A Melting Pot of Music

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Imagine receiving a call on your cell phone and on the other line is one of your favorite musicians. That is exactly what happened to Joe Abston.

Abston was working at Hopjacks, a pizzeria and tap room directly next to what would become Vinyl Music Hall, where they welcomed small bands to play on weekends.

Pato Banton, a reggae artist with a message, is the musician who would spark Apton’s new venture. Banton wanted to perform at Hopjacks, because of all the pleasant things he had heard about their warm hospitality. The doors closed , filled to capacity, and a cover fee was charged, but that didn’t stop even more people from wanting in. With a full house, the idea of a venue was cogitating in Abston’s mind.

The building where the once popular Masonic lodge and Douglas Allen gentleman’s store was, had sat in vacancy for years because the Levin family wasn’t sure what to do with it. Harry, Evan, and Sherrod Levin, close friends of Abston, decided to team up, and on August 28th doors opened at Vinyl.

 “We kept all of the original walls intact, so we needed a name to match the building,” Abston said. After a considerable amount of thought they decided on the name Vinyl because of the “retro” vibe.

“Vinyl is a venue dedicated to music,” Abston said. The owners pride themselves on booking a “melting pot” of genres.  Just a few months later they have already welcomed big names such as the Misfits and Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. Dr. John The Night Tripper, who helped to form the House of Blues, told Abston after his performance at Vinyl that the atmosphere “blew [the House of Blues] away.” Quite the compliment for what was once the sleepy town of Pensacola.

 “When a band is performing in Tallahassee on Wednesday and they are going to be performing in New Orleans on Saturday,” Abston said, “why not travel 10 minutes off interstate 10 and make a little extra money? It’s a natural fit.”

Abston says he would like to help make Pensacola more of an area of entertainment. His next objective is to get Palafox Street blocked off on weekends so it can be a temporary walking district with all the bars and shops.

Vinyl’s goal is to bring what is missing to downtown Pensacola, and they are working hard to recruit artists.