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Pensacola music fans demand greater concert diversity

3:39 AM, Dec. 14, 2012
Mumford & Sons was the most demanded band by users commenting on GoPensacola.com and the Pensacola News Journal's Facebook pages.
Mumford & Sons was the most demanded band by users commenting on GoPensacola.com and the Pensacola News Journal's Facebook pages. / Getty Images

Pensacola’s Most Wanted

• Mumford & Sons.
• Muse.
• Beach House.
• The Black Keys.
• Deftones.
• Tool.
• Japandroids.
• The Lumineers.
• Pink.
• Arcade Fire.
• Modest Mouse.
• Mastodon.
• The Wombats.
• Silversun Pickups.
• The Killers.
• Pepper.
• Also frequently requested: The Hives, fun., the Airborne Toxic Event, Cage the Elephant, the Avett Brothers, Best Coast, My Morning Jacket, the Smashing Pumpkins, Jack White, Shiny Toy Guns, Matt & Kim, the Joy Formidable, Green Day, Adele, Neon Trees, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals.

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This week’s concert announcements from the Pensacola Bay Center sparked a lot of discussion on social media.

The February and March concerts featuring Daughtry and 3 Doors Down, Shinedown and Three Days Grace, and Kid Rock generated a good deal of excitement, of course — all of those acts have their audiences and have been proven to put butts in seats.

But with some commenters on GoPensacola.com’s Facebook page, they also generated replies ranging from bored to sarcastic.

“So disappointing,” Canaan Lamp succinctly posted, summing up the feelings of a sizable contingent of users who said they are looking for more diversity in Pensacola’s concert offerings.

And so I asked: What do you WANT to see come to Pensacola?

The responses were almost overwhelming, but the overall answer was “more indie and alternative artists.” More than 90 percent of the answers fell into that broad category, far and away more than any other genre.

That being said, many of the names most commonly mentioned HAVE played the Pensacola area before, including Muse, the Black Keys, Deftones, Tool and the Lumineers. For some, it’s been more than a couple of years since their last appearances. For others, their Pensacola-area appearances have been limited to large festivals like the Hangout Music Fest and DeLuna Fest.

Many users said they have been supporting the festivals, but now want to see their favorites play in more intimate settings, where they can play full sets (festival sets, save headliners, are rarely longer than an hour). And others said the festival scene just isn’t for them, citing reasons from physical discomfort to price, but they still want to see cutting-edge bands.

While plenty of the more often-mentioned names are likely obscure to the average Pensacolian, all would seem to me to have enough following that some venue could make hay of bringing them to town. Clearly, some would scale more to venues like Vinyl Music Hall, which many users praised as making a good effort at diversifying the scene. But it’s hard to argue that platinum- and gold-selling acts like Mumford & Sons, the Killers, Arcade Fire, Muse and the Black Keys couldn’t do well at the Pensacola Bay Center, the Amphitheater at The Wharf or the new venues at the Community Maritime Park; or that mid-level acts like Silversun Pickups and Modest Mouse, or rising stars like the Lumineers, couldn’t do well at the Saenger Theatre or Seville Quarter’s plaza.

Of course, variables come into play when you’re talking about bringing touring acts to town, including band and venue schedules, costs and more, so I’m not so quick to blame the venues for a lack of ambition, per se.

I’m hoping that venues will keep these and other, similar acts in mind, though. Promoters and booking agents, you have people who are lined up, just waiting for a chance to give you their money. I hope you take it.

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