Dave Grohl performs with the Foo Fighters in 2011. The band will be among the headliners of the 2012 DeLuna Fest on Pensacola Beach, set for Sept. 21-23. / Phil Bailey/GoPensacola.com
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Anyone who has ever been involved with a major music festival will tell you that there's no such thing as the perfect lineup.
But it's hard to imagine anyone coming as close to perfection as Five Flags Tourism Group has come with the DeLuna Fest 2012 lineup.
Put aside the immense star power at the top of the bill. Yes, Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters are two of the biggest and best rock acts of the past 20 years.
Few can argue otherwise. They're easily among the most dynamic live acts on the planet.
But look further, and you'll see that the bill is littered with gems from a wide variety of genres.
There's indie cred from the likes of the alt-country-flavored Band of Horses, buzzy alt-rockers the Joy Formidable and Jersey heartland punks the Gaslight Anthem. And there's a heavy dose of classic indie in the form of bands like Superchunk, Guided By Voices, Bad Brains and Fishbone. These bands were college radio staples in the '80s and '90s, and have both a "cool factor" and an appeal to an older audience.
There's mainstream country music from Dwight Yoakam and witty up-and-comer Walker Hayes. There's straight-up rock from the iconic Joan Jett and popular groups such as Ben Folds Five and the Wallflowers. DJ Jazzy Jeff, one of the most impressive turntable guys around (and much more than the prefix to "and the Fresh Prince"), is on the bill. There's folk from the likes of the Wood Brothers and City and Colour.
And then there's a healthy injection of New Orleans jazz, blues and funk, a strong element of DeLuna Fest from the start. The NOLA contingent this year includes Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers, Rebirth Brass Band, Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk and Charmaine Neville.
But in a way, the crowning glory is the inclusion of Florence and the Machine, an act that could be seen as symbolic of the delicate balance required in building a festival lineup.
She may not quite be a household name, but Florence Welch is well-enough known to perform on the Grammy Awards and to be covered on "Glee." Her distinctive songs and arresting visuals also have earned her a boatload of indie cred. She's that rare artist who is both popular and a critical darling, and who doesn't sound like anyone else.
That's what DeLuna Fest should be.
Yes, the truly grumpy will nitpick the lineup, I'm sure. There's not much electronica, no "radio-friendly" R&B (never really a staple of these festivals, anyway) and no hip hop.
Of course, there still are several acts to be announced, too. So perhaps the grumps will be satisfied.
Or perhaps not — the nature of grumps, after all.
My hat's off to Gus Brandt, Scott and Emily Mitchell and the DeLuna Fest team for delivering on the promise that's been intrinsic in the idea of a Pensacola Beach music festival from its very inception.
We're in for a treat this year. Don't miss out.