After nearly two years of business, an extensive remodel in June of this year and countless nights of electronic performances, Realm nightclub will close this weekend after gaining new ownership.
Although the news is disappointing for music fans around Gainesville, the many people that breathed life into the nightclub plan to go out with a bang. Dubbed “The Last Dance,” Realm and local production company Over Easy Creative will host a 24-hour closing party starting Saturday at 7 p.m. and ending Sunday at 7 p.m.
The event will host two stages (one for house and one for bass), a private silent disco, breakfast tacos and mimosas, various drink specials and 35 performers from around the state of Florida, many of whom have played at Realm in the past. Tickets are available via Eventbrite for $13.
To keep things by the book, the performers will move to a separate location at 2 a.m. for the silent disco, which will only be for invited guests. However, everyone will return to Realm at 7 a.m. to continue for the next 12 hours. The event will take place both at Realm and The Terrace, which is the top level of the Florida Theater that connects to Realm.
Les Voss, the owner of Over Easy Creative, said he approached Realm’s owner, Douglas Palmieri, with the idea because he wanted to make the closing event truly special. From there the two worked together to figure out how to fill enough slots for a full 24 hours.
“It’s pretty heavy trying to gather all the homies to get on it, but of everyone I asked only one person was unable to do it, and everybody was so eager,” Voss said. “Our whole lineup is going to be crazy. It’s kind of like one giant puzzle with lots of pieces that can go in lots of different places.”
Voss himself will play two performances throughout the weekend: one under his real name and a sunrise set for the silent disco under his alias, Lost Vest.
Palmieri, the owner of both Realm and local audio/visual equipment event planning company Gator Sound and Lighting, will also play one of the main slots under his DJ name, Black Cloud.
As for seeing his club close, Palmieri said that shifts in the local music scene make it easier to move on.
“I think it’s time to do better things,” Palmieri said via email on Monday. “This town really does not support EDM as it used to. It’s sad to see my creation close, but I feel it’s a blessing in disguise. I can now put my main focus where it should be, at Gator Sound and Lighting. I’m already ramping up equipment purchases to do bigger shows.”
Realm and Florida Theater recently came under the ownership of Bill Bryson, owner of Crane Ramen and other ventures around Gainesville. Renovations to the venue are expected, something Voss said he looks forward to.
“He does a really good job of what he gets his hands on,” Voss said of Bryson. “Even if it takes a year or two to really get it to be something perfect, I’d be totally cool with that. To me, it’s one of the most historic buildings in Gainesville. So to me, it deserves to be a nice, well-treated machine.”
Although the future of the venues for electronic music in particular is unclear, Palmieri said that he and many others plan to keep the scene thriving in Gainesville.
“As the close of Realm marks the close of the only club dedicated to electronic music, there will be plenty of parties that Gator Sound and Lighting, Over Easy and Lucid will be involved (with) or throwing to keep electronic music alive here,” Palmieri said. “We at Realm will always love our home we had here, and the friends we made.”