In a world with Apple Music and Spotify, The Atlantic reminds Gainesville that the best music is still heard live.
This weekend marks the 14th anniversary of The Atlantic, one of Gainesville’s premiere live music venues. On Friday at 10 p.m., The Atlantic will host Luke’s Wall, a Black Sabbath tribute band, and DJ DeepPurp. These events run in conjunction with a Beach Ball 3D block party at the Arcade Bar, on Saturday night.
Since 2004, The Atlantic has fed Gainesville a healthy diet of addictive live and local music. The venue has been known to host local punk groups, DJs, Motown performers and other unique sounds.
Thomas Rankine, the promotion and talent manager at The Atlantic, said the venue would not exist today if it were not for Gainesville’s consistent cycle of local talent.
“We take pride in keeping a wide mix of events on the calendar,” Rankine said. “Any night of the week, you can expect to wander in to an insane metal or punk show and the very next night, be greeted by Otis Redding or The Ronettes during Motown Showdown.”
The Atlantic feeds on unpredictability, Rankine said. Like the residents of Gainesville, local music downtown carries an atmosphere of sophisticated chaos.
To some, 14 years might not seem significant. However, in the context of Gainesville’s other venues, The Atlantic’s anniversary is particularly notable.
This week, High Dive also celebrated its birthday. The music venue commemorated its seventh anniversary with a week of shows and performances, which will extend into the weekend.
Common Grounds, another music venue, closed its doors in 2011, lasting only 15 years. Loosey’s Downtown Gainesville, The Wooly, The Bull and the Backyard at Boca Fiesta are each fewer than nine years old.
Thus, for a venue like The Atlantic to remain as popular as it is, Rankine said he likes to keep things fresh.
“The local scene is extremely diverse,” Rankine said. “Aside from being a blue dot in a red state, there are many like-minded artists in this town who embrace the diverse talents Gainesville has to offer.”
One could argue that local music and Gainesville have always been synonymous. It seems only natural that the birthplace of Tom Petty would become a prominent space for experimental and contemporary music and artistry.
However, as Gainesville continues to develop its identity, interest in local artistry seems to be under attack. This year, Florida state legislators cut funding to the arts more significantly than they had in previous years.
Rankine said The Atlantic has not felt the effects of these cuts directly. On the contrary, this situation has only reminded Rankine of The Atlantic’s mission.
“Supporting local arts will always be our primary focus and now we feel an obligation to try and do more,” Rankine said. “We are always hosting benefit shows and fundraisers and have every intention of continuing.”