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The wait is over. Gainesville's First Friday concerts are back
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A crowd is gathers on the Gainesville square to listen to a band perform at a First Friday concert.

First Friday concerts are coming back to downtown Gainesville.

The series will kick off at 7 p.m. Friday, May 7, with a live performance from the Main Street Bob Seger Tribute Band. The free concert will last until 10 p.m. and take place on the Gainesville square.

The band will play a lineup of Seger’s rock hits like "Night Moves", "Turn the Page", "Still the Same", "We've Got Tonight", "Against the Wind", "You'll Accomp'ny Me" and "Like a Rock."

First Friday concerts will run each month — not including July — until Sept. 3.

Last year the city cancelled its First Friday concerts because of the growing number of summer COVID-19 cases and new statewide live music event regulations.

Nicole Ricketts, Main Street manager, said the city tested out Mutts on Main in March to gauge people’s feelings of returning to outdoor public events with encouraged social distancing. 

“I think our community is showing that they’re ready to get out and be a part of things,” Ricketts said. “I think outdoor events are a great way to do that.”

To promote social distancing this year, attendees will be able to set up their chairs and blankets inside marked circles drawn on the streets surrounding the square. People have the option to claim their space as early as 6 p.m. before the show. 

Ricketts said the city has chosen to host the series in the downtown square, instead of the previous Roosevelt Square, in order to maximize space and give people the option to visit the local shops and restaurants.

“We think having it on the square will be more beneficial for downtown businesses and utilizing the downtown dining district,” she said. 

For the concert next month, Ricketts encourages people to respect those around them and adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for gathering in public. In previous years, the First Friday series has drawn in 1,000 to 2,000 people. 

“We’re estimating similar (numbers) to what we’ve seen in the past,” Ricketts said. “ … We’re doing everything we can to plan a safe environment for our community, and we hope that people will follow suit.”

The musicians for June, August and September are still to be determined. 

All Gainesville parking decks have free access.

For more information, visit Downtown Gainesville’s Facebook page or gainesville.org/377/First-Fridays.

First Friday concerts 

Friday, May 7

Friday, June 4

Friday, Aug. 6

Friday, Sept. 3

Where: Gainesville square

More info: gainesville.org/377/First-Fridays
Regional events