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The Gainesville’s Underground Music Scene: 1980-89 collection is a digital archive of unique artifacts - vinyl records, cassette demos, video footage, and original poster and flyer art - relating to Gainesville, Florida’s underground music scene.
In the face of the bloated arena rock of the late 70s, a rebellious DIY scene sprang forth across the USA - from the cavernous confines of New York's CBGB's to the hardcore scene in L.A., and all points in between. Gainesville, Florida was no exception - it just happened on a smaller scale here.
Fostered by the creative culture of a college environment (UF), cheap housing and ample restaurant employment, a thriving underground music scene emerged. Lacking dedicated venue support for original music, bands played house parties and put on dance hall shows at community places like American Legion, Westside Rec Center, YMCA and the VFW. This practice continued for several years.
Just as the ‘80s were coming to a close, Gainesville's own version of CBGB's was born - The Hardback Cafe. The Hardback, which lasted from 1989 to 1999, was the first real nightclub in town to exclusively feature local original groups. There were no stylistic limitations at the Hardback. The only rule was that it had to be original. The Hardback also brought in touring bands, allowing local outfits to share the bill furthering the grassroots network. Because of the Hardback's success, other clubs followed suit, such as The Covered Dish and Common Grounds. By the mid-1990s, Gainesville had gained a national reputation as a music town.
Gainesville's reputation has continued to grow from Roach Motel, the Doldrums, Hellwitch, Mutley Chix, Cindy Brady's Lisp, the Bill Perry Orchestra, CAMP 7, the Moles, Fluffy Kitty, Foil, Carpet Farmers, Tone Unknown, NDolphin to Pop Canon, For Squirrels, Big White Undies, Crustaceans to Radon, Panthro UK United 13, Hot Water Music, Less Than Jake, Against Me! and hundreds of bands in between and after.