Gainesville is considered a progressive music hub. I’m not sure what factors play into making a city more “hipster” than others, seeing as it’s a pretty subjective descriptor, but I’m not complaining. Maybe that's accounting for how many successful musicians have hailed from Gainesville. In that case, we have Tom Petty, Stephen Stills, Benmont Tench and Don Felder, to name a few. So I can see how we’d top the list. Or maybe they take into consideration the current state of music and art within Gainesville.
Gainesville is home to a booming up-and-coming music scene, with bands such as The Forum, The Hails, flipturn, The Savants of Soul and Arrows in Action. A local student-run record label has signed at least three of these groups, putting on shows and promoting these young and talented artists. Swamp Records draws attention to our city, encouraging bands, such as flipturn from Fernandina Beach, to relocate to the heart of Florida.
Swamp Records is hosting Fall Fest this Wednesday at The Wooly. Presale tickets are only $12, and there will be four performances, so you’re certainly getting your money’s worth. It’s important to attend local concerts such as these, since bands such as Mudcrutch, which later became Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, would never have existed without support from its hometown.
Petty and his friends would play gigs for scant compensation at college bars, most of which no longer exist. However, local venues such as the High Dive, Depot Park, Heartwood Soundstage, and The Wooly have come to fill this void. High Dive has recently hosted nationally recognized bands including Hippo Campus, Magic City Hippies, SALES and Generationals. With band names such as these, it’s impossible to overlook Gainesville, which is ultimately an underground oasis for a blossoming music scene. In fact, one could argue that Gainesville is the hippest city south of Atlanta. Sorry, Miamians.
Hear Again Records, my favorite record shop, was included in The 1975’s list of locations to host a listening party for its new album “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships.” Hear Again was one of only 34 locations that were chosen to host listening parties. To be selected by a band as globally popular as The 1975 is a huge honor and should be taken seriously. Not only was Gainesville selected by the 1975 as a host city, it was listed among cities such as Atlanta, Austin, Nashville, Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle. To be ranked among cities like those is astounding.
Returning to the topic of record labels, Fueled By Ramen, which is home to major punk bands, including, but not even remotely limited to, Twenty One Pilots, Paramore, Panic! at the Disco and Grandson, hailed from a certain small, southern town. Unlike most major record labels with roots in Nashville, Los Angeles or New York, Fueled By Ramen originated in Gainesville. If you’re me, and you’ve traveled the southeast to see Twenty One Pilots, this information is grounds for major excitement.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you support local artists and record labels you end up with music acts along the lines of Petty and Twenty One Pilots. Start showing support by attending events, like Swamp Records’ Fall Fest. This past weekend, both flipturn and Born Ruffians played shows, so hopefully you got to attend at least one of those. By fostering a community of music and art, Gainesville will continue to flourish. Keep Gainesville weird.
Hannah Whitaker is a UF English sophomore. Her column appears on Mondays.