Now in its 5th year of celebrating the “CULTURAL FLAVOR” of Historic Belmont-DeVilliers- “Home of the Blues”, “Home of the Black Business District”, and “Home of the Chitlin” Circuit”, the BACK ON THE BLOCKS FESTIVAL series continues to encourage tourists to “VACATION CULTURALLY” while visiting the Pensacola region. This event is one of the cultural preservation activities which supports the history, heritage, and culture of the Creole musicians who created the African-American art and entertainment district in Belmont-DeVilliers- historically known for the emergence of the “Chitlin’ Circuit”. The festival provides an intimate atmosphere which blends a modern and traditional flavor for artists and visitors alike to experience creative expression, musically, and artistically, both indoors and out, while revitalizing and preserving the heritage of the Belmont by offering cultural arts and entertainment for tourists and residents to enjoy while visiting the area. It has become a culturally creative space for residents to enjoy walking to; a culturally creative place for tourists to enjoy traveling to; and a culturally creative face for visitors to enjoy an attraction to. Legendary greats such as Luis Armstrong, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Ray Charles, Ike & Tina Turner, James Brown, Dizzy Gillespie, and many others have all left their cultural flavor on the district, and made lasting impressions on the region.
They frequented the Belmont to play at the Bunny Club, the Savoy Gardens, the black USO during World War II, and Abe’s 506, just to name a few. They bought their burgers from Blue Dot; their music from Gussie’s Record Shop; their dinner from the Super Bowl restaurant, and their bread from Smith’s Bakery- currently, the home of Truth For Youth- the 501(c)3 youth organization which owns the Belmont Cultural Center, and the Centennial lifeline celebrated by this 44,000SF cultural hub at the corners of Belmont and DeVilliers. This festival provides cultural awareness of the area; establishes a cultural destination venue; revitalizes an underutilized creative space; focuses on the culture heritage of the area to regain its artistic and creative identity; as well as, provides products and services as the core objective of the cultural renaissance and economic resurgence that the district is known for.