There are many things to do in Gainesville before you graduate: float down Ginnie Springs, go to a football game, have a world-famous Top burger. But for those old enough, there is one tradition that has drawn hundreds of thirsty college kids to downtown and midtown looking to get their drink and dance on.
Gator Stompin’ has been a tradition in Gainesville for 31 years and is one of the most notable pub crawls, as we are trying to break the world record for largest pub crawl in the world. According to the Guinness World Records, the title is held by 10 pubs in Maryborough in Queensland, Australia, that drew 4,718 participants in 2009.
Besides the fact, Gator Stompin’ offers seniors a chance to go to all of their favorite bars, clubs and restaurants one last time before departing for the real world, and it gives everyone else an opportunity to celebrate another completed semester.
But there’s one thing that any event of this nature needs, and that is music. Pledge 5 Foundation has been in charge of Gator Stompin’ since 2009, and they made sure to bring a variety of genres ranging from rock and reggae to house and world.
A new addition to this year’s event is a kick-off concert held in Bo Diddley Community Plaza from 6 p.m. — 9 p.m. The organizers of Gator Stompin’ announced on Friday night that Less Than Jake will be headlining this concert.
While there are a lot of returning musicians from last year, Jason Bowman, director of Pledge 5, said that they like to hire the local talent, including bands and DJs.
“For the past eight years, we’ve been adding more and more to the event. More food, more music, even more venues,” Bowman said.
But managing such a large-scale event with about 100 venues is no easy task. Bowman said that when it comes to deciding who will perform where, it’s a collaborative effort between the venues, the talent and Pledge 5.
“It [the music] has to fit the venue, as well as the overall feel of the event. We take requests from venues, and we also allow the bands to have a say in where the play,” said Bowman.
Because it is a pub crawl, the organizers have positioned different acts along the route of bars and restaurants from downtown to midtown. They arranged for shorter performances so everyone has the chance to see the live music at different venues.
“You only have a limited time at each place if you want to go to at least 10 different bars, and that’s why we chose to do short sets, almost like little samples of live music, instead of entire shows,” Bowman said.
The featured music this year will include:
• High Dive: Funks Inc, Marley The Messenger, DJ Robzilla
• The Jam: Flatland, Nook & Cranny, Descubierto, Jackie & Megan
• Simon’s: DJ Ruby
• University Club: Lady Pearl’s Cabaret Show with a guest appearance by Jade Jolie from Rupaul’s Drag Race
• 101 Downtown: DJ Don Styles
• Sharab: DJ Dennis
• Fubar: DJ Luny
• Lasso’s: Spencer Jordan
• The Jones B-Side: Live music
• The Backyard: Live music
• 1982: Live music
• Loosey’s: Live music
You must be 21 to drink, but if you’re 18 or older, you can attend the event as well. Tickets are $50 and can be found on the Gator Stompin’ website or at the Pledge 5 Foundation at 18B Southwest 2 Ave. Admission includes cover at over 70 establishments, an official Gator Stompin’ T-shirt and 10 tokens for food, drinks, raffles and contests. There will be over $5,000 worth of prizes given away from sponsors.