Even in the midst of a pandemic, Swamp Records continues to command the Gainesville music scene.
The student-run record label will host its 2021 spring showcase Saturday at 7 p.m. The event will take place at Heartwood Soundstage, with in-person performances by headliner Parrotfish and local favorites Driptones, helloashtonchase, Faith & Majesty, Neverless, Dionysus, Mace and Arden. Gainesville bands The Forum and Driveaway will also make a virtual appearance, with 15-minute pre-recorded sets by each band broadcasted in between live performances.
The program will be Swamp Records’ seventh annual showcase, marking the start of a slow return to normalcy after 2020’s spring showcase was canceled and Fall Fest 2020 was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Remaining cautious, Showcase 2021 will follow COVID precautions and social distancing guidelines.
Swamp Records president Bella Clements said the record label values Showcase as their biggest event of the year and part of the downtown Gainesville yearly music scene. The 22-year-old UF marketing senior said spring showcase is the best chance to offer Swamp’s signed bands the opportunity to either headline a big music event or open for a popular headliner. All profits also go directly back into supporting Swamp Records’ bands, projects and events, she said.
This year, after a COVID-fueled hiatus from spring showcase, Clements said Swamp Records is excited to bring the event back. Inspired by this, the theme for Showcase 2021 will be spring — playing on concepts of renewal and bloom.
“We definitely want it to be something that feels like a rebirth,” she said. “Bringing the arts community back into the in-person sphere.”
Clements said the record label is treating Showcase 2021 like a “big comeback event,” pushing the limits of what a typical music showcase looks like.
“We want to make showcase not just a music event — it’s more of a festival,” she said. “We want it to be something that represents the Gainesville scene and the Gainesville arts community, even the food community.”
Indie sister duo Faith & Majesty announced their signing with Swamp Records last February, and Showcase 2021 will be their first in-person event under the record label. Majesty Smith, 23, said live music was one of the reasons she and her sister Faith, 27, originally moved to Gainesville in 2019. She said the two are thrilled to be performing at showcase and with the support of Swamp Records and the Gainesville community.
“It’s going to feel so nice and so nostalgic finally getting to gather safely as a music community,” Majesty said. “It’s going to be like friends meeting up again.”
She said the duo’s set Saturday will be full of original songs, including their most recent release, “Premise.”
Saturday night will be Swamp Records’ first time working with Parrotfish, a Florida-born, Nashville-based alternative rock band. The band’s 24-year-old guitarist, Joe Cadrecha, said they are excited to play in Gainesville again after their High Dive debut in February, and they are hoping to meet new fans and get connected with the UF audience.
As with many bands, COVID-19 put a damper on Parrotfish’s ability to perform live throughout much of 2020. Instead, Cadrecha said the group used the time off to write new songs, record and get better at songwriting and production. As conditions start to improve, however, he said he sees there being “a huge explosion of live music next year.”
Cadrecha also said he thinks people are eager to get out and do something social, using live music as a distraction from the chaos of everyday life.
“Shows kind of create a social camaraderie, and that’s something people have been missing this past year,” he said.
Tickets to Saturday’s show can be purchased online for $16 or for $20 at the door.
Contact Veronica Nocera at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @vernocera.
Veronica Nocera is a first-year Journalism major with a History minor. This is her first semester on staff for The Alligator, where she works as Avenue News Assistant. She also writes for Rowdy Magazine.