formerly the Pensacola Municipal Auditorium
The Municipal Auditorium in 1974
|Location||900 South Palafox Street|
|Client||City of Pensacola|
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30.402361, -87.21297 </googlemap>
Bayfront Auditorium (known as the Pensacola Municipal Auditorium until 1988) was a building that sat for fifty years at the foot of Palafox Street, overlooking Pensacola Bay. It was demolished in 2005.
Planning for the auditorium was begun in the early 1950s. The development faced early opposition from the Saenger Theatre's owners and others who questioned "the right of the city to levy amusement taxes which would tax the theatres for the construction of a competitive business."
The Municipal Auditorium was built for $820,000 and dedicated on February 8, 1955. The Pensacola High School band played at the dedication ceremony and was the first group to perform there. The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra was the first major concert a month later, to a crowd of about 2,000.
During its lifetime, the building was host to some of the world's biggest musical acts. Elvis Presley performed at the auditorium on February 26, 1956. Patsy Cline sang at the auditorium only a few years before her death. When Jerry Lee Lewis performed, he pounded the new piano so fiercely that the management stopped the show halfway through. The attendance record was set by Charley Pride, whose 1971 concert packed in 3,000 fans.
The building began to lose its appeal to more modern venues with better acoustics and more accessible parking. As more musical acts chose to perform at the larger Pensacola Civic Center and more intimate Saenger Theatre, Bayfront Auditorium fell into disrepair. In its final years, the City of Pensacola was losing more than $100,000 every year to keep it open.
On January 22, 2004, the Pensacola City Council voted to demolish the building, to be replaced by a new municipal auditorium as part of the Festival Park project on the Trillium site. It got a reprieve when that project was halted by a voter referendum. However, after receiving extensive damage during Hurricane Ivan, the building was again slated for demolition. Big Dog Demolition completed the demolition on July 24, 2005, and debris was used for offshore fishing reefs and in Phase II of Project GreenShores.
- Red Foley, with special guests the Phatons, and Sandpipers (1965)
- Lovin' Spoonful (1966)
- The Byrds (1968)
- Three Dog Night (1969 or '70)
- The Cowsills (May 17, 1970)
- Ted Nugent & Bloodrock, with Pensacola's premier band Lyman Slack (February 1973)
- Charlie Daniels Band (May 31, 1973)
- BB King (June 11, 1973)
- Foghat (August 22, 1973)
- Cheech and Chong (Fall 1973)
- Black Oak Arkansas (July 16, 1973 & January 27, 1974)
- White Witch (Summer 1974)
- Bee Gees (1975)
- Wet Willie (Spring 1975)
- Lynyrd Skynyrd (March 29, 1975)
- Manhattans (1975)
- Rare Earth (Winter 1975-'76)
- Gulf Coast Corvette Club Car Show (Summer 1978)
- Molly Hatchett (1979)
- Mike Danger's No Wave Jam (Summer 1986)
- Megadeth (April 14, 1987)
- Echo and The Bunnymen (April 14, 1988)
- Ted Nugent and LA Guns (April 25, 1988)
- Continental Championship Wrestling (Late 1970s-late 1980s)
- Roy Jones, Jr. (several times between 1989 and 1991)
- Bob Dylan (September 12, 1992)
- Primus (1993)
- Jethro Tull (April 3, 1996)
- Presidents of The United States of America (May 11, 1996)
- 311 (May 23, 1996)
- No Doubt (May 23, 1996)
- Rage Against the Machine (July 15, 1996)
- Tori Amos (August 10, 1996)
- Foo Fighters (April 29, 1998)
- Widespread Panic (April 28, 1999)
- "Weird Al" Yankovic (October 5, 2000)
- Green Day (January 15, 2001)
- A Perfect Circle (February 18, 2001)
- Papa Roach (March 18, 2001)
- The Offspring (April 25, 2001)
- 311 (October 19, 2001)
- B. B. King (December 29, 2002)
- Puddle of Mudd (April 20, 2004)
- "Saenger Continues Fight On Pensacola Auditorium." Boxoffice, July 14, 1951.
- "Landmark brought many greats." Pensacola News Journal, October 18, 1999.
- O'Brien, Mark. "Tear down a tired auditorium and let county build better facility." Pensacola News Journal, August 24, 2003.