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Monday, April 15, 2024

Swamp Records band Quail Hollow to perform at the Playground Music and Arts Festival

The festival will feature 12 independent Florida bands

Quail Hollow members Ashley Griffith and Dominic Fonseca performing at the Heartwood Soundstage on Friday, March 24, 2023.
Quail Hollow members Ashley Griffith and Dominic Fonseca performing at the Heartwood Soundstage on Friday, March 24, 2023.

On Jan. 20, the Playground Music and Arts Festival at Heartwood Soundstage will feature 12 independent bands from across Florida.

Among these acts is Quail Hollow, a five-member group based out of Gainesville and Tampa. About one year ago, the band released its first single. It has since signed to Swamp Records and garnered more than 20,000 streams on Spotify. 

During their senior year of high school, 20-year-old vocalist and guitarist Dominic Fonseca, 20-year-old drummer Augustus Hoff and 20-year-old guitarist Douglas Jaramillo began getting together to practice playing their instruments. Fonseca said they eventually realized they had the potential to play as a group, and Quail Hollow was born. 

“We quickly fell in love with playing music together and began to take it more seriously,” Fonseca said. 

After the friend group graduated in 2021, Hoff went to UF, while Fonseca and Jaramillo attended the University of South Florida. 

At USF, Fonseca met 20-year-old Ashley Griffith, and the two bonded over their love of music. He asked her if she was interested in joining the band, and now they are the band’s main vocalists. Griffith later met 22-year-old Matthew Butler, Quail Hollow synthesizer, at an open mic event in Tampa.

The group’s chemistry as friends contributed to their ability to work together as a band. After about one year of practicing their favorite songs and creating originals, the band was invited to play live shows in Tampa and Gainesville. 

“We were more of a band having fun and making music at home until we started playing live shows at the beginning of 2023,” Fonseca said. 

The band released its first single, “Don’t Stop,” Jan. 1, 2023. The song currently has more than 10,000 streams on Spotify. Soon after, it released three more singles on Spotify: “Runaway,” “Avocet” and “Never Change.” On March 3, the band released its self-titled, 39-minute-long album, “Quail Hollow.” Playground is the first festival it has performed at. 

Quail Hollow quickly made a name for itself in Fonseca’s hometown of Tampa, performing at venues such as Crowbar. After performing at venues like the High Dive, their following in Gainesville grew. Fonseca said the band has found its “pocket of songwriting and performance.” He said this developed over time as the band learned to complement each other while playing music rather than playing as individuals. 

In September, Quail Hollow signed with Swamp Records, a student-run music agency based in Gainesville. In November, the group traveled to Nashville to start recording its second album with music producer Andrew Boullianne. 

Jeffrey Carmichael is a 20-year-old UF psychology and economics junior and avid listener of Quail Hollow. He has followed the band since the spring of 2023. He first heard about the band when it performed at the High Dive, intrigued by its name alone. 

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“I’ve seen them live several times,” Carmichael said. “I think I’ve been to three of their shows at this point, and I thoroughly enjoyed every single one.” 

Carmichael said he appreciates the band’s diverse musical inspiration. 

“The band has an amazing indie rock sound, but it's so evident just how much they borrow from classic rock influences like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd,” he said. “I expect their upcoming album to really dive further into that fusion and stand on its own as a unique sound.” 

Fonseca said the band’s different musical backgrounds are apparent in their music. His inspirations include Pink Floyd and The Backseat Lovers, while Jaramillo and Hoff prefer classic rock from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Griffith likes indie music and rock, specifically naming Phoebe Bridgers, boygenius and Fleetwood Mac. Fonseca calls Butler “our jazzy man.”

“Although we all have separate music tastes, through the years we have begun to coexist and now we all love all of the above,” Fonseca said. 

The Playground Music and Arts Festival will be the band’s largest audience so far, Fonseca said. He said the headliner, Flipturn, was also formed by high-school friends and is an inspiration to the band. 

“We have not played such a stacked lineup like Playground, we are so excited to play alongside so many other great bands such as Flipturn, Trash Panda, Easy Honey, The Housing Crisis,” Fonseca said. 

Fonseca said the band is excited to return to the Heartwood Soundstage. Among the things he is most looking forward to is watching the other bands perform and being welcomed by their Gainesville audience. 

“This festival is going to feel so much more like a community than our other shows and we are thrilled,” Fonseca said. “Community is something that we try and create in our music, so we think it’s gonna be a good fit.” 

In the upcoming months, the band will return to Nashville to finish recording their sophomore album. Fonseca said the band’s music will show how much they have grown as artists and as people. 

Contact Emilia Cardenas-Perez at Follow her on X @emiliaandreaa.

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