Sunfest Soundtrack [2018]

Just a few songs from some of the acts at Sunfest this year:


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Sheldon’s Sunfest Diary [2017]

It may seem weird that I published a post on last year’s edition of Sunfest at a time when this year’s edition is underway, but I wanted to document the last five-day version of this West Palm waterfront festival, as it is unlikely we will ever see another Sunfest of that length again.  The Palm Beach Post reported that the Sunfest committee has cited rising entertainment costs as the reason for the shorter duration this year, and given that those costs are probably not going to go down, it seems to safe assume that the days of a Wednesday opening are over. So allow me the indulgence of capturing all five days of music for the final time…

Day 1:  The Strumbellas, Snoop Dogg, Weezer

An eclectic slate for the festival’s opening day


Day 2: Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals

After a 30-minute weather delay, this California singer-songwriter and his band stormed the stage.


Day 3: Ziggy Marley

The eldest son of reggae legend Bob Marley put on a lively, well-received performance


Day 4: Night Ranger, Loverboy

’80s classic-rock ruled the afternoon


Day 5: Ambrosia, Christopher Cross, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Steve Winwood

Two soft-rock veterans, followed by two healthy doses of blue-eyed soul



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Sunfest: Looking Back, Look Ahead

In addition to previews of this year’s edition, which starts on the evening of Thursday, May 3rd, this post also contains links to concert reviews for the previous year’s edition of West Palm’s music and art festival, likely the last of the five-day version of Sunfest.

Sunfest 2017 Reviews:

Sheldon’s Sunfest Diary


Sunfest 2018 Previews:

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A Tale of Two Independence Days

In honour of the two Independence Days celebrated just days apart (i.e., Canada Day on July 1st and the Fourth of July), here a couple of photos from Sunfest 2017 that seem relevant to the subject:


Second-generation reggae musician Ziggy Marley

At first glance, it might seem odd that the oldest son of reggae legend Bob Marley would be wearing the Stars and Stripes in concert. But Ziggy, whose hits include “True To Myself”, has demonstrated an independent streak in recent years.  In addition to living in the States (in Beverly Hills, CA), I suspect the attraction for Ziggy to this particular shirt was the quote “Land of the Free” from “The Star-Spangled Banner”, since freedom is a lyrical theme that is highlighted in a number of his recent songs.

Frontman Mike Reno

Loverboy front-man Mike Reno

In addition to The Strumbellas on Day 1 of the festival, America’s northern neighbour was also represented at Sunfest by ’80s pop-rock band Loverboy on the afternoon of Day 4. This group is best known for its hit single “Working for the Weekend”, and the Canadian colloquialism for a long weekend is a “2-4 weekend”, a reference to the number of beers in a case (i.e., 24), so presumably Canadians work even harder for those weekends. This year, Canada Day fell on a Saturday but was observed on the following Monday, so the 150th anniversary of Canada’s independence was indeed celebrated with a proper 2-4 weekend. Loverboy would have it no other way.

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Sunfest 2017 Day 1: The Strumbellas, Snoop Dogg, Weezer

Weezer -- Brian Bell, Rivers Cuomo, Scott Shriner

Weezer musicians: (l-r) guitarist Brian Bell, frontman Rivers Cuomo, bassist Scott Shriner

Check out  my blog post on the 2017 festival’s first day to read more about the performances of Canadian folk-rockers The Strumbellas, rap legend Snoop Dogg and alt-rock veterans Weezers.


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Interview: Friction Farm

Christine & Aidan at the Library

Christine Stay and Aidan Quinn in the back cover photo of the album “I Read Your Book”

I sat down with acoustic duo Friction Farm at a Rocco’s Tacos on February 2nd, 2014, Super Bowl Sunday, just prior to a gig the group was playing at the Boca Raton library. We were there for guacamole, margaritas and a conversation about the group’s current release at the time, I Read Your Book.  While the discussion mainly centered on specific tracks from that album, it often progressed into a more general talk about certain themes embodied in the songs such as politics, religion, the environment, creativity, books and who has the say in what Friction Farm lyrics say. Not to mention the mysterious Laundry Cycle…

The interview lasted nearly eighteen minutes and yielded 3,000 words, which are transcribed below in three parts:

Part I

Part II

Part III


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Interview: Friction Farm [Part III]

Christine & Aidan at the Library

Christine Stay and Aidan Quinn in the back cover photo of the album “I Read Your Book”

In this final segment of the interview, we discussion playing in libraries, the value of reading, and the accidental Friction Farm Laundry Cycle.

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Interview: Friction Farm [Part II]

Friction Farm West Palm III

Christine Stay and Aidan Quinn performing at the West Palm Beach Library, January 2016

In this segment of the interview, the discussion of the track “Somewhere In The Nowhere” is continued, then the conversation moved on to the track “You Always Bring Me Down” and lyrics that may or may not make Aidan uncomfortable.

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Interview: Friction Farm [Part I]

Christine Stay

Friction Farm bassist/vocalist Christine Stay

“We’re going to do this as a way to spark our creativity”

In the first segment of the interview, we discuss the album cover photo and concept, and we also talk about the specific tracks “Normal”, “Let It Rain” and “Somewhere In The Nowhere.”

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“The band you’ve known for all these years…” [June 2007 Article]


The Sgt. Pepper gatefold [Photo by Robert Fraser]

Can it really be forty years since Sgt. Pepper first taught the band to play? On June 1, 1967 in their native England (and on the following day in America) The Beatles released what continues to be the most critically-acclaimed album of the rock era, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Still, it seems hard to believe that four decades have passed since the world was first introduced to a work that has remains timeless through the years. Chalk that up to an effective combination of  the group’s creative talents with producer George Martin’s diverse musical and recording background. An innovative blend of rock with classical, jazz, Indian and avant-garde influences, Sgt. Pepper always feels like an album out of time,  evocative of its era even whilst transcending it.

I personally experienced the timeless appeal of Pepper about fifteen years after its release. Prior to listening this album in its entirety, I was merely an accidental Beatle listener, like everyone else in the ’70s that grew up within range of a radio. But after hearing the orchestral crescendo of A Day In The Life for the first time, I passed into the realm of serious Beatle fandom. So happy fortieth, Sgt. Pepper, and thanks for helping a young Jamaican music acolyte understand what the fuss was about an English group that had disbanded before he’d even made it to kindergarten…

“Someone asked me the other day would I ever have changed anything. No. I would never have changed one thing.”

— Geoff Emerick, Beatles sound engineer, on the Sgt. Pepper album [St. Petersburg Times, May 31, 2007]

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