PANAMA CITY BEACH - Numerous locals who attended SandJam’s opening day said they were glad Bay County finally has a rock festival, and that throwing a beach into the mix makes it a perfect fit.

Residents who traveled to the M.B. Miller County Pier in Panama City Beach from Panama City, Lynn Haven and other neighboring towns looked forward to Sublime with Rome and Incubus - the Friday and Saturday respective headliners -and enjoyed Fitz and the Tantrums and other acts on Thursday.

The area in front of the Pepsi Stage, one of two concert stages on each end of the fenced-in festival area, was filled with people relaxing on the sandy shores of the Gulf of Mexico while various musicians performed.

Gin Blossoms, an Arizona alternative rock band that found mainstream success in the 1990s, got the audience clapping when they took the stage. They opened with their hit song “Follow You Down” as fans recorded the moment on their phones.

“Hello rock and rollers of West Florida,” lead singer Robin Wilson said. “We are your favorite band from Tempe, Arizona. And we are very excited to go to Whataburger after the show.”

One of the concertgoers during Gin Blossoms’ set was Aaron Braun of Lynn Haven. Braun said he’s always wanted to see SandJam’s major acts live and took a couple of days off work for the event, as did his friends who were also enjoying the opening day.

“It’s pretty awesome. We got Gulf Coast Jam every year but this is great,” Braun said. “It seems a lot of people are excited about it.”

Opening act Ida Mae, an English soul duo, kicked off that excitement with twangy tunes that sound like a mellower version of White Stripes. SandJam marked the first Florida performance for the duo, who got a record deal about a month ago.

“‘Panama City Beach, how we doing?” Chris Turpin, one half of Ida Mae, bantered with the crowd between songs. “This is amazing. We’ve come all the way from London.”

Panama City resident Trey Miller was watching Ida Mae. Miller is also excited that PCB has a festival that isn’t country, though he’s into all types of music. Sublime is a “big name to get” for PCB and one of his favorite bands, he said.

“I like how they have the two stages set up like this right on the water,” Miller said. “It’s really cool. It makes for some cool pictures.”

Others shared Miller’s opinion. Valerie Lindsey, also from Panama City, said she was “super excited for months” and purchased tickets right when acts were announced. She said not many alternative rock festivals have been held in Bay County.

“I don’t think there has been one here,” Lindsey said while sitting on a beach blanket. “There’s a bunch of country. The beach makes it better.”

While locals enjoyed the breezy and mildly sunny day, SandJam Executive Producer Rendy Lovelady said Wednesday they also expect an influx of visitors mostly from a 200-mile radius. Close to 20,000 people are expected to come over the three-day festival, with varying attendance estimates each day.

Vendor booths and trucks dotted the upper level of the pier, and representatives for local rock station 97X and AMP Energy Drink contributed to the alternative music atmosphere. SandJam continues Friday and ends Saturday.

A fireworks show after Incubus' set Saturday will pay tribute to musicians who have died.