The Petty Archives

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will play Gainesville, Oct. 7
By Dave Hunter
Gainesville Sun - August 15, 1981

The rumor is true, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are coming home. University of Florida Student Government Productions chairman Chris Qualmann confirmed Friday that the band would appear in the UF's O'Connell Center at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, October 7.

The group, one of the hottest acts in rock 'n' roll today, is composed of Gainesville natives Tom Petty, Stan Lynch, Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench, and Ron Blair. And, according to Qualmann, the lure of playing before the home town crowd is so strong, that the promoter, Beach Club Concerts of South Carolina, is building a mini-stage inside the O'Dome to compensate for the Technical shortcomings of the hall.

The mini-stage will contain the sound and lighting equipment the group uses to play bigger halls. With the mini-stage, the seating capacity of the O'Connell Center will be got to 11,800 but Qualmann said that Petty, the promoters, and SGP made the decision based on the fact that this is the group's hometown.

According to Qualmann, the concert date came about because of Petty's wish to play Gainesville.

"Petty is playing big arenas all around country on this tour, and is selling them out," said Qualmann. "He's strictly a large hall act now, 15,000 seats or more. We've been negotiating with Petty for a couple of months now, and the problems were worked out because Petty wanted to play Gainesville on this tour."

Qualmann noted that in scheduling for the Fall, a number of groups had bypassed the O'Connell Center because of a technical and seating problems.

Ticket prices will be announced. Qualmann said the tickets would probably be "more expensive than tickets to the Pat Benetar concert ($8.50) but, not that much more." Tickets will go on sale early in the fall semester.