Music Festivals

Here Are the 10 Can't-Miss Acts of SunFest 2016

There’s an old adage about trying to please everyone and pleasing no one. It’s a maxim that for the most part holds true. Of course, there are always exceptions to that rule, and year after year, SunFest is one of them.

Each spring, organizers behind Palm Beach's family-friendly music festival try their best to assemble a lineup that appeals to every demographic, and especially over the last few years, they've succeeded. Typically one of the more eclectic and quirky festival rosters in the region, SunFest covers every spectrum of the musical rainbow, and 2016 is no different.

Here are our picks for the 10 best acts at SunFest, kicking off tomorrow along the Intracoastal Waterway in downtown West Palm Beach.

10. Casaveda
Friday, April 29, 6:15pm - 7:00pm
JetBlue Stage

Often borrowing the melodic, but mournful stylings of emo bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate and Straylight Run as well as their contemporaries, SunFest headliners Death Cab for Cutie, Orlando’s Casaveda make thoughtful, piano-driven pop rock. The Central Florida four-piece released their debut LP, Labyrinths and Limousines, in spring of last year. The nine song collection is an accomplished record for the young outfit, featuring an engrossing and gentle appeal that’s sure to draw in both the intellectuals and the more emotionally moved.

9. Coleman Hell
Sunday, May 1, 6:15pm - 7:00pm
JetBlue Stage

For those who were fans of Avicii's foray into folktronica, they'll love what Coleman Hell is doing. The Canadian one-man-band broke through last year with his single, “2 Heads,” which featured a jangly banjo rhythm…that wasn’t really there. It was a actually a sample and like Chet Faker or Robert DeLonge, Hell, produces all his own music from the comfort of his keyboard, adding in gentle, smoky vocals later on. The 26 year-old musician has found success on the charts and on YouTube, but still hasn’t peaked yet, making his appearance at SunFest the perfect opportunity to catch this up and comer just before he truly takes off.

8. Devon Baldwin
Saturday, April 30, 8:10pm - 8:30pm
Ford Stage

Recently, Bay Area singer-songwriter Devon Baldwin fell into a “Ring of Fire” and it’s hard to not fall in love with her rendition of the Johnny Cash classic. Baldwin, frequent collaborator with one of SunFest’s rising stars, G-Eazy, and a former American Idol hopeful, crafts the same sort of ethereal and sensual electro-R&B as BANKS, Jamie Woon, and her friend, JMSN. Her six-track Lungs EP, named so because of the collapsed lung she suffered that momentarily put her career on pause, is an intimate and affecting affair and a good indication of what West Palm Beach can expect during Saturday evening set.

7. Duran Duran
Wednesday, April 27, 8:30pm - 10:00pm
Ford Stage

These British new wave rockers are the one headliner you might be waffling on, but really shouldn’t. Seen as a largely '80s band, Duran Duran sometimes fall into the category of bands that people don’t realize the extent of their influence on modern music. And guess what? Not only do you know way more Duran Duran songs than you think, but if anything, the veteran, synth-happy four-piece have only gotten better with age as evidenced by their bombastic performance in Miami earlier this month.

6. Dylan LeBlanc
Sunday, May 1, 4:45pm - 5:25pm
Ford Stage

Vocally, Dylan LeBlanc falls somewhere between Chris Isaak and Ryan Adams. Musically, he embodies the spirit of a vast history of folk singer / songwriters. The Shreveport native was raised on a steady diet of the area’s finest music with his father working as a session player at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. By fifteen LeBlanc began performing himself and a few years later, after the release of his debut album, Paupers Field, he was touring in the company of such Americana and country luminaries as Calexico, The Civil Wars, and Lucinda Williams. His new record, Cautionary Tale, represents a further maturing of his sound, that incorporates the wistfulness of Damien Rice with the poignant songcraft of a pensive old crooner.

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Angel Melendez is an unabashed geek and a massive music nerd who happens to write words (and occasionally take photos) for Miami New Times. A graduate of Florida Atlantic University and an accomplished failure at two other universities, Angel is a lush and an insufferable know-it-all, and has way better taste in music than you. His wealth of useless knowledge concerning bands, film, and Batman is matched only by his embarrassingly large collection of Hawaiian shirts and onesies.
Contact: Angel Melendez