On the Rise: Gainesville Bands You Need to Know

When it comes to starting a band, there is no better place to pick up a guitar than Gainesville, Florida. With a rich lineage of bands that catapulted to fame from the city, including Tom Petty, Hot Water Music and Less Than Jake, it is a city that thrives on music.

Blender Magazine even listed Gainesville as the best place to start a band in 2008 on its Web site, citing the large student body at the University of Florida and great live venues as some of its most attractive attributes for bands. With over 50,000 students attending the college, young bands have the opportunity to reach a broad base of potential fans that can help them gain positive media exposure.

For Ashley Richardson, director of the Reitz Union Board Entertainment's Bands Committee, Gainesville's music scene was huge when compared to the local music in her small hometown of Sebring, Fla.

"I think the nature of Gainesville being a college town and having the base of the university really fosters local music," she said.

Richardson has worked with bands like Umoja Orchestra and Bang Bang Boom to bring some of the best local music Gainesville has to offer to the student body as part of RUB Entertainment's bands committee. With so many talented bands playing in the city, she usually has a lot of options to choose from when planning music events.

Jennifer Arellano, president of the UF Music and Entertainment Industry Student Association, has also been impressed by Gainesville's music community.

"It's a great place to network with other musicians, and the vibe is really welcoming," she said.

Arellano has also worked with many local Gainesville bands in her work with MEISA, which tries to connect the UF student body with important contacts in the music industry.

While new bands seem to crop up every second, some groups in Gainesville are attracting major attention with their fast-paced beats and energetic live shows. These bands stand above the rest as the cream of the Gainesville crop: Umoja Orchestra, Sirenia Claire and Bang Bang Boom.

umoja pageUmoja Orchestra's afrobeat-inspired Latin grooves and fun-loving spirit have made it a fan favorite in Gainesville.

sirenia pageSirenia Claire is a relatively new addition to the city's music scene, but its pop-infused melodies are gaining a lot of local attention.

bang bang boom pageBang Bang Boom's fun, catchy lyrics are part of what makes the band's live show one of the most energetic in Gainesville.