As gubernatorial candidate and Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried spends the weekend putting out fires sparked by her last-minute “revisions” to her financial disclosures, Governor Ron DeSantis emerges out of smoke on a concert stage to receive star treatment in Panama City Beach from a crowd of over 20,000.
Video from this weekend’s Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam shows the governor emerging out of the smoke on the concert venue’s runway as “Crazy Train” blares and roughly 22,000 country music fans erupt into thunderous applause. He throws his arms in the air, encouraging the crowd even more, clearly enjoying the experience.
“Amazing,” a man backstage is heard on a video saying as DeSantis takes the stage, “that guy’s a rock star.”
DeSantis made a surprise appearance to the concert last night to welcome country music fans to Panama City Beach and thank them for attending what is believed to be the first major live music festival event since COVID.
The Panama City Beach 2021 Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam three-day event did not require masks and featured headliners Lynyrd Skynyrd, Brad Paisley and Luke Bryan. It was originally slated to occur last Labor Day weekend but was postponed because of the pandemic.
The festival is just the latest example of Florida’s determination to get life back to normal.
During DeSantis’ brief remarks he encouraged other states and countries to follow Florida’s lead and open back up and “let people live their lives.” The crowd roared when he said the reason Florida was hosting the event was because “Florida chose Freedom over Faucism.”
Following the concert, DeSantis tweeted, “Nothing says Florida is open like a night of live music at the @Pepsi @GulfCoastJam, the largest music festival since the pandemic began.”
But his appearance and the concert itself doesn’t come without criticism. In addition to many comments praising the governor, following the posts of the video and his remarks are a long stream of negative comments like, “Thanks @GovRoDeSantis and @pepsi, those who contract covid and die from it after the concert will appreciate the concert.”
And “So…you’re just basically endorsing a mass casualty event. Seriously, wtf is wrong with you?”