NEWBERRY – Frank and Emily Gallo had just dropped off their son at the University of Florida. As the couple from Boca Raton drove down Newberry Road, they noticed a crowd forming.
“I said ‘we gotta stop by,’” Frank Gallo, 56, said to his wife Emily, 52.
The couple pulled the car over at The Square at Tioga Town Center near Newberry for the 10th Annual Gainesville Jazz Festival. As the sun set and the evening began, the sound of saxophone and acoustic guitar echoed in the town center.
Four different bands performed on the outside stage Saturday night. The local bands included Mercury’s Refrain, the Karl Weismantel Trio, the Marty Liquori Jazztet and the Scott Wilson Quintet.
The event began at 7 p.m. and ended with an after party at 11 p.m.
Shari King, 49, travelled all the way from Fort White to check out the musicians and to see 100.9 dejay Qquincy.
“I’ve heard him a million times on the radio, but it’s great to actually see him,” she said.
The event was put on by Gainesville Friends of Jazz, a non-profit group whose goal is to raise awareness of jazz. Several local musicians and fans formed the group in 1983 to promote jazz music and concerts. Jazz is a type of music that is truly American in its roots, the group’s president Scott Koons explained.
He estimated that between 2,000 and 3,000 attended the free event last weekend. This year, the festival meant a return to local talents. This year’s event also marked the first time the festival was held outdoors.
“We were very pleased with the outcome of this event,” Koons said. “We were able to reach out to a larger, more diverse audience this year.”
Even Buddy and Dixie, two canine attendants seemed to be having a good time.
They liked the crowd and getting to meet lots of new people, their owner Karen Garren said. She brought the dogs to the outdoor concert to get some exercise and enjoy the atmosphere.
“If they hadn’t come with me, I would’ve just felt too guilty going down here,” she said.
Gainesville Friends of Jazz regularly hosts concerts at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at 4225 NW 34th Street.
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