State of Rock

Since 1969, four iconic bands have ruled American classic rock, their songs on a perpetual loop via FM and satellite radio. Each band includes two guitarists with deep Florida roots, supplying the gold and platinum riffs. Those eight artists make a compelling case for Florida as an incubator of great American classic rock guitarists. That’s not to mention many others from the Sunshine State who have also left a mark

Lift Every Voice 
and Sing

Jacksonville’s multi-faceted James Weldon Johnson wrote the stirring hymn that has become a part of American life. By Craig Pittman On a warm and wet September evening last year, the first football game of 2021 was about to start. The two teams lined up on the field at Raymond James Stadium, each in their respective end zones—the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on one side, the Dallas Cowboys on the other. Before

‘I’m Florida, Need I Say More?’

Now turning 70, a White Springs Festival celebrates the elusive, eclectic music that is Florida Folk. By Peter B. Gallagher An attendee at the 70-year-old Florida Folk Festival, May 27-29, may well be confused, not just by the Cracker accent prevalent along these parts of the Suwannee River, but also by the diverse sights and sounds of the nation’s longest continuous state folk festival.  Over here sits a bluesman rhyming

Traveling Down the Chitlin’ Circuit

Ocala blues musician Rev. Billy C. Wirtz explores the Florida clubs and artists that defined Black music during the days of Jim Crow. Muddy Waters stepped up to the mic and spit out the words, “You can’t lose what you ain’t never had.” Otis Spann hit a C major trill on the piano and somewhere deep inside me, a switch was thrown. It wasn’t just the music but the look

The Hitmaker

For 63 years, Miami’s Criteria Studios has recorded some of the country’s most popular albums and artists. By Janet Scherberger In 1977, “Hotel California,” the Eagles classic recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami, received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. The album had topped the charts for eight weeks and would go on to be the third-best-selling album of all time. But the band lost the honor to

The Activist

A Marine Corps veteran who earned two Purple Hearts during the Vietnam War, Scott Camil returned to Florida after two tours of duty and became a leading activist in Veterans Against the Vietnam War. This is an edited excerpt from an interview the University of Florida’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program conducted with Camil in 2005. To learn more about the project and access its thousands of interviews, go to

Florida offers a Wealth of Resources to Embrace and Enjoy our Rich Musical Heritage

Florida can proudly boast a diverse musical identity. Every new group that has set roots in Florida has shared its unique rhythm and sound, creating a harmonious blend of musical expression. From opera to gospel, Latin and bluegrass, we celebrate music as a bridge connecting our state’s unique cultures. At the Florida Department of State, we are excited to help you cultivate those connections by offering plenty of resources for

Sound Check

There may be a better job for a Florida-fanatic journalist than editing this magazine, but after five months on the job, I can’t think of one. Published by Florida Humanities, the council that helps support legions of deserving organizations across the state, FORUM has been the voice of the humanities in Florida for three decades. Along the way, it’s racked up numerous awards and attracted an exceptional audience of intellectually

Join Us on a Journey, Become a Florida Humanities Member

How often do you strike out, alone or with another, to ponder and explore the humanity of Florida? The many twists and turns, waterways, trails and roads contribute to the unique beauty of the daily life of a Floridian. What is much more intriguing are the stories behind the aesthetic. The literature, history, politics and cuisines tucked away beneath the surface of the roads we travel daily. Inside this magazine,
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