Maybe it’s because this town has had so many failures and events that have simply disappeared, such as SpringFest, Pensacola Open, First Night, GraceFest and Emerald Coast Classic. To avoid being let down, the preferred local strategy is to be the first to belittle the event so that one can earn the credit for predicting the failure.
Deluna Fest is where we need to draw a line in the sand. This area needs this festival to have big crowds. Yes, the organizers stumbled out of the gate when it held its first weekend in October 2010 just weeks after BP capped its Deepwater Horizon well. Tourists stayed away and locals saved their BP claim money for new cars, refrigerators and funnel cakes at the Pensacola Interstate Fair.
In 2011, new management brought in a more alternative music line-up, but it took months to land a nationally recognized headliner, Linkin Park. When that band dropped out less than a month before the festival, the promoters had to offer a free ticket to every ticketholder in an effort to draw a decent crowd for the bands. Locals stayed away again, although those who attended had a blast.
This year, Deluna Fest has the right mix of talent, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Zac Brown Band, Florence and the Machine, Dwight Yoakam, Jimmy Cliff and literally dozens of others, for three complete days of quality music. These bands have packed festivals across the country. It’s an all-star lineup that has attracted national media.
SiriusXM on-air talent is traveling to Pensacola Beach to broadcast live shows and air exclusive interviews with the DeLuna Fest acts. Music fans from around the globe will hear about our area while enjoying select performances.
Ticket sales have been steady with a real jump over the past two weeks, but the majority of the tickets are being purchased by fans outside of the area. Locals have been hesitant. This needs to change.
We need to fill the beach the weekend of Sept. 21, 22 and 23. Deluna Fest is a huge promotion for the Greater Pensacola area. People see us as we see ourselves. We need to support one another and show this a community worth visiting and maybe even a community to which they could relocate.
It’s okay to be successful. Really, it is. Let’s make Deluna Fest an event in which we can all take pride. Buy a single day pass, put on some sunscreen and come enjoy the music.