Gleeful football fans finished their drinks and dispersed from the muggy backyard setting, tortilla chips crunching beneath their shoes. A hodgepodge of punks, music-loving millennials and those just out for late night entertainment filled in the sports-centric shadows.
The familiar scene of amplifiers and wild, blazing stage lights took over the Backyard at Boca Fiesta. In the late September heat, electric guitars, kick drums and mike stands multiplied. The after party was underway.
The Bicycle Film Festival ended its tour stop in Gainesville, Florida on Saturday, Sept. 19, with a show put on by three local bands. The show followed a private screening of the Florida Gators vs. Kentucky State college football game.
Brendt Barbur, founding festival director, was compelled to start the Bicycle Film Festival when he was hit by a bus while riding his bike in New York City, according to the festival’s website. He wanted to turn his negative experience into a positive one, according to Todd Weissfeld, drummer for Ann Pragg, one of the bands playing the after party.
In 2001 Barbur started the Bicycle Film Festival as a platform to celebrate the bicycle through music, art and, of course, film. Barbur is “credited with making bicycle culture cool again,” said Weissfeld.
Already close to midnight, the strums of guitar strings and the simple beats on the drum set alerted the crowd. People moved slightly closer to the stage. Moonbeard checked their gear with the sound guy and the show officially began.
“I’m glad they brought the film festival here,” said Ted Lincoln, talking over the heart-thumbing sounds from the stage. He was one of the people in the crowd that went to see the films as well as attend the after party. The night brought together many of his interests, as Lincoln, a visual artist, does some serious biking in his free time.
Carla Scarlatta, who organized the film festival and helped plan the show, wanted to bring the festival to Gainesville because of people like Lincoln. She thought that the “bike culture would be a big hit here.” Scarlatta recognized that art, music and biking are popular pastimes in the city.
“It’s hard to compete with Gator football, though,” said Scarlatta. The previous game may have had a fuller house, but the crowd at the party stayed out long and stayed out late, continuously dancing and sweating.
With its own mob of super fans, the Moonbeard set had a crowd full of people singing along and throwing their fists in the air. Two of the band members had their girlfriends in the front rows, smiling gleefully, absorbed in the songs they had seen performed countless times.
Each of the local bands, it seemed, had their own following. If the scene had its own set of big, “go team” foam fingers, there would have been a sea of them.
Nitin Jayaswal, nodded toward Matt Raddick, singer and guitarist for Ann Pragg, when asked why he came out for the show.
“He’s a legend,” said Jayaswal. “He’s the cat’s meow. And people, they ask ‘Why doesn’t he leave? I say, ‘He likes Gainesville.’”
Red, green, blue and white lights beamed and strobed onstage throughout Ann Pragg’s set. Like the previous band, the crowd grew closer to the stage as they played.
In some ways the event appeared more like a party of friends and acquaintances, as bands shared equipment when technical difficulties arose and thanked each other between songs. Cory Underhill, singer and guitarist for Moonbeard, said he was most excited to see UV-TV play, the headlining band of the night.
Together not yet a year, UV-TV has amassed a following.
Jayaswal said he also has a kind of "man crush" on UV-TV. He notices them not only when they are performing, but out in the world, “wearing all black, eating burgers together, and they remind me of a young Yo La Tengo.”
Scarlatta said that she picked the various bands for the event because she likes to support the locals, but also because the bands are filled people she likes and her friends.
With less than an hour until the bars would all close, UV-TV finally played, the three-piece group rocking out, lights beaming and the crowd still there. It still wasn’t much cooler in the air, but the swaying of the crowd maintained.
As last-call neared, the door guys circled the picnic tables and perimeter, picking up empty cans and plastic cups. UV-TV strummed its last chords and the stage lights flashed wildly. The crowd thinned.