Sunfest 33: The Return of Reggae Reflection (and the Type Too)

SOJA members
Members of the reggae band SOJA during the group’s 2012 Sunfest performance

Over the years, this blog has provided coverage of Sunfest, the five-day music and arts festival held on the waterfront of downtown West Palm Beach. Typically, the Type has done so unofficially, but in 2012 a very cool thing happened: Empress K of the Boston-based website Reggae Reflection was able to secure press passes for herself and me, giving us access to the photo pit in front of all three main stages of the festival. Needless to say, we had the opportunity to shoot some great photos during the 3 days for which we had passes, and this year promises even more of the same, when we have passes for four of the five days.

Of course, the strength of a festival lineup is heavily dependent on which groups happen to be touring at the time, but apparently 2015 is a banner year for concerts, as the 33rd edition of Sunset offers something for just about everyone. The festival opens Wednesday, April 29th, with overlapping headliners Lenny Kravitz and Wilco, then the Red Rocker Sammy Hager and alt-pop sensation Paramore top the following night’s lineup. On Friday, May 1st, Tampa-based reggae/world-music band Hip Abduction, fresh from its recent local performance at Midtown PGA’s Peace, Love and Wellness Festival, will be opening for veteran reggae-rock  group 311, who played Sunfest previously in 2009.

On Saturday, May 2nd, get to the festival early to catch the School-of-Rock group Jumbo Shrimp; this teenage rock sensation takes the FPL stage at 1:00 p.m. Also featured that day are a number of repeat festival performers: reggae artistes SOJA and Damian Marley, and alt-pop hit group Edwin Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Other highlights of that day include classic rocker Eddie Money, John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, ’90s alt-rock group Stone Temple Pilots (fronted by Chester Bennington) and chart-topping artist Hozier.

Sunfest’s final installment on Sunday, May 3rd, features an mid-afternoon gig for the legendary alt-rock group The Pixies, as well as the festival return for Jewish reggae artist Matisyahu. For the closing performances, classic rock is pitted against alternative rock, as AOR favourite Boston’s gig overlaps with that of pop-punkers Fall Out Boy.  Immediately after the final music shows, the festival puts on its usual million-dollar fireworks display over the water.

So join Empress K and me at West Palm’s music/art extravaganza, and feel free to say hi to us as we run from one main stage to the other to bring you as much coverage as we can. Stay tuned for concert reviews and lots of photos…

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