The Gathering and Book Center Brings Back Soul Fest


By: Tony McCray

Some things change and some things never change!  In the case of The Gathering and Book Center holding the Pensacola Community Soul Fest at the West Pensacola Ball Park at 1600 North “W” Street that is a tradition in the Pensacola and Escambia County Community for over twenty years.  The tradition extends to the performances of the bands, the food vendors, the presence of community organization giving out their information, the visual and performing arts, the crafts, authors of books, and the children games, which have always been a tasty part of the Soul Fest menu of the African-American heritage experience.

Georgia and Johnny Blackmon are the organizers, and the founders of this very special hometown brew of outreach to our community to take some time out to enjoy each other and our talents.  However, Georgia Blackmon, the owner of the Gathering Awareness & Book Center, makes it very clear that the strategic focus of this event is our youth.  She is extremely passionate for our young people and truly make an attempt to feel their heartbeat for surviving the challenges they face in today’s world.

The theme for this year’s event is “ONE MOON-ONE SUN-ONE WORLD-ONE HEART” named after the poem, “One World, One Heart”!  The writer passed out thousands of her book after 911 took place in New York.  So Blackmon organized essay competition with a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place financial prizes. The competition was open to essays from high school and college students.

The authors that will be present are Dr. Marion Williams with his book Historic Colored and Negro City Schools; William Snow with his book, “From the Projects to the Boardroom”; Kathleen V. Logan with her book, “Women’s Wisdom; and Ronald Baldwin with his book “The Root of My Ryme”.

Soul Fest contributed to the colorful heritage and cultural events that made up the Pensacola festival calendar for over twenty (20) years.  Now the festival is back with African-American and Hispanic bands. “Da Band” that performs jazz, blues, and soul will be there from Mobile, Alabama.  The Hispanic band is called El Revelde and they are local from Pensacola.  Admission is $10.00 however children under 12 years of age are admitted free!  This event will take place on Saturday, June 10th, from 11:00am til Dusk.  Tickets can be purchased at the Gathering Awareness and Book Center, 314 N. DeVilliers Street or by calling 850-426-1229.

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