SunFest, South Florida's premier music festival, likely enjoyed record crowds this year (we'll get exact figures in the coming weeks). But for West Palm Beach condo dwellers, that isn't necessarily a good thing.
As music equipment becomes more sophisticated, bands gets louder. Fans love it. City officials aren't so sure.
Commissioners Kimberly Mitchell and Sylvia Moffett raised the issue at Monday's commission meeting, saying that five nights of loud music that goes on until 11 p.m. on the waterfront could be problematic. Mitchell pointed out that concertgoers were partying on the temporary barges until 2 a.m.
"We need to have a better conversation about this," she said.
Mitchell suggested ending the music early. She pointed out that The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (a.k.a. Jazz Fest) only goes until 7 p.m. That is sort of true.
Jazz Fest, a two-weekend annual event that is probably the best music experience in the world, has two different components. The actual festival, which features bands from across the music spectrum, takes place on the fairgrounds — about a 15-minute cab ride from Bourbon Street. Shows end at 7 p.m.
But then much of the action picks up at night when bars, clubs, theaters and arenas across New Orleans feature bands throughout the night. There is literally 24 hours of music during Jazz Fest. This year, Howlin' Wolf (The Den) featured shows at 2 a.m., 4 a.m. and The Breakfast Jam at 6 a.m. The music never stops.
Austin City Limits, probably the next biggest national music festival after Jazz Fest, has music until 10 p.m. in Austin, Texas' central public park. And like Jazz Fest, ACL has aftershows at various venues across the city.
So what should SunFest do? Should the festival shut down early and the city encourage bands to play at venues after dark? Are there even enough venues for that? Should SunFest move to the fairgrounds or Currie Park as some have suggested? Or should the festival remain as is?