SunFest: An Insider’s Guide to Florida’s Largest Waterfront Music and Art Festival

April 5, 2019

Festival season is here, and if you live in South Florida you know that means SunFest is right around the corner—the fun begins on May 2 and continues until May 5.

Every year I look forward to basking in the beautiful Florida sun while listening to live music and dancing the day away at SunFest!

SunFest crowd
Photo courtesy of SunFest

For those not in the know, SunFest is the largest waterfront music and art festival in Florida. Every year more than 130,000 attendees fill West Palm Beach’s downtown waterfront to see and be seen at this fun and exciting festival.

The Music

First things first—let’s talk about the lineup. I’m a big country music fan, so I’ll be rocking out in the front row of The Stand for Keith Urban. If you’re dying to see anyone up close, The Stand is the place to be. Available at all three stages, this reserved standing area (there's no seating here—it's all about being part of the fun) puts you in close proximity to your favorite act.

There are so many acts I cannot wait to see and different genres for all musical tastes, with acts playing simultaneously on three stages over all four days. The other entertainers I’m looking forward to seeing are Earth, Wind & Fire, Diplo, Bebe Rexha and One Republic. 

Which brings me to my first tip: If you’re really excited for a specific artist or group, arrive with plenty of time to get the best seat for an unforgettable experience. General admission seats are first come, first serve, and the popular acts fill the lawn fast. And on Sunday, the festival concludes with the best fireworks show in town—SunFest goes all out for an unforgettable ending to this four-day event! 

Tickets and Areas

There are so many different ways to experience SunFest, and all are great options. If you want to do it big and have VIP access and a great view of acts on the main stage, The Cove is the spot for you. This ticket is $125 and includes air-conditioned restrooms—a true luxury at an outdoor festival—two cocktails of your choice, and comfortable seating in a more private setting. New to the VIP area this year: $25 will allow you to enjoy an amazing meal prepared by celebrity chefs, to be announced soon. SunFest has totally revamped this area for 2019, and I cannot wait to see all the new additions.

If you’re just going to enjoy the festival and want to cruise around and see everything, a general admission ticket is all you need. These tickets range from $47 for a one-day pass to $94 for a four-day pass. Remember—ticket prices increase on April 27, so purchase in advance for the best value.

Eat and Drink

Enjoying a good meal is key to any successful day at SunFest. Make sure you check out all the great food vendors inside the gates, including barbecue, hot dogs and hamburgers, tacos, noodle bowls and—my favorite in years past—gourmet grilled cheese! I always make a stop at the frozen lemonade stand and then grab a soft pretzel to go with it. If you want to enjoy a sit-down meal, pop over to Avocado Grill or Bradley’s, both located right outside of the main gate.

Delicious cocktails and dancing can be found on SunFest's two floating waterfront bars. Get lost in the moment with a drink in hand surrounded by friends singing and dancing to great music.

Getting Here and Parking

Like any big special event, parking can be stressful if you don’t plan ahead. SunFest provides a great solution to make arriving and parking a breeze. You can pre-purchase parking online prior to the event, starting at $15 for the Governmental Center Garage, $12 for the Judicial Center Garage and $8 for the 4th Street Surface Lot. Or if you’re going to SunFest and don’t want to worry about parking a car, Uber and Lyft are both great options.

If you’re coming from Miami-Dade or Broward counties, jump on the Brightline, soon to be Virgin Trains USA. The high-speed train will drop you off right in downtown West Palm Beach, minutes away from the entrance of SunFest.

A cool feature SunFest offers that you don’t find at most festivals is boat arrivals. You can anchor on Lake Worth Lagoon/the Intracoastal Waterway in front of the SunFest site, and water taxis will bring you into the Waterfront Gate for $5 round-trip. This is such a fun way to make an entrance at the festival! 

What to Wear

Ok now, onto my favorite part…what to wear this year. There are just so many trends I am loving! 

Ashley Martinez festival look

If you’re going during the day, make sure to wear something cool, breezy and casual. Some current looks for this year are shorts sets, flowy maxi dresses and jumpsuits, spring-colored and floral mini dresses, denim shorts and all the cute rompers. Hair accessories can make an outfit, so find a cute scarf or headband to pull together your look, and now’s the time to rock that belt bag you’ve been dying to wear. 

Ashley Martinez festival hair

Comfort is key for SunFest, and shoes are no exception; wear some that you can walk around in without hurting your feet. And your most important accessory has to be sunscreen. It’s spring in South Florida and the sun will be out. Reapply regularly to avoid burning.

I’ll be doing my shopping at Lola Chiq Boutique, Vagabond Apparel, Rapunzels Closet and Sunday State Style. These are all local boutiques that are ready to make you look your best for this year’s festival!

SunFest never disappoints, and I think this will be the best year yet. Make sure to download the SunFest app to make your experience as easy as possible. You can set schedules and reminders for your favorite acts, locate restrooms and other important areas on the map, search food offerings and so much more. And if you want to extend your stay in The Palm Beaches, check out hotel specials in the area.

Can’t wait to see all of you on the beautiful West Palm Beach Waterfront for SunFest 2019!

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Ashley Martinez
Ashley Martinez
Ashley Martinez loves all things fashion. An event planner by day, Ashley decided to take her love and eye for fashion and create a platform around it. A Palm Beach Gardens native, Ashley shares daily looks, does try-on hauls and loves inspiring her followers with outfit inspirations so they can put an end to the frustration of staring at their closet and finding nothing to wear! Follow her on Instagram at @mykindofcasual.