Return of the Foo

Return of the Foo

Foo Foo Fest is celebrating 10 years with a magical line up

 Words by Paige Townley

There’s a lot to draw anyone to Pensacola in November: the perfect weather, the beach, and, of course, the cuisine. But, one of the biggest draws each year is everyone’s favorite 12-day celebration centered around arts, culture, and music: Foo Foo Fest.

Foo Foo Fest is back this November 2-13, and it’s kicking off its 10-year anniversary with a line up like no other. Foo Foo Fest will feature 16 grant recipients this year after having allocated nearly $500,000 in grant funding, the most ever awarded by the Foo Foo Festival Committee and the highest number of fully-funded grant recipients since Foo Foo Fest began. Some of this year’s grant recipients have received funds in years past, and some have received it for the very first time. Whether they are festival veterans or newbies to the fun, one thing is certain: this year’s Foo Foo Fest is one that you won’t want to miss. 

“We’re thrilled to be a part of Foo Foo Fest this year,” says Robert Godspeed of Night Moves, Inc., a nonprofit organization that seeks to be a safe place for musicians, artists, and the musical community. “This year will be our first year as a grant recipient, and we can’t wait for the event and to show everyone what we’re about and what we’ve been working on.”

What Night Moves has been working on is a musical extravaganza planned for November 4 on the bayfront at Community Maritime Park. The single-day show will feature upwards of 12 musical acts, all family-friendly and also include space for food vendors and arts and crafts. Tickets for the show will be going on sale soon. “It’s going to be a great way to spend the afternoon and a great way to enjoy our community,” Robert adds.

A staple of Foo Foo Fest is Friends of Downtown, the nonprofit extension of the Downtown Improvement Board. The group is known for some of Foo’s most Instagram-worthy installations, including Bubble Alley and Umbrella Sky from previous years. This year, the organization will present Magic Carpet, a colorful tiled art installation that will be suspended high above Museum Plaza in Historic Downtown Pensacola. “The placement over the park gives people the opportunity to hang out underneath and enjoy longer periods of time with it,” notes Walker Wilson of Friends of Downtown. “Our thought is that people could pick up some food and have a meal out there, or even put on a yoga class or concert.”

Another returning participant of the festival is First City Art Center, a nonprofit art center that strives to bring the arts to the local community through a variety of exhibits, programs, camps, and classes. This year, the group is bringing a little Greek mythology to Foo with the narrative of Poseidon, who presided over the sea. “There are so many different aspects, from the beach to the seafood it produces to the recreational opportunities, all of which can be enjoyed here in Pensacola,” explains Bart Hudson of First City Art Center. 

The nonprofit will produce an art installation in the title pond at Maritime Park that illustrates pieces of Poseidon’s garden washing up on shore. Uniquely, they will do so with 300-plus pieces of mouth-blown glass. Each and every piece will be created by its talented group of glassblowers. “It will be extraordinarily colorful and feature all different shapes,” Bart adds. “Visually it’s going to be quite spectacular, and it will be illuminated at night as well.”

In addition to adding to the draw of Foo, Bart hopes that the installation—which will be available for viewing the entire run of Foo Foo Fest—will inspire others to check out the art form and perhaps even take a class. “We plan to have a mobile glass-blowing studio at the installation to let the public see glass blowers actually doing their craft,” he says. “We’re excited about exposing the public to the art form and just being part of the festival itself.”

For more information about Foo Foo Fest, visit