SunFest: The Most Wonderful Time of The Year
My penchant for pushing myself in pursuit of live music was established in my teens.
The first concert I ever went to, I fractured my ankle trying to meet the band Everclear. I met them (they were lovely), pogo-ed up and down to their set and to this day, I wonder why my ankle never healed properly.
My teens and early 20s were a blur of ringing ears, pop-punk, sweat, sunburns and sharing short stacks after shows.
Things changed a little in my thirties but not much. I traveled to Boston, Nashville and New York to see Kings of Leon and trekked to Texas to see The Replacements reunite at Austin City Limits.
Sweat-chilled late-night diner trips became a thing of the past...but when SunFest rolls around, I remember and revel in my roots.
A four-day music and art festival held in Downtown West Palm Beach, SunFest is my favorite time of year.
I barely sleep, I typically get a sunburn, everything hurts, I walk approximately 27 miles, I lose my voice and I subsist on iced coffee and blueberry vodka lemonade. Oh and since this festival happens during the week, I also go to work full-time.
What does this look like?
When I was nineteen, I looked as fresh-faced as an extra on the Disney Channel.
Now, it's a different story.
Yeah. I'm in my thirties and I have RA. Let's all offer up a prayer of thanks for the miracle of mascara, shall we?
But, there is nothing else I would rather do because next to the domestication of the dog, the greatest thing humanity ever did was play music.
And this year is shaping up to be a fantastic one.
I've already bought my Stand tickets to see Nate Rateliff and the Night Sweats and I can't wait to see Girl Talk because I spent a full year obsessed with All Day and trying to figure out all of the samples he used.
And guys - Pitbull.
Oh, I entertain zero fucks about anyone's negative opinion about Mr. Worldwide.
Because Mr. Worldwide is also Mr. South Florida and continually works to make this part of the world a better place.
Originally signed by Uncle Luke, Pitbull is constantly extolling the virtues of the Magic City, he built a school in Little Havana, he used his private plane to bring over cancer patients after Hurricane Irma devastated Puerto Rico and he's got equity in Miami Subs Grill which has great fries and the craziest fucking history of any fast food chain on the planet.
And I've also got a soft spot for him because Mom likes Pitbull. Why does an Indian woman in her 60s like a Cuban rapper who rhymes about tremendo culo?
"He wears suits, Jemmy. He always looks dressed up and nice."
That is pretty much unassailable. Dale.
Every year, I have at least one Murtaugh moment and grouse that I am too old for this shit. Mostly when I'm watching some EDM act I've never heard of, but here's the thing.
Granted, I spend the following Monday in Safe Mode but that's a small price to pay for spending the past few days dancing in the sunshine and the starlight to live music with the people I love.
SunFest makes me realize that I am the luckiest bastard on the planet.
The sunburn and pain are temporary and will fade away soon enough. But the memory of shimmying on a swaying barge with people I genuinely adore and the memory of my boyfriend wrapping me in his arms during Alabama Shakes’ Hold On and hearing him sing along to a song we’ve heard a million times at home?
I get to keep that forever.
God, I love West Palm.