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Béla and His Banjo to Help Celebrate 50 Years of Art in Pensacola

Date Posted: Sep 02, 2022

Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival bringing in Grammy Award winner for a can’t miss Foo Foo Festival show

The Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival has been going strong in Pensacola since 1973. The three-day festival has grown into one of the most popular fine arts festivals in the country—drawing crowds of up to 150,000 to downtown Pensacola each year. This year, as the nonprofit organization celebrates a major milestone, it has teamed up with Foo Foo Festival to add another exciting element to the already admired festival: Béla Fleck. GGAF Committee Chair Kathy Dunagan shares the details of all of the excitement surrounding this year’s big event.

Q: What can visitors expect at the Festival this year?

A: As always, the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival will be an absolutely free festival. Also like always, the festival will be the first full weekend of November, the 4th through the 6th. More than 200 artists will be coming in from around the country for the fine art show, and we’ll also have an internationally invited artist and two local emerging artists. The heritage art show will continue like in years past, with basket weaving, woodworking, and quilt making. The children’s area will be included again as well, with 14 different art activities for children to enjoy. And, of course, there will be music all weekend long. We’ll have three stages, a children’s stage, a community dance stage, and the main stage, which will have a variety of music ranging from Cajun and bluegrass to the Pensacola Symphony.

Q: Tell us about the special plans to celebrate the festival’s 50th anniversary.

A: To celebrate the 50th year, the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival received a grant from Foo Foo Festival for a special concert.  It’s incredibly exciting because that’s allowing us to bring in Béla Fleck for a one-night-only show. Béla Fleck is a 30-time Grammy Award nominee, and he’s a 14-time Grammy Award winner. He is regarded as the best banjo player in the world. We’re very excited to have him. The musicians he’s bringing in with him are also solo artists on their own—they don’t perform together on a normal basis—and so it’s going to be a fabulous lineup.

Q: What are the details about the Béla Fleck show—what do patrons need to know?

A: The Béla Fleck concert will be held on Saturday, November 5, at the Hunter Amphitheater, which is behind Maritime Park. Gates will open at 6:00 pm and the concert will start at 7:30 pm. The concert is free—it’s a thank you to the community for supporting the  Festival for 50 years.

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