May 1, 2024

Bands on the Bayou Gives Back

Bands on the Bayou is a community-centric concert series that gives back locally. Brought to you by the East Hill Neighborhood Association, the nonprofit was formed in 2021 with the goal of bringing residents together at Bayview Park and supporting local non-profit organizations in our community. Concert-goers bring chairs and coolers and enjoy live music in a beautiful outdoor venue overlooking Bayou Texar in the historic East Hill neighborhood of Pensacola. Boat access is also available.

Through generous contributions of sponsors, this concert series is open to the public for FREE! Individual donations are appreciated, however, with all proceeds benefitting local charities. The event is organized by a committee of volunteers and supported by local businesses that provide financial as well as in-kind contributions.

According to Lauren Gund, BOTB committee chair, a primary goal of the concert series is to raise money for local Pensacola charities. The inaugural Bands on the Bayou concert in July of 2021 raised nearly $4,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida, O. J. Semmes Elementary School, and the Al Condon scholarship fund. In 2022, $24,000 was raised and donated to these six nonprofits: Gulf Coast Kid’s House, O. J. Semmes Elementary School, Pensacola Little Theatre, PenArts, Ocean Hour and Emerald Coastkeeper.

“In 2023, we selected six non-profit organizations (two for each concert) to become recipients of the proceeds. In total, we raised $48,000 for those deserving organizations,” Gund said.

The 2023 non-profit recipients were: BFA Clean Water Advocates, From the Ground Up Community Garden, AMIkids, Valerie’s House, Chain Reaction and Bluffline.

The non-profit recipients selected for 2024 are: Dixon School of Arts and Sciences, Bike Pensacola, Rally Foundation, Pensacola Children’s Chorus, Survivor-Led Solutions and Upward Intuition.

Crowd pleasers Ben Loftin & The Family kick off the 2024 concert series on Friday, May 24. The July 27 concert features Pensacola’s favorite rockers, Cowboy Park (formerly known as DLP) and the Bay Bridge Band will perform on October 5.

All concerts are from 6:30-8:30. Enjoy a line-up of delicious fare from food trucks, with an emphasis on fresh ingredients and unique treats to share with family and friends. Add these dates to your calendar and enjoy live local bands while raising money for charities that are near and dear to many hearts.


May 24: Ben Loftin & The Family 

According to their website, Ben Loftin & the Family is from Pensacola, “where the band’s signature ‘white sand soul’ continues to be heavily influenced by the rich musical cultures of the Gulf Coast.” The group formed in 2013. Band members are founding singer/songwriter and guitarist Ben Loftin, drummer Christian Sanders, saxophonist Austin Paul Jr. and bassist Marcus Gillard. They produce “a vibrant blend of pop, funk, soul and reggae at a range of venues across the southeastern United States.”

July 27: Cowboy Park

Cowboy Park (formerly DLP) is a rock band comprised of local doctors, lawyers and politicians. Band members are City Council Vice President Jared Moore (vocals and guitar), Election Security Advisor David Stafford (drums), doctor Sidney Rosenthal (lead guitar), attorney Charlie Wiggins (bass) and attorney Jack Zoesch (keyboards). Cowboy Park has entertained Pensacola audiences for over 10 years at such venues and events as the Fish House, Seville Quarter, the Handlebar, New Year’s Eve Pelican Drop, DeLuna Fest and the inaugural Bands on the Bayou concert. Cowboy Park takes great pride in the fact that it was the band playing on the dock on a late summer night that gave inspiration to the Bands on the Bayou concept.

Oct. 5: Bay Bridge Band

This local band came to be in 2014 when “John Drummond, Steve McWilliams, Billy Spencer and Bill Baker — who played together through the years in the Milton High School Band, garage bands and in church music programs — decided to put together a group to play the music of our favorite bands from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. After a few rehearsals, it was clear that we were going to need a full horn section to pull off the great tunes by Chicago, The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan, just to name a few,” according to their website. They then added trombone player Gene Belser, saxophonist Rodney Brown and “powerhouse female vocalist” Ami Russ. Finally, “saxophonist Rod Hamilton and trumpet player Chuck Wyatt were added to round out this incredible eight-person ensemble.”


What: Bands on the Bayou concert series

Where: Bayview Park and Community Center, 2001 E. Lloyd St., Pensacola

When: 6:30-8:30 p.m., May 24, July 27 and October 5