Exploring Entertainment in Florida's 850 & Beyond
When the 6th annual Foo Foo Festival opens in Pensacola, Fla. on October 31, visitors will find a plethora of music events to fit nearly any musical taste or inclination. From rap and classical, swing and step, brass and blues, funk and Dixieland to choral and songwriting, this year’s fall arts festival runs the gamut of musical genres and offers something, quite literally, for everyone. The Foo Foo Fest, one of the Southeast’s largest arts and culture festivals, takes place October 31 – November 11 and is produced by the nonprofit organization, Art, Culture, and Entertainment, Inc. (ACE).
“Music is essential to Pensacola’s rich cultural history and this year we’re hosting an impressive array of diverse musical genres, artists and offerings,” said Foo Foo Fest Committee Chair Maria Goldberg. “In addition to diversity in music, we invite everyone to join us in the Culture Capitol of the Southeast as we feature not only world-class music, but esteemed entertainment headliners.”
Toward the beginning of the festival on November 2, guests can enjoy internationally-acclaimed classical piano virtuoso Garrick Ohlsson as he joins the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra to perform the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1, a pillar of the Romantic repertoire. The concert also includes works by two of Brahms’ contemporaries, Overture, Scherzo, and Finale by Robert Schumann and Die schöne Melusine by Mendelssohn. Also on November 2, StompFest arrives in Pensacola for the 2019 Invitational Step Show. The 125-year-old African American college fraternity/sorority tradition of “stepping” is a genre which uses dance movement and music to tell a story visually. Hosted by comedian and internet sensation Haha Davis, StompFest also features performances by multi-Grammy nominated musician Marsha Ambrosius and DJ Mannie Fresh.
Swing comes to Foo on November 4 with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Village Brass, the popular local seven-member band, opens the concert playing New Orleans-style funk, hip-hop and traditional Dixieland, then Big Bad Voodoo Daddy brings its horn-infused, high-energy show to jazz and swing fans of all ages. Together for more than 25 years, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has appeared in concert venues worldwide, sold millions of records, and their music has been featured in hundreds of movies and television shows.
On November 7, the Foo Foo Festival features historic blues entertainer and recording artist Jimmi Mayes, who expounds upon his 50-year career in the recent book, The Amazing Jimmi Mayes: Sideman to the Stars. Having played and toured with the likes of Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and Robert Junior Lockwood, Mayes backed Marvin Gaye and became good friends with Jimi Hendrix. Eventually, Jimi Hendrix asked Mayes to record with him on four Hendrix albums. Mayes performs at Foo with The Truth, featuring Tony Pasko and Cat Rhodes.
Continuing the variety of musical performances, Boston Brass comes to Foo on November 9 in concert with the Pensacola Civic Band. The concert, entitled “Sketches of Spain,” will highlight the music of Pensacola’s Spanish heritage including “Malaguena.” For 31 years, Boston Brass has thrilled audiences with a wide selection of musical styles from classical to jazz, interspersed with lively repartee and humorous banter as the group bridges classical formality with great music and boisterous fun.
Two additional musical opportunities feature audience and community musical collaboration. Choir!Choir!Choir! on November 6 is a unique concept in the musical world where no audition is necessary, singers simply show up and swap tickets for lyric sheets to master a song arrangement. Choir!Choir!Choir! began when Toronto-based musicians Daveed Goldman and Nobu Adilman wrote three-part arrangements of pop/rock/folk songs and invited people to drop by a local tavern to learn them. From November 7 through 17, the Frank Brown Songwriters’ Festival gathers, promotes, and gives voice and exposure to more than 200 songwriters in Pensacola.
Nearing the close of the festival is an all-day fundraiser on November 10 called Jazz for Justice, featuring collaborations from jazz musicians across the Southeast with headliner Rebirth Brass Band, the Grammy-winning group from New Orleans seen on HBO’s Treme. Formed in 1983 by the Frazier brothers, the brass band has evolved from playing the streets of the French Quarter to appearing at festivals and stages worldwide, extending themselves into the realms of funk and hip-hop for a signature sound. Legal Services of North Florida (LSNF) hosts its fourth annual Jazz for Justice in collaboration with the Foo Foo Festival to raise funds to provide free legal assistance to those that need it most. This year, grassroots jazz can be enjoyed from brunch, to dinner and a VIP reception as music and community service join forces. Read more here.
Pensacola’s pristine, sugar-white beaches and emerald green water entice visitors worldwide. Upon arrival in the delightful Florida panhandle city, many find themselves equally captivated by its history, culture and diverse heritage during the 12-day Foo Foo Festival, featuring innovative and extraordinary artists from all genres including art, music, theatre and much more. Strategically positioned around and during some of Pensacola’s most popular events, the Foo Fest straddles some of the area’s longstanding and favorite happenings including the 47th Annual Great Gulf Coast Arts Festival, the Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show, Pensacola Eggfest and the 35th Annual Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival.
For more information about the 2019 Pensacola Foo Foo Festival visit http://www.FooFooFest.com or follow Foo Foo Festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About Art, Culture, Entertainment, Inc. (ACE)
ACE is a nonprofit organization that receives Federal, State of Florida, Escambia County, City of Pensacola, corporate, foundation and personal funds. ACE disperses these funds through an equitable granting process to nonprofit arts, culture and entertainment organizations throughout Escambia County, Fla., and promotes Escambia County as an arts and cultural destination through the annual Foo Foo Festival and other marketing efforts. For more information about ACE, visit http://www.acepensacola.org.