SunFest director: We wanted to stage a Jonas Brothers family reunion

9:16 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018 Community
ST PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 08: The Jonas brothers pose during the red carpet before the We Day Minnesota event at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota on October 8, 2013 (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images for Free the Children)

If it had been possible, SunFest 2018 would have featured all three Jonas brothers.

“There was a point where we realized we had Nick and Joe Jonas,” says Paul Jamieson, the executive director of West Palm Beach’s annual waterfront music and art festival, of the booking of two-thirds of the hit early 2000s-era boy band, with solo artist Nick and brother Joe, singer for group DNCE.

“We were like ‘Can we get more? Get them all! Let’s have a family reunion!’”

Sadly, Kevin, the third Jonas Brother, is nowhere to be found on the schedule announced Wednesday for the May 3-6 downtown waterfront festival. But a lot of other acts are, including Pitbull, Zedd, Girl Talk, Billy Idol, Living Colour, Incubus, Toots and The Maytals, Logic, 311, Cake and KC and The Sunshine Band.

This SunFest will be one day shorter than recent years, omitting Wednesday night and running instead from Thursday to Sunday. However, Jamieson says that the “number of acts didn’t change all that much” because the southernmost JetBlue stage, usually only up and running Friday through Sunday, will be open all four days of the festival.

“We still have 50 acts,” he explains, and thinks that those acts form a very strong lineup, covering not only a variety of tastes but some of the best talent available.

“A lof of people my age ask, ‘Who is your headliner?’” Jamieson says. “And that all depends on what music you like. For us, it might be Pitbull, for others it might be Logic or Zedd, or 311. It all depends. It was a lot of labor trying to get everybody, and make as many people as happy as you can. We know we can’t make everybody happy. But we’re pleased with it.”

The lineup includes some returning favorites like Pitbull, who in 2012 “came in the afternoon, on one of those scorchingly hot SunFest days, with his black suit on,” Jamieson recalls. “We said ‘Why are you wearing that suit?’ and he said ‘If I gotta wear that suit for an hour to make what I’m making, I’ll do it,’ and we were like ‘Good point.’”

Other comeback acts include the always popular 311 and the legendary Billy Idol, whose energetic and delightfully profane 2005 SunFest set “was one of the best we ever had,” festival spokeswoman Melissa Sullivan says. Also returning — Toots and the Maytals, after a three-year hiatus so that lead singer Frederick “Toots” Hibbert could recover from an incident where he was hit with a bottle thrown from the audience while performing in Richmond, Virginia in 2013.

Along with the music is the art, which in 2017 began its transition from a juried show to a “more interactive, craft-oriented” affair, Jamieson says. While the art show has traditionally only been Friday to Sunday, it starts on Thursday, providing lots to see on the walk down to the JetBlue stage.

Making the announcement of the lineup is “a great day for us. It was a lot of work and we’re excited about it,” Jamieson says. “It’s a little bigger in some respects. It’s going to be interesting to see how people react to it.”