Well it’s that time of the year again on the West Palm Beach, Florida waterfront where the best of emerging musical talent and some better known singers and bands come together for 4 days of fun in the sun. James Taylor is tonight’s headliner and American Idol David Cook takes the stage Saturday night. Punk rockers, Indie and Reggae musicians share the stage. Streets are blocked off to make way for this well attended event. The Palm Beach Post, Tire Kingdom and Coors Beer are the lead sponsors along with Catalfumo, Costco and Verizon in tow as well as many others to include most of the local radio stations. There are approximately 3000 volunteers that selflessly work for the event in Guest Services, Operations and in other capacities.

Sunfest has its own culture, rituals and traditions with an evolved hierarchy reminiscent of a tribe or secret society. Proud volunteers who have been with the festival since its inception wear multiple layers of colorful Mardigras like beads and smarty decorated layered t’s. I found a young female volunteer cutting into one of the t-s yesterday with a pair of scissors with purpose to create side vents in a decorative row under each arm. Sunfest volunteers have a clear sense of ownership of the festival. You can spot an older member of the team (formerly a tribe) by the number of layers of beads and color of t-shirt. Each year Sunfest creates a string of beads with a new design and theme. One year monkeys decorated the oversized necklace. These were popular. Old timers recount the beginnings of the small grassroots flavor of the then mostly art and jazz festival that has grown.

In the early days visual artists dominated the festival. However over the years this has changed. National Bank sponsors the outdoor art festival that takes place from Friday-Sunday. Music runs Wednesday-Sunday.

(to be continued…)

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