GUTFEST: Three-day performance art festival covers downtown Gainesville

By GUT Fest organizers

This summer, Gainesville will host an underground performance art festival.

Gainesville Underground Theatre Festival will assemble 32 performances and a community panel over the weekend of July 21-23.

Performances will be held at The Civic Media Center, M.A.M.A.’s Club, Black C Art Gallery, The Atlantic, High Dive and the Boxcar at Depot Park.

All programming is free and open to the public, thanks to a sponsorship from the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere with support from the Rothman Endowment.

Director Matt Bratko said GUTFest artists are encouraged to risk it all.

“There exists in Gainesville too few opportunities to come together as a community to passionately share what we care about, what we see reflected in the world around us, what unites us and what divides us. GUTFest exists to fill that hole: to give emergent performance artists of all disciplines the space to create risky, diverse art. The art created at GUTFest will both pose and answer invaluable questions of what it means to exist in this time, in this city, in this culture,” Bratko said.

Nearly all genres of performative art will be featured at GUTFest.

Local artist Natasha Home will build a sound sculpture installation to accompany her vocal performance.

Carly Shooster will perform a stand-up act carved from her own experiences as a young woman in Gainesville.

Sally B. Dash will host a revue of classy and sassy burlesque antics.

Several artists will travel to Gainesville from across the country, including New York surrealist country musician Dougie Poole, Phoenix’s Kolezanka and Akin Yai of Paris.

Sunday’s programming will include a community panel to discuss Gainesville’s role as an emergent arts center.

Local artists and organizers like Davis Hart, director of Gainesville record label Elestial Sound, and Paul Gabbard, local playwright, actor and radio show host, will answer questions about how Gainesville can become a more hospitable place for a growing arts scene and the responsibilities of local artists and organizers to shape a city’s growth.

Gabbard will perform with his Y-Not Theatre company in addition to his appearance as a panelist.

“GUTFest provides an essential need for local artists: connectivity,” he said.

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