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Date of Issue: September 06, 2007

Complaint sounded over gospel at beach cafe

Manatee County officials encouraged Cafe on the Beach management to mix up the music after receiving complaints about gospel tunes at the restaurant.

Cafe on the Beach is located at the Manatee Public Beach, the county-operated facility in Holmes Beach.

County officials recently received a complaint from a patron objecting to faith-based gospel music heard at the restaurant, which regularly features musicians.

In response, county officials asked Cafe on the Beach to “mix it up” because the facility is “supposed to be for everybody,” said County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, a Holmes Beach resident and former mayor.

And that’s what Cafe on the Beach already tries to do, according to restaurant manager Darlene Powell.

Powell said gospel has been performed at Cafe at the Beach and that type of music has, contrary to rumors, not been banned from the restaurant.

“The public is welcome to request any song they like,” said Powell, adding that Cafe on the Beach’s entertainment lineup has never included an exclusively gospel performer. “On request, they will sing gospel, but they don’t do whole sets - that’s never been done. But they are not banned from singing gospel.”

For cafe customer Linda Albright, that may be good news.

“Most of us at the beach enjoy the gospel music,” she said. “In fact, I wish they would play more gospel.”