On would have been his 68th birthday, family, friends and hundreds of members of his national fan club gathered in Tom Petty's birthplace, Gainesville, Florida on Saturday for the renaming of a park in his honor.
What used to be known as Northeast Park became Tom Petty Park. Petty's brother Bruce and daughters Adria and AnnaKim were on hand for the dedication. Bruce Petty told the Gainesville Sun that he and Tom played in this park when they were young. He called it a "sanctuary" for them and explained that it was a place for them "to escape and be kids and have fun." He said that "the fact that we are doing this today and the part that we played in it makes it so much more special.”
The ceremony at the park wasn't Saturday's only celebration of Petty in Gainesville. His one-time Mudcrutch bandmate Tom Leadon -- brother of the Eagles' Bernie -- performed Petty songs with his band The Bayjacks at Heartwood Soundstage. Other bands held a "Petty Bash" at Depot Park to benefit a University of Florida arts in medicine program. Two local artists painted a mural at the elementary school Petty attended that was auctioned to benefit the same charity. (Billboard)
Some 3,000 miles away in L.A. that evening, Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench performed at Judd Apatow and Pete Davidson’s Judd and Pete For America -- A Benefit to Swing Left at Largo at the Coronet. Tench closed with a version of “American Girl” that was so good it prompted Davidson -- whose break-up with Ariana Grande made headlines a week ago -- to ask the crowd, “Who the [bleep] wants to follow that? Am I not going through enough that I have to [bleep]ing follow that?” (Billboard)