything including beer, cocktails, coffee, seltzers and water were available at nearly every turn.

Other special activations were placed throughout the downtown venue including the Sunfest electronic barge dancefloor powered by Spazio. Each night, a variety of special DJ’s hosted heart-pumping EDM sets that kept the crowds dancing into the early morning hours.

Sunday’s lineup was packed with fantastic performances and activities, and my friends and I were ready to embark upon the day. We had “must-do’s” like experiencing the electronic music party barge, watching Matisyahu as the sun goes down, and ending our night by singing along to our favorites from Third Eye Blind.  As we arrived, we embraced the “fun-in-the-sun” vibes with people of various cultures and ages.

Throughout the day, there were a lot of interactive experiences and art installations to explore, adding an extra layer of excitement to the event. From local artisans showcasing their work to delicious food vendors offering a wide array of culinary delights, there was something for everyone to enjoy.  We were stoked to see that Publix was giving out free ice cream, and it was exactly what we needed to cool down on a hot day.  In fact, there were so many free handouts, we were overwhelmed with trying everything we could!  We landed on spiral potatoes as our meal choice, something that was not only unique, but also cost-effective for a festival at $10 – $15 a plate.

The party barge was an interesting experience. I have been to several nightclubs in central and south Florida, so listening to some dance vibes was something I wanted to experience. As we walked onto the barge, we realized the barge was swaying with the music. It added to the upbeat vibes, and everyone was dancing on the floating cocktail lounge. Surprisingly, drinks were pretty average cost for an event like this ranging from $8-$10 a drink.

After the party barge, we walked between the Boys Like Girls performance and The Elovaters.  These are two very different bands, and we enjoyed the contrast between the two. Boys Like Girls bring back emo or “scene” vibes while the soothing reggae sounds of The Elovaters was a nice way to chill and enjoy a Florida summer day.

Finally, we were ready to experience the unifying vibes of Matisyahu, renowned for his unique blend of reggae, hip-hop, and spiritual lyrics. His captivating and uplifting music was a transcendent experience, living up to his worldwide acclaim. Throughout his performance, his powerful vocals and dynamic stage presence stood out. His music, infused with themes of faith, identity, and personal growth, resonated deeply with the audience, creating a profound connection that I felt strongly, especially during his new song, “Ascent.”

Matisyahu. photo by Larry Marano © 2024

Matisyahu’s energetic and passionate performance, combined with his band’s unity and positivity, made the concert more than just a live show—it was a spiritual and communal experience. My friends and I agreed it was the highlight of our day.

As the night drew to a close, we wrapped up our day by seeing Third Eye Blind, a band that heavily influenced my young adult years. Singing along to songs like “Semi-Charmed Life,” “Graduate,” and “Jumper” was amazing. The band has carved out a unique place in the alternative rock scene with their catchy melodies, introspective lyrics, and dynamic performances. Led by frontman Stephan Jenkins, the band has cultivated a devoted following thanks to their infectious hooks and relatable songwriting.

Third Eye Blind. photo by Larry Marano © 2024

One of the standout aspects of a Third Eye Blind concert is their ability to create an emotional connection with the audience. Hearing “Jumper,” a song that holds special meaning for me, and singing along live was a particularly memorable moment.

Overall, Sunfest 2024 on Sunday was a memorable day filled with great music, positive vibes, and plenty of sunshine. It was a perfect way to close out the festival weekend and create lasting memories with five of my good friends. We look forward to next year!

  • WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MAY 05: Gregory James of Boys Like Girls performs during Sunfest on May 5, 2024 in West Palm Beach Florida. Photo By Larry Marano © 2024

  • SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • Bryce Vine performs at SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • Bryce Vine performs at SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • Yung Gravy performs at SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • Yung Gravy performs at SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • Yung Gravy performs at SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • Valley.photo by Jordan Kutno

  • Valley.photo by Jordan Kutno

  • Valley.photo by Jordan Kutno

  • Matisyahu. photo by Larry Marano © 2024

  • Matisyahu. photo by Larry Marano © 2024

  • Matisyahu. photo by Larry Marano © 2024

  • Dylan Scott performs at SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MAY 05: Martin Johnson of Boys Like Girls performs during Sunfest on May 5, 2024 in West Palm Beach Florida. Photo By Larry Marano © 2024

  • WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MAY 05: Martin Johnson of Boys Like Girls performs during Sunfest on May 5, 2024 in West Palm Beach Florida. Photo By Larry Marano © 2024

  • WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MAY 05: John Keefe of Boys Like Girls performs during Sunfest on May 5, 2024 in West Palm Beach Florida. Photo By Larry Marano © 2024

  • WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MAY 05: Jamel Hawke of Boys Like Girls performs during Sunfest on May 5, 2024 in West Palm Beach Florida. Photo By Larry Marano © 2024

  • The Elovators. photo by Larry Marano © 2024

  • The Elovators. photo by Larry Marano © 2024

  • The Elovators. photo by Larry Marano © 2024

  • Third Eye Blind. photo by Larry Marano © 2024

  • Third Eye Blind. photo by Larry Marano © 2024

  • Third Eye Blind. photo by Larry Marano © 2024

  • photo by Larry Marano © 2024

  • SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • The Revivalists perform at SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • Shaggy performs at SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • Billy Idol performs at SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • Nelly performs at SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • The Revivalists perform at SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • The Revivalists perform at SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • Dylan Scott performs at SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • Dylan Scott performs at SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • Dylan Scott performs at SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

  • Dylan Scott performs at SunFest. photo by Angelia 'Rose' Capalbo

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