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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Changeville 2017: Gainesville’s Social Change Festival, an immersive festival that kicked off in Gainesville in 2016, is set to return for a second year of music, comedy and more in the pursuit of social change.

The event will take place today and Friday, with music, panels, comedy and even virtual reality experiences taking place throughout the day and ending at 1 a.m.

Events will be held at venues all over downtown Gainesville, including the High Dive, The Bull, the Hippodrome State Theatre, Bo Diddley Community Plaza and more. A multi-venue pass is $29, with tickets for single shows available as well. A portion of the sales will go back to WUFT Television Channel 5, UF’s Public Broadcasting Service TV station that aims at providing the community with educational news.

Headliners include Big Freedia, Talib Kweli, Moon Hooch, David Bazan and more, all of whom are dedicated to some sort of cause in the realm of social change, from environmentalism to race issues. Kweli’s show, which will take place tonight on Bo Diddley Plaza and will feature Big Sam’s Funky Nation, will be the only free show of the weekend.

The event comes at the tail end of Gainesville’s annual frank conference, a gathering of professionals who use public-interest communications in order to drive social change. Changeville incorporates the power of music and other forms of entertainment to pursue that goal, as well.

Jennifer Vito, one of the co-executive directors of Changeville and a UF alumna, said the inspiration behind Changeville came from frank itself.

“The frank gathering wanted to connect the bright minds from the conference with the work of social-change artists across many platforms and the Gainesville community,” she said.

Changeville did just that in its first year and has expanded to include different types of art in its second installment.

Joel Ramos, the creative director of Changeville and a UF public relations senior, said the biggest expansion Changeville made over the past year was incorporating more virtual reality experiences. This year’s Changeville will feature six virtual reality exhibits, including the work of famous Baltimore-based street muralist Gaia, specifically his first-ever virtual reality mural and various virtual reality films.

Ramos said Changeville will also feature a variety of local films chosen through an application process. There will also be poetry and meditation events held for free Friday.

Ramos was inspired to continue working with Changeville after he helped plan the inaugural event. Last year, Ramos said roles were less defined, and he was able to do a little bit of everything to see Changeville come to fruition.

“Since it was the first year, no one working on Changeville really knew what it would become until it happened right in front of our eyes,” the 23-year-old said, “and it was amazing. It was magical. I had never felt so accomplished in my life. I knew I had to do it again.”

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Between bringing a variety of artists together and remembering the overall idea of social change, Ramos, Vito and the Changeville team have put in a lot of work to bring Changeville together. The festival brings a lot of different concepts to the table, all with the greater goal of social change as their motivator.

Music is one of the biggest vehicles of attaining this goal, Vito said.

“I think music is one of the greatest connectors of people and conductors of social change,” she said. “It brings people together and instantly sparks a feeling, a connection and an understanding — which is the foundation for driving change.”

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