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 curious readers who are eager to dive deep into the history and culture that make Florida so fascinating

Anything relating to the humanities anywhere and at any time in this hugely diverse state is fair game for our pages, and that is both an exhilarating and a daunting challenge for an editor. Heeding the storyteller’s adage that narrow is better than broad, we decided to focus on one subject in much of this issue—and what a subject it is. Florida has a rich and exciting musical legacy, from the songs of Indigenous people to the electrifying riffs of some of the world’s greatest rock guitarists. You’ll read about them and many others in this issue.

As our stories came in, we found ourselves taking guilty breaks from editing to listen to the mesmerizing music and artists our writers were describing. I came to appreciate more than ever the magnetic power of music—as well as its ability to provoke controversy. In a brash moment, we’d decided to pick the 16 G.O.A.T. Florida musicians and asked artist Regan Dunnick to illustrate our choices. Several of our writers helped make the final picks, and when a few previewed the list on social media, along with all the “likes,” a flurry of outraged objections and alternate suggestions popped up. (Let me know your reaction to our All-Star picks, pages 28 to 29, by emailing me at [email protected])

Working on my first issue of Forum has stretched my musical horizons, deepened my understanding of our state, and been pure, unmitigated joy. I hope you have a similar reaction to reading it.

Pamela Daniel, FORUM Editor

Pam Daniels, FORUM Editor

FORUM Magazine Summer No 2

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2020 Issue of FORUM Magazine. Visit our collection at the USFSP Digital Archive by clicking here.