First Annual Pensacola Blues Festival comes to Civic Center

By Wesley Martin

Photo by Wesley Martin: Miss Jody sings her heart out to a very welcoming crowd
While the lower level of Pensacola’s Civic Center was almost full to capacity, one could easily see that the First Annual Pensacola Blues Festival should have been held at another venue.

The blues tour, which is usually held in Mobile, did have a strong attendance.

“The event was an excellent show and tour. You had some young blues singer, you had some old blues singers and you had a legend, Clarence Carter,” said Ernestine Dunklin, senior sales representative for Magic 106.

Dunklin said the crowd in Pensacola is used to a different atmosphere when it comes to blues events.

“I think that blues lovers in this market are accustomed to being able to go to the fair grounds,” she said. “They’re used to blues events being ‘bring your own bottle.’ And they price was a little bit more than they were used to paying.”

William “Cadillac” Banks Sr., Chief Executive Officer of Banks Enterprise, a concert promoting and PR consulting entity, believes the event will have a different turnout next year if held outdoors.

“Most blues shows are done outside,” he said. “And with the big blues shows that you do outside, you get a tremendous turnout.”

Banks said the annual Spring Fling blues show in Mobile, Ala. gets about get 8,000 to 10,000 people attending every year. Banks also says that Pensacola has a market for large blues concerts, but people have to support.

“As long as were bring black entertainment to the city, people need to support,” he said. “If there is low ticket sales, then they won’t come back to this area.”

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