Toasted skin, memories of an elevated existence, and sore cheeks under a January sun. Sunshine Music Festival St. Pete delivered all of the above. Tedeschi Trucks Band certainly understands how to throw a party in the winter. The waterfront views of Vinoy Park blended well with the eclectic mix of sound. I traveled from the dead of winter in Colorado, so my gratitude was considerable because of the warm weather and the attire or lack there of that the weather enabled. St. Petersburg, FL is a stunning peninsula akin to a small slice of heaven on the west coast of Florida. Traveling to the festival by boat set the tone for the type of experience the day would provide. As the tunes of the festival came into earshot, we joined a cluster of mariners enjoying the festival from their decks. “What a scene,” I said to myself as I hopped onto the seawall.
Attending an event with a group of music-lovers that climaxed around thirty-five persons, who all enjoy one another warrants attention. This is the allure that live-music offers. An environment of high energy and happiness that is as close to perfect as any human-gathering currently available. Find a group of people that cannot stop dancing, hugging, and smiling and your soul will shine bright and full. To the artists that provide these moments of pure and unadulterated joy, we say thank you with every ounce of appreciation we carry. These are the memories we festivalgoers will cling to on the days that are sullen and gray. The members of these groups of lovers, artists, friends, and family hold mounds of fortune in their hands. I’m grateful to have a collection of people to call home.
A few standout moments from the festival other than all of the love with my people are as follows:
Susan Tedeschi serenading the crowd with the band’s booming hit “Midnight in Harlem.”
Mavis Staples, at seventy-seven years young, conveying the most energetic performance of the day. Truthfully, she danced, sang, and smiled more than anyone else, and it wasn’t even close.
JRAD crushing “Eyes of the World,” “Shakedown Street,” and closing with “One More Saturday Night.” The dead heads were noticeably pleased.
Bruce Hornsby not playing “The Way It Is.” This song accounts for three of Hornsby’s top five Spotify songs with the next best song thirteen million plays behind. This was definitely the only miss of the entire day.
Railroad Earth, a band that headlines many festivals, playing at 2:00 PM during the hottest part of the day to a crowd of sweat-drenched dancing bluegrass fanatics. No one seemed to mind the salty aroma.
The festival exceeded expectations, and the quality of the music played helped me accept paying $10+ for a drink. The beauty of the venue and the talent on the lineup demand our return in 2018, and it should have your attention moving forward. Thanks for the memories Sunshine.