Guest writer, Donna McDowell
The celebration of America’s original beach party, the DeLuna Music Fest, formed its roots in history. When Don Tristan DeLuna and his crew originally landed on our pristine beaches back in 1559, he threw a party. The group of Spainiards met with controversy when a hurricane pushed them from our shores. Our current DeLuna has met with some controversy as well.
Eliminate the negative. Any time a new event is being developed to become a mainstay of a community, many expensive lessons are learned. Linkin Park is a big time headliner that pulled out of the line up at the last minute; a let down for so many. There was no comment from festival planners as to whether or not L.P. breached any contract when they called it quits. Regardless of the situation, the band disappointed many fans leaving them wondering if the rockers had any idea that their cancellation impacted not only the bottom line of the planners, but also the morale an entire community. It is true that sales were down and many attributed it to the exit of L.P., but there were several bright sides to consider. Luckily for DeLuna Fest, they had an otherwise stellar line up of truly dedicated talent and offered the best venue any artist could dream of performing on- the beautiful sunny shores of the Gulf of Mexico.
Accentuate the positive. DeLuna planners did away with pesky Deluna bucks and let people spend their cash. Butterflies danced among the crowd all weekend. Pot-o-Gold picked up trash continuously, keeping the festival grounds, a beloved beach, clean. Mother Nature gave DeLuna, the young gulf coast music festival, two consecutive years of blissful golden sunshine. This October was as hot as some of the talent gracing the Deluna stages. Sunday, the final day of this year’s festival had a line up of popular local artists, regional and national favorites. Also slated to perform were some less heard of groups that possess so much talent it could be predicted they will soon be headlining rather than rocking side stages. Some of the acts in this year’s virtual goldmine of unknown talent impressed and won the hearts of many new fans. Keep your ears open for these DeLuna crowd pleasers; The Parlotones, Motopony, Kevin Devine, Quiet Company, Jonathan Tyler and The Northern Lights, Wanda Jackson, and Maggie Koerner
All the scheduled performers gave high energy, electric performances, but some were a bit more notable than others. Kicking off day three on the Groove Shark stage was Asobi Seku playing her Japanese dream pop for a sparse, yet impressed, crowd. Colour Revolt thrilled fans with old faves like “Mattresses” and new faves like “Heartbeat and” “Cradle.” The Constellations brought their fun style of psychedelic soul-rock to the Bud Light stage. Group Love had adoring fans lined up waiting for them to take the Groove Shark stage. Wanda Jackson blew the crowd away with her voice of a soul queen and surprising appearance of a greek goddess. Like Matt&Kim, this lady was FUN! Speaking of fun, Airborne Toxic Event’s Mikel Jolett, climbed the stage rafters mid-song. He peered out to the Gulf and proclaimed that he would like to go for a swim in the ocean. And he did just that, leading about forty to fifty fans into the calm surf with him. He quickly returned to the stage all wet and sandy, where he gave a newly invigorated performance. Jonathan Tyler and The Northern Lights, a band that has already realized its rock and roll dream by touring with acts like The Black Crowes and Kid Rock, put on a show worthy of southern rock legends like Lynrd Skynrd and Led Zepplin. When this Dallas based Blues/Rock group pulled out its secret weapon, her name is Emotion, The Northern Light’s sound reaches stellar status. Their music is good it’s moving along. And then she starts to sing, it all breaks loose. This group really does have what it takes. They are worthy! Cut/Copy and MUTEMATH may have become the festival’s closing acts by default, but they surely lived up to the challenge. National act, Cut/Copy, played a set full of songs that visited every album they have ever released; fans were definitely not disappointed. They gave an electric performance to a pumped crowd as the sun went down on the beach. Grammy nominated, MUTEMATH, really “brought it” to DeLuna Music Fest. They put on a grade A stage show and their percussion antics were off the chart. Along with Cut Copy, MUTEMATH filled the shoes of Linkin Park by playing impressive tunes like “Blood Pressure” from their newly released album “Odd Soul” and “Typical,” the You Tube hit, that earned them their Grammy nomination.
This years DeLuna Music Fest was a tropical pleasure and a musical treat; the weather was sublime, the crowd was not overpowering, the beach was accessible, there were no DeLuna dollars, it was family friendly, and the musical line up was packed with diamonds in the rough. As quickly as the last year passed, so this shall pass too. We all look forward to attending DeLuna Fest for many years and hope that Five Flags Tourism Group uses the lessons learned to come back again and again while successfully enhancing our local culture.