Changeville 2017: Gainesville’s Social Change Festival

The second annual Changeville festival is happening today, Thursday, March 2nd and tomorrow, Friday, March 3rd in Downtown Gainesville.

Changeville was created to gather a group of artists and activists to drive social change. It is a festival with a purpose, and this purpose is strong. Featuring performers and exhibits that were chosen based on their activism in the world, Changeville wants to inspire people to continue to fight for social change to improve the community, and eventually the world.

The inspiration for Changeville came from Ann Christiano, who is also the creator of one of Changeville’s biggest partners, frank. frank is an organization of changemakers who want to make a difference in their community. It is no surprise that they have been working side-by-side the Changeville team.

Though the first Changeville was planned just months before the event, a lot of work went into the creation of this year’s festival. Joel Ramos, who has been on the Changeville team since January of 2016, played a large role in the creation of this year’s event, and it began as soon as last year’s festival ended.

Ramos was one of the people that hand-picked the student team, who were selected from an open application. After gathering a team together, the next step was to book headliners for each category. Changeville features a variety of categories including music, film, comedy, and virtual reality. Other than being a means of extra entertainment, the separation of categories also represents how social change can be integrated in many different mediums.

“There are festivals for all kinds of things, but there’s not really a festival like Changeville,” said Ramos. “It’s also in Gainesville which is a really amazing town for that kind of thing. It’s sort of a perfect storm.”

For music, Talib Kweli and Big Freedia are headlining. Both artists raise awareness for social issues in their songs, as do the other performers scheduled to play. Along with the headliners, local bands will also be performing, such as Swamp Record’s very own Flat Land and Retrolux.

Brandie Posey, who has raised money for both Planned Parenthood and The American Civil Liberties Unit (ACLU), will be headlining the comedy acts. So is Lizz Winstead, a co-creator and former head writer of the Daily Show.

Some of the films that will be shown at the Hippodrome will include Before the Flood starring Leonardo DiCaprio, centered around the reality of climate change, and the Netflix original 13th, which focuses on the increased criminalization of African Americans.

More virtual reality exhibits are new to Changeville this year. After the success of a small virtual reality exhibit last year, the minds behind Changeville decided to make VR a larger part of the festival by expanding the number of exhibits. One such exhibit will be of the well-known street artist, Gaia, who will be creating his first ever virtual reality artwork live exclusively for Changeville.

“It’s kind of funny because it’s a festival for an audience to enjoy, but it’s also about bringing all these changer-makers in one place and I think there’s going to be something special in the air,” said Ramos.

Surrounding the main events will be side events that will all be free and open to the public. On Friday, before the shows begin, Wenzl McGowen of Moon Hooch will be holding a sound meditation session at Third House Books. At 6, The Bull and Canes on da Mic will be hosting a poetry and spoken word showcase. After all of the shows and exhibits, join the Changeville team at the official after party, hosted by Sunstock, on March 4th at Swamp Head Brewery. Anyone with a Changeville ticket will get a dollar off drafts at the after party.

To learn more about Changeville, including information on buying tickets, show times, and more about the performers, visit the official website

-Cameron Rivera

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