De Luna Fest is the revival of America's original beach festival, and the start of the city of Pensacola's 50 year count down to its 500 year anniversary.  The annual beach festival event will celebrate the arrival of Don Tristan de Luna to Pensacola.  De Luna was a Spanish conquistador during the 16th century credited with settling Pensacola. In 1559, he set out on an expedition to establish Europe's first settlement in North America. De Luna brought with him a fleet of 13 ships, 1500 soldiers and settlers. He encountered difficult winds that extended the journey across the Gulf of Mexico.  After the long and difficult voyage to what is now known as Pensacola, De Luna and his crew had a party on the beach in celebration of the expedition's safe arrival. De Luna Fest is the revival of his original beach festival. [courtesy of]

The 2010 Inaugural festival kicked off with TK101's and De Luna Festival's opening act contest winners Phunky Blue Moon, of Mobile, AL.  These guys brought their hip hop deep funky rhythm to the stage, as the gates opened mid afternoon on Friday.  What a great way to start the festival, with the crowd grooving in and stopping to say "Who is this funky band?"


While Pico Vs. Island Trees played followed by Matt Kenon, I found myself wandering around taking in the sights and grounds of the festival.  Set up right on Casino Beach, between the pier and The Dock, this festival site just fit like a puzzle piece.  The iconic Pensacola Beach Ball water tower stood right in the middle of the paved area which housed the stage.  On the beach was the massive double stage all the way to the water.  Images such as this surf board by Waterboyz could be seen in the vending area.

 As the crowd continued to file into the festival grounds and the sounds of constant music could be heard through this gorgeous afternoon, back over at the stage, Benjy Davis Project took the stage for what was sure to be a great southern Louisiana sounding performance.  When they broke into "Louisiana Saturday Night", the crowd joined in and sang along.  The energy was building on the beach this afternoon!



Down at the Wind Creek Stage, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zero's took the stage.  There was a stage full of people for this very pleasant orchestral style modern band.  They are well known for a Ford Commercial background song, "Janglin" and yes, this was played to the children of the audience, as Edward Sharpe asked for them to come forward and sing along.  I found this set extremely enjoyable and listened to the entire performance.

Next up was The Submarines, which had a female vocalist; their melodic sounds were very fitting to their name.  They even played a very up- and-down underwater sounding tune entitled "Submarine Symphonica."  This song truly captured the essence of this band. 

Over the background of The Submarines show emerged the loud and southern rock band, Blackberry Smoke.  These guys threw down a good ole' boy southern rock show, that was a big hit with the crowd.



As the sun finally set, everyone in the festival seemed to be very excited for the return of Bush to the Pensacola area.  The band last played Pensacola right before they took an eight year hiatus, and what better way to have a renuion tour but to visit Pensacola again as one of their first stops on tour.  The fans welcomed Gavin Rossdale and crew with open arms and lots of screaming.  They played a great classic hits set that really had the crowd buzzing, opening with "Machinehead."











The night moved forward with the groovy tunes of Paper Tongues, the Cure-like punk rock sounds of The Bravery, and the country star Dierks Bentley, who was a huge hit with the country fans that had gathered at the Bud Light Stage. 


The final performance of the day would be the huge act, Daughtry; they were a major success for De Luna Fest.  The white sands were packed for this event on the Wind Creek Stage right beside the Gulf of Mexico.  They performed all the big crowd pleasers.  What a great first day!   





















Saturday started off late for me, I made it just in time to the Wind Creek Stage for Michael Franti and Spearhead, one of my personal favorites of the weekend.  Michael Franti carries a great message of love and happiness, and really gets the crowd united as a group versus a bunch of individuals.  Michael Franti came down off the stage to sing to the audience, and he also brought members of the audience including children on stage to sing with him.  He played a great set including is new songs "Hey, Hey, Hey", "Shake It", and "The Sound of Sunshine" 

New Politics took the stage after the Michael Franti and spearhead set for a very good and solid rock, punk, alternative set.  I was unfamiliar with the group but I enjoyed these guys from start to finish.  While their set was going on 20 seconds to Mars was playing their rock style ballads in the backgound.  The crowd seemed to enjoy them from where I was sitting.


As the sun once again disappeared behind the Gulf of Mexico, I was getting ready for Better Than Ezra, these guys put on great shows and tonight was no exception, they played crowd pleasers one after another.  However I had to leave this show a bit early to get ready for the much anticipated 311 show back down by the water.  311 had a huge crowd waiting on them in the white sands, and they opened with "Come Original" and the crowd went nuts.  They played music off the new album such as "India Ink" to old favorites as "Amber."




The last show of the evening the reunion of Stone Temple Pilots, and when I say the crowd was ready for this one, we'll they were crowded around the Bud Light Stage chanting STP prior to the show in much anticipation.  When the lights finally dropped and the roar of the crowd settled, The STP group, played all the favorites including Creep, Wicked Garden, amongst many other hits.  Another strong finish to the second day of this fantastic beach festival.


The third and final day of the Inaugural De Luna Festival kicked off for me at the Wind Creek Stage for The Revivalists.  They were a new alternative style band that had soulful roots with a newer sound.  I really enjoyed their set.  Next up was Big Sam's Funky Nation which was a power set of funky bass, trombones, and trumpets.  Another beautiful day and more great music to come.  Following Big Sam was another trumpet player Kermit Ruffins and The Barbeque Swingers, wow what great back to back funky, jazz sets.




It appeared that Kermit Ruffins, who is a New Orleans native, decided to bring along the heavy hitters from the Big Easy.  Next up was Cowboy Mouth, who without a doubt are high energy show people.  It was Fred Leblanc's birthday and he was really having a great time and keeping his energy level through the roof!  That set was full of their classics and they had the crowd up and jumping from start to finish.  Following Cowboy Mouth was the new and upcoming New
Orleans funky bayou band Honey Island Swamp Band.  Led by Pensacola native, Aaron Wilkinson, this band is one to keep an eye on!




Continuing with the great New Orleans bands that came to serenade Pensacola Beach this fantastic Sunday was none other than Galactic.  This massive blend of horns, drums, keys, bass, and guitar will surely impress any music lover.  The fact that they will simply just break down a simple song into a fantastic jam of funky deliciousness is awesome.  What a great time with Galactic, if you do not know them, You should try it out!





Last but surely not least was the greatest country icon Willie Nelson, walking onto the Bud Light Stage with the opening notes of "Whiskey River."  Willie was such a great pleasure to see, he did all the classics from "Crazy" to "Georgia" to "Always on My Mind."  A true honor to see this great legend.  There is no other way to end a great three day festival, I can't wait to see what they do in the spring 2011???













Written By: Clayton Roberts

Photography By: Clayton Roberts

Edited By: Rosemary A.W. Roberts