by JACK DIABLO
Exciting developments seem to be happening in Downtown Jacksonville more and more frequently lately. In a time where businesses are going under and projects often lose their funding, the Bold New City of the South has responded not by throwing in the towel, but by taking advantage of the unique opportunities for new growth these strange times provide.
One of the most unique and positive projects is happening this month. Local, independent label Infintesmal Records has been given the keys to the Snyder Memorial Church on the corner of Laura and Monroe Streets to host a weekly concert series that is sure to breathe new cultural life into one of Downtown’s most historical sites. Every Friday in July, several local bands will take the stage and play before old fans and certainly some new faces eager to sample some of our city’s finest talent.
The former church is both a visually striking and symbolically significant venue to host an event of such magnitude. Built to replace its predecessor after the Great Fire of 1901, the Gothic Revival structure is a bold and striking symbol of Jacksonville’s re-birth and optimism. The concert series is shaping up to be an equally impressive statement on the cultural renaissance happening in our city’s core right now.
EU spoke with Jimmi Bayer, who founded Infintesmal Records alongside Nick Schoeppel, about this exciting event and how it all came together.
EU: How did Infintesmal get this awesome opportunity?
Jimmi Bayer: Oddly enough it was a bit like a movie. One day out of the blue I received a phone call from Jim Draper, someone I knew by name but had never actually met. I think he had read about us or just heard about us around town. He asked me if we would be interested in spearheading a project for the Snyder Memorial building, perhaps throw some shows and build a studio. Once it became clear that building a studio in the church was unlikely, at least on some permanent basis, we decided to organize a select number of shows, present them as a series of concerts intended to draw more attention to the burgeoning Jacksonville music scene. Also, it presented an opportunity to reach a new audience.
EU: Who all is involved and in what capacity?
JB: There’s so many people to mention, I’d hate to forget somebody. The Mayor’s Office, in particular Lisa Rinaman, who’s been meeting with us throughout the entire process, helping us bring to life all these ideas of ours and acting as a diplomat throughout the many camps involved. COJ’s Special Events crew of course is involved as well as the Cultural Council of Jacksonville. Downtown Vision is helping a lot on the promotional end. On our end, we’ve brought in Ian Chase to help bring the place to life with his light installations. Five local artists will be featuring their work throughout the month, including Crystal Floyd, David Miller, Ryan Strasser, Sean Madgett and Rebecca Rhyne. Also Ian Ranne will be resident DJ for the project, with Christian Mendez making an appearance on July 16th.
EU: What challenges did you face in getting the place ready?
JB: Outside of lighting, there wasn’t a lot of work that needed to go into actually getting the church ready. A majority of the challenges have been on the logistics side. This is certainly the biggest event that we have taken on so far, and working with the city is entirely different than working with your regular club owner. Suffice it to say it’s been a learning experience.
EU: What are your expectations for the events and what are you doing to see them come to pass?
JB: I think expectations are high across the board. I’d like to see the church filled all five weeks with the Infintesmal family and the Jacksonville underground mingling with a new group of supporters and fans. I hope that through these events we will raise a lot more awareness to the culture that DOES exist around Downtown Jacksonville, both locally and nationally. There’s so much going on right now within a very small section of this large city. People making a mark on the cultural landscape and thus on the history of Jacksonville itself. Through these shows, I’d like to see that expand a bit.
Be there for this game-changing series of concerts right in the heart of Downtown Jacksonville. The Snyder Memorial Church is located at 226 North Laura Street and the concerts will happen every Friday in July. This truly is an exciting development in the Jacksonville music scene and one that is destined to spurn new interest in our local, independent bands. Show your support and don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to experience Jacksonville like never before!
Scheduled Bands for July
July 2 2416 / Memphibians / Tuffy
July 9 Friends / Wudun / Honey Chamber
JULY 16 Antarctic / Borromakat vs. Bright Orange / The Great Working
JULY 23 After the Bomb, Baby! / Kevin Lee Newberry / Grabbag
JULY 30 DigDog / Spider+Octopus / Tell Yer Children