If you make it to your 34th year in any business, you’ve gotta be doing something right and hopefully you learn a thing or two along the way. Sunfest has been bringing national acts to the shores of downtown West Palm Beach for a while now and this year’s lineup’s as diverse as the residents who call South Florida home. With mainstream pop acts like Duran Duran and Jason Derulo to EDM superstars like Steve Aoki and old school punk heroes Goldfinger and Flogging Molly, there’s something to please every palate.
Then take into account the fact that a five day pass will run you $80 ($16 a day – about the cost of a movie) and it begins to look like a pretty solid event. A one day pass is $40, so if you’re planning on going to at least two, you might as well pony up the extra $40. For Mr. and Mrs. Moneybags, there’s the $4500 Backstage + Stage Right package that puts you and a friend (trophy wife, mistress, etc.) as close to the action as money can buy. Well could have bought, because they’re sold out, but fret not – there’s still a few of the second best $3200 Backstage + The Stand packages available that get you access to fenced in VIP areas; unfortunately drinks aren’t included with this one though.
Whether your girl wants to hear Meghan Trainor sing her messages of female empowerment, you want to get lost in the smokescreen of the Slightly Stoopid crowd, or you want to hold each other and cry along to Death Cab for Cutie, there’s no shortage of acts to catch. 50 of them across the five days to be exact. A random smattering that covers practically every genre and while you’ve most likely heard of the headliners at some point in your life, here are a few you might not recognize that are worth your while:
Scott Bradlee’s Post Modern Jukebox
The internet has helped many people reach stardom. Take Justin Beiber for example – he was discovered on YouTube and you know the rest. Unlike Beiber though, Scott Bradlee actually possesses heaps of talent. Even that may be an understatement. He’s the mastermind behind Post Modern Jukebox – a cover band that takes popular songs and reimagines them in specific styles of years past. Considering he’s covered songs from other acts performing at Sunfest like Jason Derulo and Bastille, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some cameos and shared stage time.
Fronted by Black Thought and driven by perfect percussion from ?uestlove, Jimmy Fallon somehow managed to land them as the house band for The Tonight Show. So while they may be closer to household name than obscure opener, people still might not know just who The Roots are or where they came from. They’ve been performing together for almost 30 years and the timeless masterpiece that is Things Fall Apart will be old enough to vote next year. They’ve released 13 studio albums since that cover everything from social unconsciousness to political activism, so with no shortage of material to pull from, this is one of my more highly anticipated sets.
Judah & The Lion
The title of their latest album Folk Hop n’ Roll does a better job of describing their sound than I ever could. The lyrics to their song “Rich Kids” are a bitch slap in the face to the shallow and superficial lifestyle that plenty of South Floridians ascribe to and I can’t wait to hear it live.
“Spend your life trying to make all your money
Your accounts are full but all you’ve found is that your empty
Ain’t it funny how the simple things in life are the only things that really matter
Your life is complicated,
found your dreams are overrated
now you’re old and wanna go back but you cant”
Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors
Also hailing from Nashville, TN and more wholesome than a jar of homemade apple butter, my first experience with Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors came during last year’s Lauderdale Live. I had no clue who they were when they took the stage, but it didn’t take much for their classic Americana sound to win over myself and the rest of the audience. The only thing more beautiful than his wife Ellie, who was a successful singer in her own right before she got hitched and joined the band, are the harmonies they make together. Their music has been used in numerous TV shows and commercials, so you might be unknowingly familiar with it already and if not, I challenge you to try and get through this video without cracking a smile.