A Trip Down Memory Lane

13336065_10105196568297322_1084918144906468886_nHello South Florida! My name is Cassie Morien and I am truly humbled to be returning as your official blogger for SunFest 2017.

The past 12 months have been some of the fastest in my life. It’s incredible to think SunFest will be here again in just a handful of weeks! I was lucky to have filled 2016 with spellbinding concerts, mutli-weekend music festivals, and new career opportunities. In December, I happily turned 30 years old. I’ve always loved celebrating birthdays (including my own), but this one was extra sweet. Turning 30 is a milestone for all, and for me it means I’ve been reporting on music and festivals for more than half of my life.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I can’t recall a time where I wasn’t daydreaming about books or experimenting with words. My love for music journalism was stirred in high school. While attending Boynton Beach Community High School, a thoughtful teacher suggested I reach out to the Sun Sentinel.

I’ll never forget wandering about my parent’s kitchen on a landline (*gasp*) talking to Oline Cogdill, a senior copy editor with the paper. I can’t fathom how awkward and nervous I was, as she patiently inquired about my interests.

Did I like movies? Nope.

Did I care about TV shows? Not at all.

Did I like music? Yes. Yes, I did.

At 15 years young, I became a paid freelancer for a column called TeenTime, to which I credit my entire career.

The Sun Sentinel was my introduction to journalism and I fell head over heels. I loved interviewing bands big and small, covering pop-culture news, rushing to meet deadlines, and studying under my brilliant editors. My passion directed me to the University of Central Florida, where I was accepted into their competitive reporting program. Orlando was also a prime pit stop for touring bands and I was able to continue freelancing for local music zines.

13138937_10105107463938172_5064467038035010658_nWhen I graduated, finding a job in general, let alone in journalism, was almost impossible. It took more than a year, but I finally found a home a Boca Raton magazine. When I wasn’t writing about fashion and local events, I found excuses to interview bands and offer reviews. It was my dream job…except it was in South Florida.

Born and raised in Boynton Beach, I knew that if I wanted to expand my music palette, year round, I’d have to venture elsewhere. Leaving my family, friends, and Publix for Texas was one of the hardest, and best, decisions I’ve ever made. This June, I’ll celebrate my fourth year living in Austin, Texas. This city was built on sound, designed for music lovers. It keeps my insatiable hunger for new music at bay every day.

But there is one thing Austin can’t offer me: A festival by the sea.

SunFest is like no other music festival. (I assure you. I’ve been to plenty.) Each year, some of our most beloved bands and musicians travel to West Palm Beach for five incredible days. You’re invited to celebrate the sun and all things local with these artists, all while swaying next to breezy palm trees and dancing lights. The thought of it makes my heart ache. It’s the best homecoming in the world.

And after nearly three decades of attending SunFest, this year will be my sixth year as your guide. It is the honor of my lifetime.

I’ll see you soon, South Florida.