Florida’s largest music festival is fast approaching. For more than 25 years, SunFest music festival has been West Palm Beach’s waterfront tradition for some of the best music, art and food around.
This year, the festival begins on Wednesday, May 3, 2017, and the fun continues through the weekend, ending with the BB&T Firework Show at 9 p.m. Sunday, May 7, 2017. Each year, approximately 275,000 guests travel from South Florida and beyond to celebrate at this exciting event together. This year’s incredible music lineup features top artists Tori Kelly, X Ambassadors, Fetty Wap, Rachel Platten, Jon Bellion, Tinashe, 3 Doors Down, Flo Rida, Macklemore, Blink-182 and more.
But, unfortunately, with highly crowded waterfront stages, dining areas and even floating bars, comes greater risk for slip-and-fall incidents, car accidents after the event, and other similar personal injury-related occurrences. To ensure SunFest remains as safe a celebration as possible, here are some of the best ways to avoid injury while attending this popular event:
Tip #1: Familiarize yourself with road closures and drive with caution.
SunFest is within close proximity to some of Florida’s biggest cities (like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Orlando), so traffic to and from the event will be heavy. SunFest is set up in downtown West Palm Beach along with Intracoastal Waterway on Flagler Drive. The festival grounds stretch from Banyan Blvd. to Lakeview Drive.
With nearly a quarter million attendees, a lot of traffic is to be expected. SunFest offers advance-purchase parking in select garages for those planning ahead. Know where you’re going to park before you leave for the event, so you can limit distractions and confusion among the many drivers.
Additionally, stay aware of surrounding drivers’ actions—many will be focused on finding parking or following their GPS and will be less focused on safe driving. Arrive as early as possible and stick around until the crowds let up after the event to help limit congestion and potential accident areas.
Per SunFest’s website, the Florida Department of Transportation encourages festival-goers to use the 511 Traveler Information System to receive updates on road delays, closures and construction. 511 information is available via mobile app, Twitter updates from @FL511_Southeast, FL511.com, or by simply dialing 511.
SunFest recommends other safe travel options, such as the Water Taxi, bike valet, or trolleys, tri-rail, and buses. Taking advantage of these public transportation options can alleviate some traffic congestion and ensure you arrive and depart from festival grounds safely.
Tip #2: Avoid dangerous situations and areas.
As this event takes place on West Palm Beach’s Intracoastal Waterway, there are additional dangers to be aware of. Be careful around intoxicated attendees when near the waterfront walls or borders. Do not go into the Intracoastal or venture into the water in any way, as this could be harmful and is prohibited.
Know which artists you want to see and which members of your group you plan to stick with. If you find yourself splitting up to see a specific performance or explore a different area than your group desires, be sure to have a way to communicate with them. Do not venture off into low-populated sections of the city alone. Stick to the festival grounds to remain in the eyes of the public and protected from potential harm.
Tip #3: Create a plan and stick to it.
Before heading to SunFest, be sure to plan out your evening or day, each day. The schedule is posted on the SunFest site and you can even download the SunFest mobile app for your convenience. Knowing the location of food areas, bathrooms, floating bars, parking garages, music stages, etc., can alleviate confusion, help you determine meet-up spots, and give you an overall familiarity of the busy area.
Staying in a group or even just pairing up during the event is recommended for avoiding personal injury or crime. When packing belongings, leave any valuable items behind to avoid them being lost or stolen among a large crowd. Avoid leaving your bags or belongings unattended to prevent theft.
Tip #4: Equip and protect yourself.
Staying safe and alert is essential to keeping yourself out of harm’s way. Florida heat in May can be very intense, so we recommend staying hydrated at all times. Find shady areas and tents for shelter from the sun for periods of time. Using hats and sunscreen are also encouraged, especially for days like Saturday and Sunday when events start at noon. Also, keep shoes on at all times. In the heat and near water, it can be tempting to remove your shoes, but keeping them on helps to avoid stepping on dangerous boardwalk or street debris.
When watching the performers, avoid crowding the front of the stage where it is easier to become trapped or trampled by storming fans. Watching from the back or sides of the performance area is recommended for maximum safety.
Lastly, keep watch of your drinks. SunFest is known for its floating bars with unique drink offerings. It’s best to never leave your drink unattended and avoid accepting drinks from individuals you don’t know or trust.
What to Do If An Injury Occurs Anyway:
Educating yourself on safety and personal injury prevention during large-scale events such as SunFest is very important, but sometimes accidents are simply unavoidable. Here are some steps to follow if an accident does occur:
Photographic or video evidence is helpful, as well as gathering the contact information of witnesses in the surrounding area.
Seek medical attention.
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident in West Palm Beach traveling to or from the event, it’s crucial that you seek medical attention right away. In fact, it must be within 14 days. Learn more about personal injury protection (PIP) in Florida now.
Keep your receipts.
If you or your loved one have to undergo any medical treatment or ambulance rides after your accident, track your expenditures throughout the process. They may be needed for your personal injury case if you decide to seek legal representation.
Hire a personal injury lawyer.
Cohen and Cohen Law, a trusted West Palm Beach personal injury law firm to represent your case or simply provide helpful legal advice. We offer a free case evaluation and are dedicated to helping you every step of the way after a personal injury.