The end of September consisted of a LOT of conversations with Angela about driving to Pensacola, Florida for DeLuna Fest. As much as she tried to twist my arm...I just couldn't pull it off with the work obligations I had. (Trust me, I would have rather been on the beach than working thanklessly for the third weekend in a row...) Luckily though, Angela and The Boy managed to find a way there - for free. Read on all all her festival fun!
Hi all! Guest Groupie here! How do you get to go to a three-day music festival in beautiful sunny Pensacola, Florida for free? Here’s how!
Thanks to South Florida Music Obsessed for giving away the tickets!!!
DeLuna Fest 2011
Day 1:The Boy and I left at 4 a.m. The first band on my lineup played at 4:30 p.m. We had a nine and a half hour drive, and we wanted to pass through New Orleans since it was not too far off the path. Bad idea.
Forty-five minutes later we had made our way out of the 15MPH traffic and navigated out of the narrow French Quarter streets without hitting any pedestrians, which for that alone we deserve an award. And what did we have to show for it? Nothing. We never even stopped the car.
We arrived at our hotel in North Pensacola, checked-in, changed and headed to the beach hoping we’d find parking and get our wristbands in time to see Saints of Valory on stage. In actuality, we did better because we were able to catch the last few songs of Ra Ra Riot's set on the main stage. I had only ever heard a few of their songs on Pandora before, but after hearing their live set and seeing the energy they exhibited on stage, I was more than impressed and now call myself a fan. Their music is poppy and enlivening and Wes Miles voice is perfect for making you smile. In short, their music is simply fun.
On the way to the GoPensacola.com stage to catch SOV, we grabbed our obligatory Grooveshark water bottles and caught up with the guys of Quiet Company. It’s always interesting to talk with those guys. Case in point: the conversation including a tiger and a gas station. (More on that later.)
|Saints of Valory at DeLuna Fest|
We didn’t stay after to say hello to the guys. (Sorry guys!) Instead, we jogged across the festival grounds to one of the two beach stages to catch Matt and Kim. Now, I will say I am a fan of Matt and Kim, and they are AMAZING performers as far as putting on a show and keeping the crowd entertained. I will also say, that as far as their set choices and quality of the live sound, I was not impressed. The Boy and I stayed for four songs and every other one was a cover of a crappy popular rap/rock song played badly in Matt and Kim style. I had never seen them live before then, so I have no idea if that is a typical show for them or if it was something special they were doing just for DeLuna Fest. I would have been much happier to hear WAY more Matt and Kim and maybe one or two covers. My “worth the drive” meter went down a few notches as the padded away from the stage to find an alternative.
|Navigating the festival grounds|
Next up on the main stage was a band that I feel is kind of the soundtrack to my life right now, Cold War Kids. The first time I heard them on Pandora, I thought they sounded just like another band I really liked. Since then, I have completely forgotten what that other band was and have replaced whoever that band was with Cold War Kids. They played many songs from my two favorite albums “Robbers & Cowards” and “Loyalty to Loyalty.” One thing I REALLY like about this band, is that I can always decode the lyrics to all the songs I hear. I guess I’m the kind of person that likes to participate in my music. I feel like that makes for a more intimate connection to it. So when a band not no only makes good music, but music that I can sing along to easily WITHOUT having to Google the lyrics, I’m easily sold. I was probably the happiest person alive when they played my all-time favorite song, Hospital Beds. I love the sentiment of the lyrics the most and it’s one of those songs that puts me in a trance-like state. I like iTunes description of their sound best “rich vintage guitar tones and a soulful singer that inflects like he’s channeling the spirit of Jeff Buckley one moment and Billie Holiday the next.”
Cake was up next on what you could call the second “main stage” since it was directly across from the other a ways down the beach. I thought the set up was strange a first but then found it really kind of clever actually when I realized that you could still hear the band as you were walking to the other stage and I didn’t have to miss anything. Now, I have to say that I have not really ever called myself a “fan” of Cake. I mean that it the way of, I never spent money on one of their albums or made a Pandora station for them, but I do enjoy when one of their songs comes on the radio, or The Boy wants to play their CD in the car. That being said, I have decided that if you think a band it just “okay,” go see them live and you will think they ROCK. Cake totally took control of the stage and their music in a way that only seasoned musicians and performers can. They were so comfortable with the stage and their sound that it’s hard to believe that they would ever not be performing. For a band that’s been around for nearly 20 years, it’s to be expected. I agree with Quiet Company front man Taylor Muse when he said, “Cake could have played for another hour.” They totally could have. With seven albums spanning 17 years, I’m sure that they could have filled up a five hour set.
|Weezer at DeLuna Fest|
We didn’t stay for any of the following bands, which included Girl Talk, Rehab and Ladytron. Instead we headed out exhausted and satisfied looking forward to day two of DeLuna Fest. Check out the shirt I made for day one!
|The Guest Groupie's SOV shirt|