Gainesville music lovers saw local artists Driveaway and Shane Malone at the latest installment of the Live and Local music series Nov. 18. Located at 111 E. University Ave., the family-friendly concert ran from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Bo Diddley Plaza.
The series is usually held the third Thursday every month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and is sponsored by the Gainesville Parks and Recreation Cultural Affairs Dept.
The showcase was run by MusicGNV, a 501C non-profit organization based in Gainesville. They partnered with Swamp Records for the event. Co-founder of Music GNV, Brandon Telg said, “What makes this show special is we want to work with music organizations in Gainesville that are working with the independent music community.”
He said the goal of the Live and Local series is to highlight Gainesville’s emerging talent.
“Traditionally, Bo Diddley Plaza haven’t highlighted often younger talent, and the series is looking to fix that,” he said.
Telg said the concerts are held earlier in the day than a regular concert so it’s accessible for families to enjoy the show.
Musical acts are eligible to play by having credible status in the local scene or signing a form available to anyone who wishes to participate. One special way MusicGNV wanted to provide to the local scene is by using their quarterly recording grant, where they take applications for a month and give a band free studio time in Gainesville for a weekend.
MusicGNV strives to represent different voices in the community. Telg said the first show June had a singer-songwriter showcase.
“It was more of a variety show as 10 acts in two hours,” he said. He said in other shows, they’ve hosted funk band Mad Woman and folk band Palimony.
MusicGNV reached out to Swamp Records, UF’s student-run artist resource agency, to help curate the lineup for this part of the Live and Local series. Telg said adding Swamp Records will encourage more residents, specifically students, to view the show.
“I’ve lived in Gainesville a long time and I don’t think before Swamp Records have I ever seen a music-orientated organization that creates fans for college-age music lovers,” Telg said.
The event was emceed by Swamp Records President Shannon Mercatante. Because Live and Local was Swamp Records’ biggest show of the semester, she said the event was especially meaningful for the label, MusicGNV and the city of Gainesville.
Mercatante runs the organization and manages eight teams that are each responsible for different sections of the label, such as booking and business. She said the role of the record label is to help maintain and promote artists in the Gainesville music scene.
“Bringing our influence as a student-run organization and student body to the series will bring more of an awareness of how we contribute to the local music scene,” she said.
Both Shane Malone and Driveaway are not signed with the record label, but Driveaway was previously signed for a few years. Malone, a UF junior studying computer science, has been playing in the Gainesville scene since the fall semester of his freshman year in 2019. Malone and his backing band played in a 45-minute set.
He said before the project played Live and Local, they never played or seen a show at Bo Diddley Plaza.
“We were happy with how everything went smoothly and how many people came,” he said. “I loved how everything was open so I can see everyone.”
Telg said this was the largest Live and Local series concert yet, with 168 people in attendance according to the Bo Diddley Plaza staff. Telg said he was happy with the turnout of the show and had City Commissioner Harvey Ward approach him.
“I was out working on something and he stopped me and said he was loving this event,” he said.
The next Local and Live concert is on Dec. 9 featuring Sooza Brass Band and Kristen Warren.
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Elliot Tritto is the host and producer of the Independent Alligator. He is a junior studying broadcast journalism at UF. Before joining the Alligator, Tritto had experience from the newsroom at the Broward College's Observer and as a podcast host of the Basic Nerd Experience.