SunFest Secrets Uncovered: Tips to Maximize Your Festival Experience

Don't blink too long, or it'll already be SunFest!

For the average downtown West Palmer, our whole year revolves around this five-day festival of awesomeness. It's basically the only time any huge national music acts come to Clematis. Oh, and wait, there're like 50 of them!

For the newbie, this change in downtowniness might seem overwhelming. To make sure you are fully prepared to dive into the SunFest madness, headfirst, we put together a list of insider tips from a sampling of seasoned SunFesters. Here is how they suggest you maximize your experience.

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- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros' Vibe Is, "Whatever Feels Best Wins Out"

Pick a Meeting Place

A real one with crossroads and shit. You will quickly see how important this is when your friend texts, "We are to the left of the lamp post by the beer cart." There are literally 20 of those! Pick a spot and tell your crew, unless you want to be left wandering on your own, which, considering some of your friends, might be even more fun.

Be Prepared to Run Into Everyone You Know, Even the People You Never Wanted to See Again

Seriously. That one-night stand whose name you can't remember, so you just call him PBR Guy? He'll be there. The girl you got in a fight with in the bathroom at Roxy's Rooftop? Oh, she's definitely there. You have been warned.

Plan Ahead... Just a Little Bit

Check out the nightly lineup on sunfest.com to find out which band is playing at which stage and at what time. Is there a three-hour gap of crappy bands you don't want to see? Get the hell out of there! A little SunFest break does the body good. By that, we mean pull up a seat at World of Beer Roxy's Pub and cool down while you can.

Go Out Afterward

Speaking of the Clematis bar scene, it thrives during SunFest week. Don't just pack in your good time, extend it! The live music is nowhere near finished when you walk out of the gates with bars like O'Shea's and Respectable Street featuring local bands who are possessed by the SunFest vibes and ready to put on the show of their lives.

Bring Your Big Purse

Or man purse, AKA murse. The bag checkers at SunFest have been notoriously lax, so shove some snacks and (you didn't read this here) a dose of vodka disguised as water in your bag to hold you over until you actually have to spend money on something. Admittedly, the low security standards might be getting a face-lift in the wake of the recent Boston bombings, but considering past years, it's worth a try.

The FPL Stage Is Far

The Ford and Tire Kingdom stages are next-door neighbors, but you will learn on your first trek to the FPL Stage that it is pretty far out there. While almost certainly worth the walk, make sure you keep this in mind when plotting your festival strategy.

Pee in Peace

It's no secret that your typical festival Porta Potty situation is supernasty, especially in the South Florida sunshine. If you've got the cash, we've got the solution. For $5 a day, you can purchase access to the bathrooms in the VIP section and do your business in style.

Bring Cash!

ATM fees are a bigger bitch than your mom. Just kidding; I am sure your mom is a very nice lady. But seriously, come prepared with cash to avoid waiting in a massive line to use an ATM that just wants to take your money.

Bonus: SPF 50

Sunburns are not sexy, people!

You have learned much today, young grasshopper. Now use these new skills to make your week in West Palm just what it should be, a five-day party for the entire city.

Smashing Pumpkins, at SunFest 2013. With Kendrick Lamar, Train, and others. 5 p.m. May 1, through May 3, and noon May 4, and May 5 at 525 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $30 to $69 plus fees. Call 561-659-5980, or visit sunfest.com.

For more SunFest and West Palm Beach tips, follow Dana on Twitter @DowntownDana

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