Hell, I’m easy to please. Just the sound of a guitar makes me happy. Put that sound on my hometown beach, I’m in Heaven.

Waves, sand and the sun confronting humanity’s greatest gift…rock n’ roll.

Not since Springfest have I felt Pensacola air saturated with this much music. I remember big concerts at the Civic Center and Bayfront, but the annual Springfest topped those by booking multiple big name acts for one weekend in Downtown Pensacola. 2005 was the last year of Springfest.

Outdoor festivals of that scale were officially dead in Pensacola until 2010.

Enter DeLuna Fest.

I’ve covered all three DeLuna events (links below) and while Springfest opened the door to what Pensacola could do with a music festival, DeLuna blew that door wide open.

Improving every year since the first one, DeLuna officials face a tough task if they want to top 2012’s music festival on Pensacola Beach because…

DeLuna Fest 2012 was the biggest music event in Pensacola history.

As I wrote in my music column for the Pensacola News Journal, “For three days in September, Pensacola was the center of the rock ‘n’ roll universe” and Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Jimmy Cliff, Joan Jett, Bob Mould and Bad Brains lead a lineup of top shelf acts and local talent for an event that surpassed any concert/festival ever held in Pensacola.

DeLuna Fest, Day One:

PEARL JAM: On a day that included Fishbone, Dwight Yoakam, The Gaslight Anthem, Guided by Voices, Chris Thomas King and local groups Deadly Fists of Kung Fu and Pioneers! O Pioneers!, the highlight concert came from the band that helped Seattle take over the world in the 90’s. The first and only time I’d ever witnessed Pearl Jam live was in 1994.

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My interview with Chris Thomas King for GoPensacola.com

 

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My interview with Deadly Fists of Kung Fu for GoPensacola.com

 

The group headlined the “Rock For Choice” concert at the Pensacola Civic Center following the 1993 fatal shooting of Dr. David Gunn by anti-abortionist Michael Griffin.

Eddie Vedder opened Pearl Jam’s Civic Center set with a solo acoustic cover of Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” to start a set of songs from “Ten” and “Vs.” (the only albums Pearl Jam had released).

I was just as excited to see Pearl Jam at DeLuna as I was seeing them in 94.

Nearly 20 years after my only Pearl Jam concert, time and experience sounded damn good on the group. I never imagined the Peal Jam of my Civic Center memories becoming more intense, but they did.

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With numbers like “Do The Evolution” leading into “Porch”, the band drove us crazy for three hours. Pearl Jam was worth the 18 year wait as they performed what I thought would be THE concert of the festival.

Leaving Day One exhausted, I was confident that nothing else could top Pearl Jam’s concert at DeLuna Fest…

– Michael L. Smith

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

TCAS coverage of DeLuna Fest 2011 (Part III) Interview with The Constellations

TCAS coverage of DeLuna Fest 2011 (Part II) Interview with Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction

TCAS coverage of DeLuna Fest 2011 (Part I) TCAS coverage of DeLuna Fest 2010 (Part II)

TCAS coverage of DeLuna Fest 2010 (Part I)

The biggest controversy of DeLuna Fest occurred on Day One of 2012’s festival and involved the festival’s VIP program.

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Here are two links addressing the VIP program and the events of the first night.

Article from Pearl Jam fansite “The Porch” detailing their VIP DeLuna Fest experience

Statement from Festival Organizers Regarding VIP

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