Area Codes: Gainesville, FL

Like a lot of the previously featured towns in the Area Codes series, Gainesville, FL has a rich history as a music scene, going back to the ’70s when some guy named Tom Petty ran ramshod in town. In the ’90s, No Idea Records, and its associated bands, became a major magnet for Florida’s youth culture, with acts like Against Me!, Hot Water Music, Jawbreaker and others in wrapped up in No Idea’s fold. While hints of that punk spirit can still be detected in the modern music that Gainesville is putting out — pop-tinged punk and hardcore is still very much a draw — the scene, and No Idea Records for that matter, has blossomed into an environment where all kinds of sounds are developed, from the more traditional hardcore of a band like Cutman to the florid indie of Averkiou.

“I think there is a perception of a ’Gainesville sound’ that exists mostly outside of Gainesville,” says Matt Walker, who runs the Gainesville webzine Lead Us Down which documents the local scene. “Bearded dudes screaming anthemic sing-along choruses or whatever. But in town there are so many diverse bands and sounds going on that it’s impossible to boil it down to one sound.”

A big part of the Gainesville scene is the Fest, an annual weekend festival that initially featured dozens of Gainesville bands but has grown into something much larger, now featuring hundreds of bands from all parts. It’s a celebration of Gainesville’s music nucleus — it’s usually the same weekend as the Florida-Georgia game, so much of the college town’s fratty element is in Jacksonville during those days (“Gainesville is inundated with thousands of punk kids wearing black hoodies and Vans,” Walker says) — started by Tony Weinbender in 2001. It’s grown seemingly as Gainesville has grown: upward and outward. But, even though the scope and size of Gainesville’s music scene has expanded, it still maintains that community spirit that sustains a constant turnover of DIY spaces and a supportive audience, where everyone living and making music in Gainesville constantly champions their peers.

“A lot of musicians here have at least a little bit of a sense of pride about living in Gainesville, or in Florida,” Walker says. “Sometimes when it seems like there might be a lot to complain about, we can remind ourselves that we’re an hour and a half away from an awesome beach (St. Augustine), we have pretty great weather all year-round and we can go see live music just about any night of the week if we want to.”







Army Of Ponch – “Where’s My Miyagi?”

Averkiou – “Destroy The Next One (Live At The Atlantic)”

Coffee Project – “This Is Me Getting Over You in Two Chords Or Less”

Post Teens – “Fucked Up Perception (Live At The Atlantic)”


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Comments (14)
  1. nice read. thanks for the props you give to my ol’ college town….

  2. Wow, great installment of this series. Now I have a dozen new bands to check out. My knowledge of Gainesville has always been stunted of The Fest-type scene i.e. what they call “.org-core” punk type bands who all sound like Hot Water Music derivatives and are readily covered on

  3. Strange they didn’t list the No Idea site

  4. fairly decent albeit quite limited report, corban.
    I’d strongly suggest adding The Mercury Program as well as “rising” new band (and Levek-affiliated) Hundred Waters.
    (ironic this entry appears today, when I Guess I’m Floating and Portals just covered them!)

    This aside, ‘props’ for the vids and for mentioning The Lab, a key venue for the EDM/Goth/DJ(?) scene.

  5. Cool to see my town on Stereogum. Nice.

    However, I can’t believe Satchel’s Pizza is missing. Satchel’s is THE place people think of when you talk about Gainesville food. I’m sure most locals would agree.

  6. Please do Cincinnati next: 513. So much good music just now coming up in that city.

  7. Thanks for this. I graduated a few years ago, so it’s nice to hear about all these bands. Also: did Common Grounds shut down? The vast majority of shows I went to were there when I was in school. Sad if it’s not there any more.

  8. Good. Except for all the music.

  9. Wait, why do people go to Jacksonville for the Florida-Gainesville game? That doesn’t make any sense, unless you’re talking about UNF, not University of Florida…

    • They hold the UGA-UF game annually in Jacksonville, a neutral site, to ensure that everyone has enough space and buddies with which they can get as drunk as possible.

  10. Hey, you forgot to mention Backstage Lounge in the list of venues.

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