A local club owner is bringing the energy and scare factor of Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights two hours north to Gainesville — with a musical spin.
Realm nightclub, located at 233 W. University Ave., will host its fourth annual Radioactive Circus, which includes the Florida Theater on Friday at 9 p.m. The event will feature two stages of acts and adjoining scare zones in addition to a silent disco after-party only ticket holders have access to.
The night would be remiss without costume contests, themed drinks and $50,000 worth of production by Realm owner Douglas Palmieri, who also owns Gator Sound and Lighting, located at 1830 SW Williston Road.
“I came up with the idea four years ago when I started throwing parties like this at my house. The theme is very clown-centered, but they’ll be made to look like they’re dead and radiated,” Palmieri said. “Also, if you see any red balloons around town, that’s me, because I wanted to incorporate the movie ‘It’ as well.”
The event’s scare zones will be located strategically around the building and made to look like a nuclear wasteland. Palmieri and the actors he hired will be playing the roles of the radioactive clowns.
“I’m excited for people to have fun and enjoy what I’ve created,” Palmieri said. “Well, scared first, fun after.”
The two stages, the Florida Theater stage and the Realm stage, will host a variety of DJs who will play different genres of music simultaneously. The Florida Theater stage will feature dubstep, trap music and hip-hop while Realm will be home to the house genre.
Realm’s headlining performer will be Pete Bones, an English producer and DJ whose musical career began when he started a band in the late ‘80s after he was expelled from school. It was not until the house music revolution swept across the United Kingdom that he traded his drum kit for a pair of turntables.
Since then, Bones has achieved great chart success and gathered a worldwide following, and one of his favorite places to perform is Florida, where he owns a home.
“Gainesville was one of the first places I ever played in the United States. There and Orlando,” Bones said. “I played at Simon’s, and the experience was something I had never experienced in England. It was all the things I wanted or expected or hoped for in a club all wrapped into one.”
Friday’s performance will be Bones’ first Gainesville performance of this stature in more than a decade, and he believes the underground music scene that once flourished in the area is making a comeback.
“There’s plenty of diversity of taste in Gainesville, which I think is good. As I say, it takes all sorts to make a crowd,” Bones said. “I think people should be exposed to as much different music as possible, and Gainesville has had quite a few years of music that wasn’t very underground, so maybe it’s time for the cycle to turn and for it to become cool again.”
Bones’ attendance Friday is thanks in part to Les Voss, owner of Over Easy Creative, a music and event promotion company.
Voss helped Palmieri book the featured acts, which include Kyro!, Side Trakd, Netgate, DJ Luny, Nick Natural, Palmieri’s alias Black Cloud, Voss himself and co-headliner Eazybaked.
“Eazybaked is a duo, experimental weird, wonky, bass up-and-coming act from Orlando. They just started touring nationally with ThazDope records,” Voss said. “They’ve been part of the Over Easy family for a long time, and the hype is finally catching up to the talent.”
Partygoers are encouraged to dress up, as there will be a $50 bar tab awarded to the best clown costume and the sexiest costume. Drinks inspired by the theme include radioactive shots and a clown brain freeze.
The most unique aspect of the night, however, might be the silent disco after-party held in Palmieri’s backyard, an event only accessible with a wristband.
Several DJs will be performing music that can only be heard in the audience members’ headphones, making no sound to disturb the neighbors in the early hours of the morning.
Tickets to the Radioactive Circus event, which will grant access to the silent disco, can be purchased at eventbrite.com.