From the casual eye’s view, the panhandle region of Florida isn’t typically known for a large amount of LGBTQ life. Entertainment in the Panhandle. Increasingly, many are coming to find these beautiful beaches and smiling faces irresistible. Queer entertainment here is more than just music on Memorial Day with packed beaches. Dj’s, singers, dancers, drag and so much more present a unique vibe unlike any other in Florida.
Singers and Songwriters
Singers abound in this region of folk and blues. You will also find some hints of country and rock along with modern hits. There are small bands, duo acts, solo artists and amazing instrumentals. Walk the beaches, the boardwalks and the streets and you never know what you will uncover. There are a few quite outstanding folks to not miss in this area.
Wayward Sister is a duo act that performs in various venues throughout the panhandle, including Secret Sagittarius and Bar515. They have an awesome rock guitar and acoustic sound that will give you an energetic high. Nicole and Rachel never disappoint with their mix of classic covers and originals. Also a regular at Bar515, Greg Bond (@gregbondmusic) provides a blues/folk/rock music combination that makes his style so unique and eclectic. Greg brings his talents to 5 Sisters Blues Café every Tuesday night and has been known to play PensaPride.
This annual Pride festival, held every June in the heart of downtown Pensacola, is an unforgettable experience of love, diversity, and inclusivity. Its also a magnet for the region’s top tier entertainment. You’ll find acts like local singer songwriter Hane Skot (@haneskot) and folk musician Jackson Chambers (@swiggity_swogsworth), who goes by the name, The Bard of Baldwin County. Local indie-pop duo Tori Lucia & the Nitty Gritties (@the.nittygritties) will have you bopping your head to their bright melodies and creative lyrics. Check them out at places like The Handlebar and Vinyl Music Hall.
Dj’s in the area are fortunate to have some of the best beaches and scenery to stake out an amazing musical claim. They keep the floors jiving and the beat high. Whether glitzing at the drink and drown or busting the summer towns after Memorial Day, the music never stops. The towns don’t sleep for long.
Sharing the stage during the all-out LGBTQ event “UnLeashed” (@pensacola_unleashed), DJ’s Tony Skratchere and Dlux (@dddjdlux) pack a powerful punch at this staple event. Skractchere is known for punk and rock fusion and Dlux brings the house and top 40 hit beats. Dlux also keeps the beat going as resident DJ for Girl the Party (@girltheparty).
Event organizer and music emcee Kristy Lee combines her sound system and classic guitar for a unique beach dance combo unparalleled in Florida. She has coordinated and supported the entertainment community in this region for decades. Through this dedication, burlesque, drag, and live music have thrived in the panhandle. Be sure not to miss her and her signature vibe at “UnLeashed”, which takes place every Memorial Day Weekend.
The scene for drag in the panhandle is quite illustrious. The divas love to wear the jewels and do top hits, jazz classics, and strut their stuff. From masquerades to sexy lounge acts, you don’t want to miss the events held here throughout the year. The LGTBQ locals love to paint the town in color and so do the queens.
Rebecca Ritz Decarlo rocks the room with her glamour and pop. Wyntier Kandiey brings the sweetness and the spice. Let’s not forget the Drag Kings Andy Rodginous and RPG Kyle. Bearded queen Della Si Oso also makes regular appearances.
Monica Heart (@hearts2monica) takes the stage as host and show director at The Roundup Bar. Lauren Mitchell (@divalaurenpcola) appears on many stages throughout the Panhandle region. This beautiful Queen will glitz up and dazzle the room with all her jewels. She even won Emerald Coast Entertainer of the Year 2022.
And there are no shortage of EOY contenders in this drag show scene. Wyntier Kandiey (@wyntierkandiey) brings the sweetness and the spice with her performances. No trip to Pensacola would be complete without showing some love to the reigning local Drag King Andy Rodginous (@andy_rodginous). Find him at hotspots like Play Bar & Vintage Arcade (@playpensacola) and Whiskey Joe’s Bar and Grill (@whiskeyjoespb). The infamous bearded queen Della Si Oso (@della_di_oso) also makes regular appearances around the region.
Comedians and comedy writers abound in the panhandle. They go on to perform in “Last Comic Standing”. They do stand up in the legendary Blues neighborhood Belmont DeVilliers. They will have you laughing so hard you will cry. There are festivals, small lounges, parties for comedy, and so much more. Be sure to belly up to the area for some good laughter.
Each May, you can see the some of the region’s hottest talent at Pensacola’s Pre-Pride Comedy Fest, coordinated by local comedy personality Andrew Ferrara. Some truly hilarious comedians have been known to grace the stage, including Tam Taylor (@thetamtaylor) and Miss Pensacola Pride 2022, Dallas Nelson.
A shoutout has to be given also to Sarah Van Amburg (@sarahvanamburgcomedy) and Regina Joseph (@notfunnyregina) in Tallahassee. These beautiful members of the community bring a unique standup vibe weekly to Bird’s Aphrodisiac Oyster Shack.
For an entirely unique experience, you must join The Mickee Faust Club (@mickee_minion), who hold performances at their Academy for the Dramatic Arts. This LGBTQ led collective thrives on their diversity and models itself on an Ethic of Accommodation, which shines through in their eclectic mix of theater, comedy, and cabaret performances. Check out the Mickee Faust Club stage for legendary locals as well as newbies seeking the rainbow spotlight.
Cabaret and Burlesque
The locals in the panhandle now how to be sassy. They sparkle and shine and take the stage with beauty. Filling music halls and clubs alike with illustrious flow, their energy and aura will make you sizzle. Be ready for glamour and creativity unlike any other.
Inferno Burlesque (@infernoburlesque) is a fiery NOLA based cabaret troupe, who can often be found at Vinyl Music Hall in Pensacola. Be sure not to miss this gorgeous group of Gulf Coast girls when they breeze through the region. Want to join the act? There is a meetup group called Burlesque Fitness Kittens who hold classes and perform shows. If you have time for a meetup and participation group, don’t miss out!
The same Mickee Faust Academy of comedy fame in Tallahassee, is also a troupe of cabaret artists as well. Their regular events delight all as they perform in costume to pride anthems. You can find them in their unique clubhouse space on Railroad Square. Faust, the founder of the organization, brings a tongue in cheek parody to the namesake Orlando rodent. The troupe and its followers are known as the Mickee Faustkateers. Their leader is none other than Terry Galloway.
No one ever said the panhandle was boring after exploring it.
There are surprises around every corner. You will be delighted and thrilled on so many levels. Stroll the beaches but don’t miss the theater. Mosey to the bar and dance on the floor and revel in the spaces up and down Interstate 10. This isn’t “lower Alabama”. This is a sparkling Emerald Coast to delight your inner fancies. The entertainment choices in Florida’s Panhandle will leave your soul smiling for days.
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Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.