New South Main Venue Gets Impressive Music Lineup with ‘Everybody Party’
Every now and then, an ambitious event will seemingly pop up out of nowhere that raises eyebrows in the local music scene. Everybody Party is one of those events, spanning the entire weekend of April 7 -9.
The event will officially reveal the Happy Town Everything store, South Main’s newest music venue and collaborative, creative space.
Ray Steel, owner and drum maker at Happy Tree Music, has moved his operation to a South Main Street location—a large space right behind The Warehouse restaurant. Steel has brought in some seriously impressive musical performances to announce his arrival at Everybody Party and is offering a wide variety of entertainment throughout the weekend along with complementary alcohol to VIP ticket holders. In other words, the host is all set and everyone’s invited to the party.
Music festival veterans will quickly recognize names like Come Back Alice, Morning Fatty, Locochino, and Hail! Cassius Neptune scattered across Everybody Party’s bill. Local diehards will also pick out names like Maca Raggae Samba, The Shambles, The Couch Messiahs, and Mama Trish vs. Godzilla! among others.
Then there’s a couple of interesting names that stand out once you dig into them, like Jacksonville-based ShanyTown and Gainesville’s own Deep Roots. ShanyTown boasts the Lynyrd Skynyrd family line (and sounds like it, too) while Deep Roots is led by the recognizable smile of Li Diddley (that would be the same Diddley name that Bo Diddley Plaza is named after).
The JB’s, James Brown’s band, were on the lineup until yesterday but were rescheduled for the fall when one of Everybody Party’s sponsors fell through, according to Steel.
We spent some time with Steel to see what it is that makes the man tick and why he’s taking the full-throttle approach to changing his business scope and location.
“Currently, it’s hard out there on artists and it’s hard out there on musicians. I wanted to make a music and art venue that sincerely was about teaching, learning, and performing,” said Steel of his personal ambitions. “Kids and bands are always coming to me [and asking], ‘Ray, can you help me with my band?’ I’ll give them gigs […] and not only will I give them a gig, but I’ll teach them how to be a band. We’ll have the tools you need and we’ll record you while you’re on the stage.”
Beyond this weekend’s opening party, the location aspires to be “an art hub, a place where artists come to meet and work together.”
Steel will be turning the whole place into what he calls Happy Town Everything Store. Beyond this weekend’s opening party, the location aspires to be “an art hub, a place where artists come to meet and work together.”
Happy Town Everything Store aims to be open regularly and late with one building on the compound serving as a coffee shop and another as a music store. The goal will be to provide a creative, collaborative space with high-speed internet for students and startups while giving musicians a late-night spot downtown when they need a last-minute item that should have been in their gig bag but wasn’t.
The space is big, location is spot-on, and the potential is definitely there for the kind of DIY hub that Happy Town Everything Store aspires to be. That vision will take dedication from the owners and enormous support from the community to pull off, but Gainesville is the kind of town that loves to just go out and do great things when inspiration strikes.
Everybody Party certainly is interesting, and so Happy Town has successfully captured our attention. We’ll be watching the place grow over time, but complimentary beer and some of our favorite bands should be a winning place to start.
Tickets can be found online here and come in standard or VIP packages. Day passes and weekend passes are both available and the event is located at 516 SW First St.