by Gargs Allard

Directors for the upcoming Tom Petty Fests in Gainesville, namely Dave Melosh for  the Tom Petty Weekend at the Heartwood Soundstage, and Jason Hedges for the Tom Petty Birthday Bash at Depot Park, were interviewed by Gargs Allard on the 28th episode of the Gargsville Radio Hour, which originally aired September 12, on WGOT 100.1 FM in Gainesville.

Here you can find out all the details about the upcoming shows by listening to the complete interviews with Melosh, who is also a musician and producer, and Hedges, who fronts the local popular Petty cover band Heavy Petty and is the frontman for the Gainesville band Hedges as well.

Both festivals, which are scheduled to take place during the weekend of what would have been Tom Petty’s 68th birthday on October 20th, have received the blessings of the Petty family.

Tickets for the Birthday Bash at Depot Park are free, with paid passes available for higher-tiered  packages available. Proceeds for the higher-tiers tickets supports the Arts in Medicine Program at Shands Hospital in Gainesville. Concert goers are encouraged to reserve their free tickets on their online site.

Tickets for the Tom Petty Weekend at Heartwood are $25 for the whole event, which goes from Thursday, October 18 – Sunday, October 21. There is also a tour available of Tom Petty’s hometown, which costs $20.

Both festivals are within short walking distance of each other.

Featured artists for the Tom Petty Weekend at Heartwood:
(text taken from Heartwood’s website)

From Nashville, Tennessee, The Bayjacks, featuring Mudcrutch’s own Tom Leadon. This fine four-piece band will perform both Friday and Saturday nights at Heartwood, one show inside on our acoustically-tuned soundstage, and one outside. Tom Leadon will also share stories from his decades-long association with Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, Belmont Tench, and the other great Gainesville musical alumni. Visit for more information.


Also based in Nashville, and one of Heartwood’s favorite bands, the Forlorn Strangers will be on hand to pay tribute to Tom Petty (and the occasional Fleetwood Mac tune). Hear them at




From Minnesota, the great Tom Petty tribute band Free Fallin’. Presenting a stunningly accurate tribute to the look and sound of the Heartbreakers, including authentic instrumentation, Free Fallin’ has successfully toured the country for more than 10 years performing at festivals, fairs, casinos, and major concert venues. This has earned them a glowing reputation as one of the finest tribute bands in the world. For more information, visit

The Mudpies, featuring some of Tom Petty’s friends from Gainesville, featuring special guest guitarist Danny Roberts, founding Mudcrutch member.  They’ll be playing Root Rock from the Mudcrutch days.




Fourteen year old phenom and Tom Petty Nation favorite Jake Thistle. Jake will make a special, intimate appearance on Thursday night at Heartwood’s Welcoming Ceremony, as well as an appearance on our outside stage





Acoustic guitarist extraordinaire Sam Pacetti, from St. Augustine, Florida. One of the finest finger pickers walking planet Earth, the fabulous Mr. Pacetti will apply his prodigious talent to unique interpretations of Tom Petty songs. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind performance. For a sample of Sam, visit (Sam will perform only at Heartwood). 


The Relics. This 9-piece band of much loved Gainesville musicians hold the record for the largest outdoor crowd in downtown Gainesville for their 40th anniversary of Woodstock in 2009. For the Tom Petty Weekend, the Relics will celebrate the great classic rock songs covered by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. (Only at Heartwood)




The Shambles. Another Gainesville favorite with deep local roots, the Shambles mine the same creative root vein that fueled the origins of the Heartbreakers, and will cover songs Pety loved and played.




Swamp Records’ recording artists Flipturn is a 5-piece band from Fernandina Beach, Florida, that has been turning heads and catching ears all over the Southeast. (Only at Heartwood)




Fresh off his summer tour, Matthew Fowler returns to Heartwood after standout performances at last year’s Petty celebration and February’s Heartwood Festival. Matthew represents the finest of a new generation of singer-songwriters with a wealth of great songs and an uncanny whistling ability too. (Only at Heartwood)




Robbie Litt and the Litt Family Band. Canadian transplant Robbie Litt commons a rabid following of fans who love to get Litt up, as they did when the band appea red in July at Heartwood. Robbie has the perfect voice to do Tom Petty songs justice. (Only at Heartwood)



The Hails

“Hailing” from South Florida The Hails are one of Gainesville’s best up and coming rock bands.   Two years in the making these guys are carrying on the tradition talented Gainesville bands with their eyes on national success.




Heavy Petty






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