Bo Diddley Plaza, named for a locally connected music legend, will provide a stage for dozens of local musicians to make a name for themselves in the next three months.
MusicGNV, a program by the storytelling-focused nonprofit Self Narrate, announced its lineups Monday for the next three shows in its Live & Local concert series.
The series will be performed at the Bo Diddley Plaza at 7 p.m. on the first Friday of each month starting Feb. 3. Promoting Gainesville-based musicians and drawing hundreds of attendees to each show, it’s supported by the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department of the city of Gainesville.
Brandon Telg, co-founder of MusicGNV and director of Self Narrate, has been putting on these shows for three years. He said the series is a fun and exciting chance for performers to share their art with an eager community.
“It's an amazing opportunity to give artists the chance to perform at Bo Diddley Plaza,” Telg said. “But also give the Gainesville community a chance to see a wide range of amazingly talented performers.”
None of the artists included in the upcoming slate have performed at any Live & Local shows before, Telg said. He takes pride in giving opportunities to artists who aren’t yet well-established in the local scene.
“Many of the established concert series that happen out in public in Gainesville book bands and artists that have already been well-established in Gainesville,” Telg said. “This is an opportunity for a number of newer artists to get to perform on that stage.”
“Something about Gainesville grows these amazingly talented artists and performers,” he said. “We have so many artists that are, I think, as good as your Tom Pettys or your Minnie Ripertons.”
The show on Feb. 3, done in partnership with Night Before Media, will commemorate Black History Month with an all-Black lineup. March 3 will consist of a singer-songwriter showcase, and April 7 will emphasize the youth scene with a teen showcase.
Sky Luca$, who co-founded Night Before Media, expressed confidence in the quality of the performers. Night Before is a music collective, a group of artists that work together to help independent musicians flourish.
“The guys that are performing are extraordinary musicians,” he said. “Poets.”
Luca$, who is performing in the February show, is also proud of the event’s efforts to promote Black artists.
“I think that was a cool twist, to help give Black artists like myself a platform,” he said. “It's cool to see them encouraging Black art.”
Isabella Duncan, a 19-year-old UF sophomore who uses the stage name PRIZILLA, appreciates the specific theme behind the April show: the teen showcase, in which she is performing.
“The showcase is a huge opportunity to get my name out there because it's hard breaking out of a music scene…in a small town,” she said.
The city’s music scene has been heavily influential on her young career, she said.
“I love Gainesville’s music scene,” Duncan said. “Every single person I've met has been crucial to my journey to where I am.”
It was the unique and special vibrance of the city’s musical community that inspired Telg to spearhead these concerts in the first place.
“Music is such an integral part of Gainesville,” he said. “Music is sort of a natural outgrowth of the community that we have here and sort of a natural expression of what it is to be in a small, intellectually stimulating, pretty progressive town like ours.”
Contact Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @benHcrosbie.