Reelin’ in The Sunshine
Story by Sheldon Robertson and Empress K. Photos © ReggaeReflection.com
The 33rd anniversary of SunFest kicked off on Wednesday, April 29th. Perfect weather ensued over the course of the five day festival attracting what appeared to be capacity crowds each day at Florida’s largest art and music festival located on the beautiful waterfront location along Flagler Drive in downtown West Palm Beach, FL. Our Island Stage and Reggae Reflection team coverage for the final day of SunFest on Sunday, May 3rd included the afternoon Reggae sets of Iration and Matisyahu, both performing to an overflowing audience at the small FPL stage. Reggae was not the only theme for the day; stay tuned for our additional Day 5 coverage of The Pixies and Fall Out Boy closing out the 33rd Annual edition of SunFest.
Iration (FPL Stage, 1:30p.m.)
The blue sky of SunFest’s final day was complemented by the “sunshine reggae” of this Hawaiian/Californian band during their first performance at SunFest. Guitarist/frontman Micah Pueschel led the band through a sampling of the group’s nine years’ worth of releases, and also a couple new songs. The upbeat single “Reelin” was released about a week before that show, and “Midnight”, a track from the upcoming summer release “Hotting Up” was also performed. The appreciative college-aged audience sang along with a lot of the material, which included crowd favourites such as “Turn Around” and “Summer Nights.” The group’s other guitarist/vocalist Micah Brown sang lead for the Bob Marley cover “Is This Love”, with bassist Adam Taylor smiling behind his shades the whole show. The encore consisted of more popular material: “Falling” and “Time Bomb.”
Matisyahu (FPL Stage, 3:15 p.m.)
It’s been three years since Matisyahu and his 3 piece band Dub Trio last performed at SunFest. At that time, Matisyahu had recently transformed his image with short blonde hair, a clean shaven face and without his yarmulke. This year, Matisyahu has slightly transformed his image again; his hair is slightly longer, definitely more gray than blonde and he now has a short graying beard, for the time being at least. What hasn’t changed is the quality of the message in his music and the love of his fans. We thought he had a capacity crowd during his last performance on the same stage at SunFest. We had no idea until we saw the massive crowd in attendance this year, all trying to fit into the small FPL stage area.
The late afternoon set included music from most of his albums including his 5th studio album, “Akeda”, released in June of 2014. For his closing song he performed his chart topping song “One Day”, a song expressing hope for peace from his 2009 album, “Light”. Matisyahu then invited many of his enthusiastic fans to join the celebration on stage, some waving Israeli flags. We fully expect that the next time Matisyahu performs at SunFest, he will be scheduled for one of the larger festival stages where his fans will have even more room to embrace the unique blend of Reggae Music that Matisyahu brings to the fans.
Enjoy the slideshow!!