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Sunday, May 09, 2021

High Dive to host Emo Night tonight

The punk staple returned to monthly shows in February after a year-long hiatus

The “Grave Rave” of Halloween 2019 was one of Emo Night’s themed events.
The “Grave Rave” of Halloween 2019 was one of Emo Night’s themed events.

It’s not a phase, Mom — it’s a COVID-safe celebration of all things pop punk.

Pop Punk & Emo Night, organized by GNVpunk, returns to High Dive tonight for an evening of chokers and checkered Vans nostalgia. The event will feature a catalog of late ‘90s and early 2000s hits and a socially distanced setup, with a DJ booth and seating placed outside in the beer garden.

After a hiatus that lasted more than a year, Saturday’s 9 p.m. show marks the second Emo Night of 2021. Like other live events, Emo Night was put on hold following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, but the show returned in February with added safety measures and socially distanced accommodations.

Pat Lavery, High Dive’s facility and events manager, said the series’ return was met with an eager audience.

“We brought back the event for the first time in a year in February, and it sold out in advance,” he said.

Though the event is usually incomplete without dancing around the venue and a mosh-pit in the front row, Emo Night looks a little different this year. Taking place entirely in the beer garden, attendees will be distanced from each other and masks will be required at all times unless seated and drinking outside. Additionally, the venue has implemented temperature checks and limited capacity to ensure compliance with COVID guidelines.

“We have been putting on events in this format since October and have become known around town by performers and customers alike to be the safest performance venue in town,” Lavery said.

GNVpunk was founded in August 2019 by husband and wife Travis and Becca Glenn. The couple, both 39, met at the “Purplepalooza” show at Gainesville’s Purple Porpoise — now sports restaurant and bar The Social —  in 2001.

They frequented punk shows across the state together in the years following, but after having to travel from city to city to see their favorite bands, the Glenns realized they wanted to make a punk show more accessible to a local audience. 

“We thought it would be cool if there was something in Gainesville for people to do other than the once-a-year Fest,” Travis Glenn said.

The Fest, a weekend of live punk and pop-punk in Gainesville, has occurred annually since 2002, but Emo Night was a monthly series at High Dive before the shutdowns. The Glenns first toyed with the idea after attending a live punk show in another city. When Travis expressed wanting to bring the genre to Gainesville, Becca Glenn sprang into action.

“I kind of just started reaching out to a bunch of different venues, and High Dive had a space open,” she said. “I was like, “Let’s do it!’ So we did.”

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After starting “on a whim,” according to Lavery, the event has become a High Dive staple. Pre-COVID, Travis Glenn said Emo Night usually resulted in a full house, with fans regularly attending to get a taste of their favorite throwback tunes.

With a setlist curated by Travis Glenn and DJ Roxx Xxavage, attendees can expect to hear all of the hits from the emo era — My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, Blink 182 and even selections from Machine Gun Kelly’s newest punk album.

Travis Glenn said the decision to return in February was made entirely with safety in mind. Moving forward, he said, was made possible by the guidelines High Dive put in place.

“We were a little bit apprehensive, didn’t even know if it was really the right time to start doing it,” he said. “Pat (Lavery) assured us that he could pull it off in a way that was safe and sensitive to as many COVID precautions as possible.”

Lavery said February’s sold-out show was a glimmer of brighter days ahead.

“It was a real pleasure to see and gives us hope for the next couple months as we transition back to hopefully packed nights inside our beautiful, historic venue,” he said.

Tickets and more information about Emo Night can be found at High Dive’s website.

Contact Heather Bushman at hbushman@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @hgrizzl.

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