May 4, 2008

To Heck with SunFest: the Real Deal is in Fort Lauderdale.

I lived in West Palm Beach for many years. SunFest was still free, back then. It was still the friendly little jazz festival along the lake, something special for the people of Palm Beach County. It was a way to say farewell to the tourist season, a chance to take in one last break in the sun before summer kicks in. That's gone the way of a dollar a gallon gas and fifty cent coffee.

Now you pay to walk the streets your tax dollars built; I shudder when I consider parking fees. It's a boon to restaurants and hotels, but the theaters take a hit, and what kind of cultural event closes down the library for a week? Sure, there are big-name acts, but when did Sheryl Crow or Little Feat become jazz acts? Not much jazz left at what's become a slick and profitable operation. A few years back, the management sued a local artist because he painted a picture of the event and had the audacity to call it "SunFest." No, the friendly little festival is now a cold, greedy money machine.

Screw 'em. We don't need them. There's a real jazz festival every month along the river in Fort Lauderdale; not only is it FREE, not only can you bring your DOG, you can set up tarps and have a picnic while the jazz drifts past you, born on the same breezes carrying the smells of fresh food.

I'm talking about the SunTrust Sunday Jazz Brunch in Fort Lauderdale. That's right, the first Sunday of every month, you can hear some of the best LOCAL jazz bands in South Florida. No pop-music shills, here.

I took some pictures of this Sunday's event; and I promise you, I didn't get it all. Here are the highlights, and more can be found on Flickr

Nicole Henry talks with the band
Nicole Henry

Camped out on the Plaza to listen to Nicole Henry

Time For Jazz!!

Jazz on the River
Everyone loves jazz on the river

Dancing to Jazz Music
I do mean everyone.

Watching the boats go by

The Porcelain Quartet
The Porcelain Quartet in the Broward Center's Peck Courtyard.

Jazz, Picnic Brunch, and Boats
Yes, you can really take your boat to Sunday Jazz Brunch.

Jazz Brunch under the trees
Plenty of shade in the Historic Village


  1. Great post, CLJ. I agree totally, the Jazz Brunch is very special, but it certainly has grown since I last attended.


  2. Thanks, Rick. It's grown, but it's not overwhelming. In fact, the crowd was less this month due to SunFest.