At the intersection of a gay club and an underground rave, hyperpop quickly finds its place in the local nightlife.
Following last month’s Bubblegum Bass Dance Party in honor of the late hyperpop pioneer SOPHIE, the Wooly, located at 20 N Main St., will host a hyperpop themed party on November 20. The event was planned by Respite Events, a promotion company based in Gainesville.
The themed party appears to join the venue’s diverse lineup of monthly dance parties aimed at specific audiences, such as the 2000-inspired Von Dutch & Velor dance party and Pop Punk & Emo Night.
The October 15 event was greeted with a strong sense of community. The organizers and DJ were impressed with the audience’s participation and enthusiasm, which motivated them to plan a follow-up event to keep the momentum going.
Initially, they had scheduled a January date for the follow-up event due to the heavy booking of the venue for the holiday season, but as soon as a spot opened up for that month, they have organized the evening on the theme of hyperpop.
While at the start of the first event, we feared not to have enough people, the community was interested in what the evening offered.
The event was promoted primarily by word of mouth and by members of the community talking about it on social media, with dedicated accounts such as the @ufhyperpoppers Instagram page promoting it online.
There were concerns that no one would show up, and event organizer Alf Posen even described the opening minutes of the event as “a little awkward at first, like a dance in college.”
Eventually as the night wore on more and more people joined in and this awkwardness turned into celebration.
DJ Drew Love mentioned that one of his favorite Bubblegum Bass Dance Party moments was when a giant circle opened up on the dance floor.
âIt almost turned into a kind of soul train vibe where people would come in and do a dance, then stop and someone else come in,â Love said. “For some songs, you could barely hear what I was playing compared to everyone singing, which I thought was beautiful”
After the event, Love commented on the posts tagging him and the location, and he informed attendees of the upcoming follow-up event. He said the promotion of the event was mostly done organically by members of the community interested in hyperpop.
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âWe see that Gainesville wants it, and it’s a passion both for the promoters and for me,â Love said. “It was something they liked, it was something I liked, but we didn’t really know who else liked it.”
With the goal of making it a recurring monthly event, organizers continued to build on it and started adding features, such as community resources and a dragster performance.
WellFlorida’s high-impact protection team, a local health council program that aims to reduce the spread of HIV, will present information about resources and provide participants with home HIV testing kits.
University Club Drag Race alum Tatiana Summers contacted the organizers after attending the Bubblegum Bass Dance Party and told them they were going to attend the next Hyperpop Night. Organizers then asked Summers if they wanted to perform at the event.
âI was performing at UC on Saturday and I just saw the flyer and I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll go after,’â Summers said. “I’m literally crossing the street after playing UC, probably wearing the same thing.”
The Wooly is located just one block from the University Club, Gainesville’s only LGBTQ club space. With hyperpop being a musical genre developed and installed by queer people and having primarily an LGBTQ audience, the event overlaps with UC’s established presence in the community.
Summers sees this as a good thing.
âUsually the University Club is the only LGBTQ club or bar in townâ¦ which is great, but it’s cool to have more queer spaces to go to in town, even if it’s not labeled like a queer event, âSummers said.
Posen said in an email that they hope the event will provide the local community with a type of queer dance space that was important when they first moved to Gainesville.
Organized by passionate people who cater to an enthusiastic audience, the event provides people who don’t typically participate in nightlife a space to enjoy music they don’t hear being played elsewhere. For some, this is particularly significant.
âI was really rejected at the end of the night with people coming up to me and thanking me, telling me how they finally felt represented in the Gainesville nightlifeâ¦ and how safe they felt to go out. and finally hear music they wanted to hear, âLove said. “We were doing this just for a fun night out and it meant so much more to so many people.”
Respite Events promoter Tyler Thompson has said he hopes the hyperpop night gives young queer adult audiences a safe space to have fun and be themselves, much like the Bubblegum Bass Dance Party turned out to be. turned out to be.
âI’m so glad people are really having fun because I know the world can be a crappy place so if I can just help someone have those happy times, that’s it,â said Thompson.
With the gradual addition of different features, the organizers hope to make the event bigger each time and they hope to provide a safe and welcoming space for the public to have fun in the community.
Contact Kristine at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @ktnedelvalle
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Kristine Villarroel is a sophomore journalism student at the University of Florida and a writer at The Avenue. In her spare time, you can usually find her making playlists or talking about the full moon.