"Downtown Countdown" New Year's Eve Celebration
9 PM - 12:30 AM
Bo Diddley Community Plaza

The City of Gainesville Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs will host Downtown Countdown, a New Year’s Eve celebration concert at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza. The free concert will begin at 9 p.m. and run until 12:30 a.m. At the stroke of midnight, there will be showers of streamers and confetti along with the sounds of noisemakers passed out to the audience earlier in the evening.

Headlining the concert is the band Fast Lane. This six-piece band plays a blend of R&B, funk, soul and rock and roll. They love to get people dancing as their slogan says, "Take off your feet belt and dance to the rhythm and groove of Fast Lane!"
Fast Lane consists of Scott "Skyntyte" Free (lead vocals and guitar). Free's credentials include tutelage under rock-n-roll pioneer and Plaza namesake Bo Diddley and Parliament-Funkadelic keyboardist, Bernie Worrell. The list of artists he has shared the stage with includes Chic, Teddy Pendergrass, Stephanie Mills and Stevie Ray Vaughan. When not performing with Fast Lane, Free plays and sings with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame members Original Parliament. Vernon "Dr. Rockenstein" Montoya (keyboards), studied music theory at Boston College and is an accomplished jazz pianist, playing in various musical combinations since childhood. Andre "Nasty Joker" Wicks (percussion) is a drum prodigy, discovered while playing drums on his front porch during childhood. Combining Afro-Cuban jazz influences while adding a New Orleans flair, Sebastian "Dopamine" dela Calle (bass) hails from Argentina, and brings the Latin influence to the band. He once worked as an audio engineer for the Discovery Channel while making his musical mark in Miami. Rounding out the band are Larissa "Lacy" Gifford (lead vocals) and Michelle "Velvet" Banfield (lead vocals) also known as "the Speed Bumps." Banfield comes from Barbados by way of New York City while Gifford's travels include stops in Hawaii and Colorado, where she previously fronted her own band.

Opening for Fast Lane is the group Couch Messiahs. This Gainesville based band plays a varied mix of classic rock, Americana roots music, R&B and country alternative. The four-piece group was formed in 2006 and consists of founder Mick Marino (guitar and lead vocals), Charlie Scales (guitar and vocals), Tom Kerkhoff (bass and vocals) and Bill Kellogg (drums and vocals). Marino has been a musician in the area since 1975. He is a prolific songwriter and has been the organizer/promoter of the annual Gainesville Gram Parsons tribute concert, GramFest, since 1999. Scales has played for many years in multiple area bands and is also the owner of Gainesville's Hyde and Zeke's Records. Kellogg was a member of the Berkley Five who had a Florida regional single, "You're Gonna Cry," in 1965. Kerkhoff, a doctor, has played in many bands in Ohio and Florida and is also a prolific songwriter.


The Bo Diddley Community Plaza is located on the corner of Southeast 1st Street and East University Avenue. The City of Gainesville Cultural Affairs Division is the designated local arts agency for Gainesville and Alachua County. Its mission is to promote cultural activity and encourage community based cultural resources.

For more information please contact David Ballard at 352-393-8746 or ballarddg@cityofgainesville.org.


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