SunFest, the five-day, fall-on-your-face festival, is the Christmas time, the birthday, the "my parents are out of town" of live music for downtown West Palm Beach each year. An excessively diverse lineup, a prime location right on the Intracoastal, and the ease of sneaking a water bottle full of Patrón in your big purse makes this fest a must for both babies and old concert junkies.
2012's SunFest didn't disappoint, featuring 25 local bands and everyone from Joan Jett to Girl Talk. But one act rose above the forgettable and ran away with the honors of the "best concert I saw in 2012," and those lucky sons of bitches are Passion Pit.
Passion Pit stole the show on night three with its synthy and ridiculously energetic set. The Boston crew really gave us the ideal concert experience, including pumping the crowd up with new jams and playing staples like "Sleepyhead" and "Little Secrets." Troubled lead singer and songwriting mastermind Michael Angelakos stayed sane just long enough to get us all a little crazy on that, the most magical night of SunFest.
Almost as important as the tunes was the vibe in the crowd. I was surrounded by laid-back, fun-loving freaks where dancing like a fool was not an option but a requirement. Whereas the audience for Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa the night before consisted of more stoned white teenagers than my high school graduation, Passion Pit brought out only the chillest of the chill.
Also significant in creating a good-vibe crowd: The indie dance quintet played opposite the most hated band in the lineup, Creed. Creed, you can keep the frat boys and right-wingers; we'll stick with those relaxed, dancing future friends.
2013 is sure to bring another year of great live music to South Florida, but for this downtown West Palmer, the world's axis spins on the release of the SunFest lineup. I'm not sure who will rise above the rest at next year's five-day binge bash, but I do know I will be there with my big purse.