For months, DeLuna Fest organizers have been promising a top-name headliner for the Pensacola Beach music festival.
Tuesday, they delivered.
The Five Flags Tourism Group announced Linkin Park, one of the world's biggest rock acts, will headline the Oct. 13-16 music festival.
Reaction was immediate — and positive.
"It's a home run," said Joel Sampson, program director for local rock radio station TK101. "I couldn't name you a bigger band for TK in the past 10 years. You'll never satisfy every music fan, but I think this will come close."
The band's huge following includes more than 33.8 million Facebook fans and more than 5 million paid members of its official fan club.
Linkin Park broke through to international stardom with the release of its 2000 album, "Hybrid Theory." The album sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S. and is ranked by Billboard magazine as the 11th-biggest seller of the decade.
Since then, the band has debuted four albums at No. 1 on the Billboard chart, including a collaboration with rap legend Jay-Z.
It has topped rock radio charts 10 times with hits such as "What I've Done," "In the End" and "Numb" and has been responsible for the lead single from the soundtrack album of each of the three highly successful "Transformers" movies.
Aside from an Aug. 30 show in Las Vegas and a private fundraising concert in Los Angeles, DeLuna Fest marks Linkin Park's only U.S. appearance through the end of 2011.
The band members are vocalist Chester Bennington, drummer Rob Bourdon, lead guitarist Brad Delson, bassist Dave "Phoenix" Farrell, turntablist/keyboardist Joe Hahn and vocalist/rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Mike Shinoda.
Ryan Covalt, co-owner of Capt'n Fun Beach Club on Pensacola Beach, said he's excited about the booking professionally and personally.
"It's definitely going to help," Covalt said. "The Linkin Park listener is my customer. I think it's going to boost business for DeLuna Fest and the entire island. And they're a personal favorite of mine. I was debating about going, and now I'm definitely going. Linkin Park has sold me."
Chris Wilkes, a talent buyer with Vinyl Music Hall, was equally impressed.
"It's great to see they've gotten another big name act with tons of mainstream rock appeal," Wilkes said. "The fact that it's a name that doesn't seem to wind up on every other regional festival in the country makes it more of a great get."
Among average music fans reached by the News Journal, the excitement was palpable.
"I think to say that I'm speechless would be an understatement of the level of excitement I am at right now!" said Marty Griffin, 25, via Facebook. "I am scheduling to take off of work immediately. If I can't "» I'll quit."
Starla Wheeler, 27, and Elisabeth Buswell, 25, said they'd been unlikely to attend the festival before, but the addition of Linkin Park has changed their minds.
"I had zero plans to go," Buswell said. "Having Linkin Park makes this a music festival I can see people willing to come from farther away to see. I think this makes it worth spending the money for."
Wheeler's immediate reaction was unprintable, but after calming down, she said Linkin Park is "on my concert bucket list."
"My hands are shaking!" she said.
Even people who don't consider themselves fans of Linkin Park said they thought it was a strong booking.
Whitney Fike, 26, said she hasn't listened to the band since high school, and while she isn't personally excited to see them perform, "I'm really excited (the headliner is) at least someone whose music I know."
In all, the bill features about 80 acts including alt-rock icons Jane's Addiction and Weezer, indie favorites the Shins, quirky rockers Cake and hip-hop star Big Boi.