Gainesville Rocks for Tom Petty Weekend

Celebrate the birthday of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer with a weekend of music, tributes, and the sharing of memories and events in Gainesville and Alachua County.

tom petty weekend 2023

Celebrate the Music and Legacy of Tom Petty at the Annual Tom Petty Weekend at Heartwood Soundstage
Friday, October 20 – Sunday, October 22 | Heartwood Soundstage
619 S Main St., Gainesville, FL 32601
Join Tom Petty Nation and fans from all over the world to celebrate the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s birthday at the annual festival in his hometown. This year’s lineup features Shovels and Rope, Jake Thistle, Jeff Slate, Shine and the Shakers, Hannah Harber, Lions of Jah and more. Make the most of your weekend with visits to local Tom Petty murals, themed craft beer releases and exclusive access to the Tom Petty: Among the Wildflowers exhibit at the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention. Tickets and VIP experiences are available online.

Make the most of Tom Petty Weekend by exploring Gainesville and Alachua County with weekend festivals, free things to do and outdoor adventures.

Tom Petty with Guitar

Go Behind-the-Scenes with “Tom Petty: Among the Wildflowers” at the Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention
Open Now through December 31, Thursday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Use this ticket link to reserve your viewing time during Tom Petty Weekend.

tom petty somewhere you feel free

View the Documentary Tom Petty Somewhere You Feel Free at the Hippodrome Cinema
Friday, October 20, 9 p.m., Saturday, October 21, 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

See the Tom Petty Murals

Tom petty mural at heartwood soundstage

Don’t miss the artistic tributes installed around town by local and visiting artists:

  • 34th Street Wall, South of 2nd Ave. and North of Radio Rd.
  • South Main Street, at the corner of SE 16th Ave. and Main St.
  • Next to Heartwood Soundstage, 619 S Main St.
  • Sidney Lanier Center, his former school, at 312 NW 16th Ave.

The entrance signs at Tom Petty Park on NE 16th Ave. are also popular selfie spots.

Where to Stay

Book a room near downtown Gainesville and enjoy Tom Petty Weekend.

Browse additional places to stay in Gainesville and Alachua County.

Explore the Sippin’ Seven Alachua County Ale Trail

sippin seven pint glasses

Sign up for free to the Sippin’ Seven Alachua County Ale Trail and earn points by checking in at local craft breweries.

Look for Tom Petty-themed beers at First Magnitude Brewing Company, including You Don’t Know How It Peels (Citrus IPA), Won’t Bock Down (Helles Bock Lager) and Learning to Rye (Rye IPA with Citra and Nelson hops).

7th Annual Blocktoberfest at Blackadder Brewing Company
Friday, October 20, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Creatures of the Swamp Conservation Eek-Stravaganza with Current Problems at Swamp Head Brewery
Sunday, October 22, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Corn Hole Tournament, Corn Husking Competition, Live Music and More at Corn Fest at Daft Cow Brewery
Sunday, October 22, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Take a Bite out of Local Dining

bingo deli and pub interior

You don’t have to step far to enjoy local flavors with several options near downtown Gainesville including Bingo Deli and Pub and Humble Wood Fire located next door to Heartwood Soundstage.

Browse additional places to grab a meal in Gainesville and Alachua County.

Weekend Festivals and Events

orchids on display

See Vibrant Displays of Color at the Fall Plant Sale and Orchid Show
Saturday, October 21 – Sunday, October 22, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Kanapaha Botanical Gardens
4700 SW 58th Dr., Gainesville, FL 32608
Explore the gardens at the annual Open House & Fall Plant Sale, held in conjunction with the Gainesville Orchid Society. View plant collections throughout the gardens and browse 60 booths with a wide variety of plants. Inside the entrance building, examine dramatic flowering shapes and colors with The American Orchid Society at their annual judged show. Admission is free. Plan for your visit online.

Friends of the Library Fall 2023 Book Sale
Saturday, October 21 – Wednesday, October 25 | Friends of the Library Alachua County Library District
430-B N Main St, Gainesville, FL 32601

With over half a million books, albums, comic books, paintings and more, this 5-day sale is the largest of its kind in Florida.

Florida Bat Festival

Go Batty and Learn About Conservation Efforts for the Flying Mammal at Florida Bat Festival
Saturday, October 21, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Lubee Bat Conservancy
1309 NW 192nd Ave., Gainesville, FL 32609

For over 18 years the Florida Bat Festival has been celebrating bats, the world’s most famous flying mammal! With incredible activities, vendors, beer garden, & entertainment, and over 5,000 FL residents and visitors attending each year, the Florida Bat Festival is a yearly family friendly fall event loved by many! Advance tickets and a limited number of Beer Garden tickets are available online.

High Springs Fall Festival
Saturday, October 21, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Thornebrook Fall Arts Festival at Shoppes at Thornebrook
Saturday, October 21 – Sunday, October 22, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Support the LGBTQ+ Community at the 2023 Can’t Drag Us Down Pride Festival
Saturday, October 21, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. | Bo Diddley Plaza
Downtown Gainesville
The Gainesville Pride Festival is a fabulous opportunity for vendors to support the LGBTQ+ community in North Central Florida. Over 5,000 attendees are expected to visit Bo Diddley Plaza for food, fun, and festivities. 

More Things to Do!

Make cool escapes at local museums and gallery exhibits. Beat the heat and make discoveries at the Florida Museum of Natural History, Butterfly Rainforest and Harn Museum of Art, all located next door to each other at the UF Cultural Plaza. 

Have fun without breaking the bank. Explore our collection of FREE and activities and destinations in Gainesville and Alachua County.

Across from Lake Alice at sunset, see hundreds of thousands of bats take flight from the UF Bat Houses.

Explore over 100 miles of trails, including the paved 16-mile multi-purpose path on the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail, hiking trails at Morningside Nature Center and walking, equestrian and cycling trails at Turkey Creek Preserve.

Make a trip to historic small towns like Micanopy, Alachua and High Springs. Browse galleries, boutiques and antique shops. Relax and feel refreshed at a local cafe or restaurant.