What to do at the beach in the fall? DeLuna Fest. The three-day live music shindig takes over Pensacola Beach, FL for a long weekend, and at the top of our must-see list is Ben Sollee. The Lexington-born cellist, biker, and environmentalist, 28, has already been compared to Sufjan Stevens for songs that sometimes seem more like intricate compositions than plain ‘ol melodies. Half-Made Man, his third studio album, debuts September 25.
“I broadly define folk music as the music people make of things around them,” Sollee said. His version includes a strong influence from both his hometown’s renowned bluegrass and his classical cello training. What emerged was “that mix of everything, all the adjectives in one spot. I like to simplify it and say it’s just folk music. It just happens to take on the sound of now.”
Anybody who selects a dream band with My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel, R&B/Jazz artist Alana Rockwood, Scott Avett, Layla Black, and a little bit of Cajun flair to finish it off is music to our ears. Sollee says he loves his hometown’s small-town-big-ideas vibe; “things can happen quickly in Lexington.”
He says that living in Lexington also helps his tour schedule, since it’s easy to get to just about anywhere from here. One of his favorite things about touring? “Touring in the South means there’s a chance that I’m gonna drive by somebody that boiled a fresh pot of peanuts,” Sollee enthusiastically quips. “I can stop and I can chat with ‘em and see where they’re coming from and eat their peanuts.”
DeLuna kicks off on Friday, September 21, and this year’s lineup includes The Zac Brown Band (click here to see our exclusive “Biscuits & Jam” session with them), Fitz and the Tantrums, Pearl Jam, the Foo Fighters, Ben Folds Five, and Florence and the Machine. Both single day passes and three-day passes are still available online. Just make sure you’re still around on Sunday, when Ben will take the stage. “Why not DeLuna?!” he asks. We’ll bring the peanuts.
For DeLuna’s full schedule, check out their website and follow them on Twitter @DeLunaFest and Facebook. Also check their Instagram (@delunafest) throughout the festival and tag us in your favorite shots (@southernlivingmag on Instagram, or via our Twitter @Southern_Living).