If HIGH DIVE (Gainesville, FL) were open, the British indie pop band Kero Kero Bonito would have been playing there Wednesday night. On Thursday night, the local band The Savants of Soul would've performed.
In fact, the downtown music venue has canceled dozens of shows since closing down in mid-March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Pat Lavery, who books events for High Dive through his Glory Days Presents, said it has been a tough hit.
"Every day is a confusing mess of filling out paperwork for loans, conferencing with other people in the music and events industry about what the new normal is, trying to figure out when we will get to open and what that will look like," Lavery said in an email to gainesvilledowntown.com.
To make up for lost revenue, High Dive has several fundraising initiatives going on, including a very cool "Benefit T-shirt" that reads "Gainesville Won't Back Down," an homage to Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down." The shirts can be ordered for $21 each ($23 for largest sizes) at https://highdivegainesville.bigcartel.com/.
Proceeds will benefit High Dive, its staff and its "Tickets for Heroes" fund that provides concert tickets to local healthcare workers. High Dive also has joined up with its neighbor, Five Star Pizza - Gainesville, for a "Pizza Party" deal from noon- 8 p.m. daily. Call or text 352.327.8437 to order pizza or other food items from Five-Star along with alcoholic beverages (bottled or canned beer, wine, liquor) provided by High Dive. For delivery, you must live within a five-mile radius of downtown.
Meanwhile, visit the High Dive website for details on how to contribute to the staff's gofundme.com page and other ways to help the venue pay its monthly bills.
"We are pretty much closed indefinitely with only very limited income from our fundraising efforts," Lavery said. "Every dollar we've brought in goes to paying our unavoidable bills (rent, utilities, insurance), staff, or to our 'Tickets for Heroes' fund (which we are matching)."
Lavery has had to furlough all of his employees during the shutdown, but he continues to work toward eventually reopening.
"I have spent a lot of time on NIVA, which is a new trade association for independent venues like ours around the country," he said. "We are busy lobbying Congress for targeted aid for our businesses, which have been the first to be closed and will be the last to reopen."
Lavery said he is grateful for any help the community can provide the locally owned venue.
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