Normally, at around this time next week, South Floridians are bracing themselves for the return of SunFest, historically Palm Beach County’s biggest annual tourism driver, and our unofficial signpost for the beginning of another long, hot summer. Of course, there will not be a SunFest this year, with organizers making the prudent choice to refrain from hosting a super-spreader event just when the COVID numbers are ticking in a positive direction.
This too shall pass, but until it does, I thought it would be time to revisit the festival’s longtime bona fides in my latest Pandemic Playlist. Critical as I was of the aborted 2020 lineup, SunFest has enjoyed some 20 years of booking some of the most important names in music through its trademark peripatetic approach to genre. This playlist is a curated sample of 23 of its brightest musical luminaries from 2000 to 2019.
One melancholic side note: We lost three of these artists last year alone, two from COVID: Toots Hibbard of Toots & the Maytals, Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne, and Charlie Daniels.
Wilco, I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real, Turn Off the News (Build a Garden)
The Joy Formidable, Maw Maw Song
Bastille, Things We Lost in the Fire
Fiona Apple, Under the Table
Jimmy Cliff, You Can Get It If You Really Want
Toots and the Maytals, Funky Kingston
Funkadelic, Free Your Mind
James Brown, Say it Loud, I’m Black and Proud
Isaac Hayes, Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic
Herbie Hancock, Rain Dance
Kendrick Lamar, The Blacker the Berry
The Roots, Rolling With Heat
Pixies, The Happening
Wavves, Poor Lenore
Weezer, The Good Life
B-52s, Throw That Beat in the Garbage Can
Fountains of Wayne, Bright Future in Sales
Cake, Comfort Eagle
Charlie Daniels Band, Uneasy Rider
Bob Dylan, Shelter From the Storm
See below for a full Spotify playlist of these songs.