Although it’s a dream of most serious music fans, organizing a music festival is not all rainbows and butterflies. Especially in a town as fickle as Pensacola, it’s a huge risk and some serious work. Now in its third year, Pensacola’s very own Pass the Good Festival has conquered the growing pains that any new festival faces by focusing on the main reason people go to these things – the music. O&A chatted briefly with organizer Stewart Beck about why electronic music speaks to him and where the festival is headed.
O&A: What is it about electronic music that moves you so much?
BECK: It’s about as simple as it gets – EDM makes you happy, and I want to spread that happiness. Hence the name, Pass the Good. When I first saw Bassnectar in 2009, I have never felt more free, alive, and loved in my life. Since then, I’ve been traveling all around the country to catch the best the genre has to offer.
O&A: What’s been the most difficult part of putting this thing on?
BECK: We try our best each year to attract everyone with the diversity in our lineups. Sure, our focus in on the EDM side of things and we have some of the best Djs around, but we also have bands that touch on jamtronica, funk, and good ole rock and roll. We are taking a huge leap of faith this year and our extremely confident in the lineup we put out there. There really is something for everyone. It gets easier as each year passes because our name is getting out there and we have things locked down ahead of time.
O&A: What have you learned in the first two years you’ve put this festival on?
BECK: Things will go wrong! You have to be prepared for the worst and always have a Plan, A, B, C, D. The whole alphabet wouldn’t hurt. We also won’t have music running at the same time this year. The main stages will be rotating back and forth with non-stop music. You also have to treat your artists right. You won’t be able to please them all, but they are the reason people come out. I don’t like calling my event a festival yet since I don’t feel like a Hangout / Buku / Counterpoint / Suwannee event yet. Hopefully this year that changes since we’ve added camping. We have grown a lot since our first year.
O&A: Tell us about the new venue. It’s a unique place for a show.
BECK: The Hadji Shrine is where I’ve always wanted to have the event. It’sone of the coolest buildings I have ever seen to and sits on 28 acres of lush property. It’s perfect for our event ad let’s us run from 12 pm Friday to 6 am Saturday, then from 11 am Saturday to 530 pm Sunday! the Hadji Shrine Temple is the perfect place to pass the good.
O&A: What’s the motivation behind donating to Manna Food Bank?
BECK: We want to grow our music scene so that we can spread the good on to new generations. It’s not all about the party all the time. If we are going to bring together so many people, we might as well open their eyes to the needs of our hometown. 50% of the proceeds will go to Manna Food Bank, who feeds over 42,000 families a year along the Gulf Coast.
WHAT: PASS THE GOOD MUSIC FESTIVAL
WHEN: 11PM, Friday, August 1 – Sunday, August 3
WHERE: Hadji Shrine Temple, 800 W Nine Mile Rd, Pensacola, FL 32534
COST: $50 single day; $99 weekend pass; camping included in both