Home to two universities, a vibrant downtown area, the Florida High School Athletic Association and several ethnic hubs, Gainesville is often overlooked on a national scale as an epicenter for music. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Bernie Leadon of the Eagles are among the city’s most famous progeny, but in 2017, thanks in part to companies like Lucid Nightlife, electronic dance music is putting Gainesville on the map.
At 10 p.m. Saturday, Lucid Nightlife will host six EDM artists at Simons nightclub: headliner Part Native and support acts Side Trakd, FLTHYVBZ, Illegal Maneuver, Tyler Anthony and a surprise special guest.
The event comes as part of Lucid Nightlife’s initiative to promote diverse up-and-coming acts from the Gainesville area and around the country, founder Matt Collins said.
Collins started Lucid Nightlife in 2014, around the same time he began to pursue his civil engineering degree at UF. In the past nine months, Collins said, the business has taken off. Now, the company has 45 employees, most part-time and event-specific. Ten to 15 of those employees make up Collins’ core group.
“We have had the opportunity to be the team leader and the head ambassador for most festivals in Florida, including Sunset Music Festival, Life in Color, Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival and III Points in Miami,” Collins said. “We act as the promotional intermediaries for the Gainesville area and try to get our fans aware of the festivals going on in and around Florida.”
Though Saturday’s event is at Simons, future events will rotate between the three to five venues Lucid Nightlife works with, depending on the kinds of acts Collins and his team bring together that month. This month, the artists have strong roots in Gainesville.
“We don’t work directly for any venue, we do our own shows from the ground up,” Collins said. “I’ll contact and book the artist, get them down here, sell the tickets and then manage everything the night of the event.”
The six acts listed on the event’s Facebook page have dreams of performing among the ranks of chart-topping DJs and producers, but Tripp Churchill and David Hall of headliner Part Native are already on their way to seeing those dreams become a reality.
“We think it’s pretty cool to see huge artists like The Chainsmokers, Diplo, Afrojack and other artists playing our music out at their shows,” Churchill said. “It’s also awesome to have the opportunity to play shows around the country.”
Determination is a common theme among the attitudes of the artists bringing their work to Simons on Saturday. All are grateful for Lucid Nightlife and are confident their origins in Gainesville are strong jumping off points.
For Part Native, the showcase will someday bring about an element of nostalgia. Moving forward, it might be rare for them to play in Gainesville as they grow, so the pair looks forward to putting on a great show for their hometown, Churchill said.
For FLTHYVBZ members Jack Forney and Justin Barding, opportunities like the one on Saturday are important for their careers.
“In this industry, you can blow up overnight … As far as this weekend goes, we are trying to build our local support,” Forney said. “Gainesville is where we are based. We are Gainesville-only dubstep artists, and we want to establish that brand with the local bass fans. Part Native is one of the biggest artists to come out of Gainesville, and they did it with a lot of local support. We are following in their footsteps.”
Tickets at the door are $7, while $5 presale tickets are available for purchase on eventbrite.com. For partygoers 21 and over, free shots will be served every hour on the hour, and free pizza will be available for all. Keep up with all Lucid Nightlife events at www.facebook.com/LucidNightlife.Gainesville.