Review: SunFest welcomes all with good music and warm vibes

SunFest 2015 has come to a close, but left the diverse mass of attendees feeling like family.

Photo courtesy of

Alexis Hayward

Photo courtesy of

Gabriella Strang, Contributing Writer

Sunfest doesn’t seem to believe in Sunday slumber. Even on the last day of the music festival, held from April 29 to May 3, there was a collective energy from both the acts performing and the diverse attendees.

Located on the waterfront, the event offered local food and art stands, bringing in approximately 175,000 people each year and settling itself with open arms towards all-ages.

That’s what differentiates SunFest from other major festivals across the country. Sure, there’s an all-age policy for most events, but what Sunfest provides is much more homely.

Festivals such as Coachella and Ultra, which are now 18+ events, are a lot larger and somewhat abrasive for a young demographic. This year at Coachella, Kendall Jenner infamously flipped off rapper Tyler, the Creator after he called her out on stage and Justin Bieber got kicked out.

It may be the tight-knit streets of the smaller downtown West Palm Beach, or the fact that the festival dedicated an entire section to children with a tent that had a Home Depot workshop (you have to admit that at some point in your childhood you wanted one of those orange aprons with your name on it more than anything), but what was seen in every corner of Sunfest was a more family-oriented environment, although they still provided sections such as the floating bars on the waterfront for adults.

Maneuvering across the festival, one would come across a broad range of food selections, like Greek and Caribbean, that would mystify the indecisive music lover. Wedged between the food stands were tents full with local artists of abstract art, ceramics, woodwork, jewelry and even music-themed artistry.

There was a wide spectrum of attendees at Sunfest, from flower-crowned youths to men in beach chairs sporting CBGB (the famous New York rock club) shirts, in between groups of tropically-clothed locals.

Both these groups stem from a legacy, the former gaining its aesthetic from Woodstock and the latter from the pre-punk collective; these are both prominent pieces of musical history, filled with musicians that have influenced a majority of the platter of acts booked throughout the five days of Sunfest.

What really stood out was the zeal caught between the sweaty crowds of music sets: the gleam in the eyes of a woman 30 years the elder of a college student, singing her heart out to Pixies’ fusing of heavy and mellow alternative sound alongside her daughter; teenagers sitting on the pavement for six hours just to catch Fall Out Boy up front, the sway of someone so focused on Matisyahu’s show as they are taken into their own euphoric world through his flowing sound.

The eclectic movement of fan bases colliding is what truly makes a festival. And the way that Sunfest is booked makes this happen swimmingly. It brought the tri-county area together for really great music, among other varieties.