Tom Petty‘s hometown of Gainesville, Florida has celebrated the songwriter by naming a local park after him.
- Read more: Tom Petty – The NME Obituary
The ceremony was held on Saturday (Oct 20), which would have been Petty’s 68th birthday. Petty’s daughter, Adria, and his brother, Bruce, attended the event and spoke to fans, sharing memories of Petty’s youth.
According to The Gainesville Sun, Bruce Petty said that he and Tom grew up in the park. “We played as kids. My cousin reminded me the other day of my remark that it was a sanctuary, and it really was,” he continued. “It was a place for us to escape and be kids and have fun. The fact that we are doing this today and the part that we played in it makes it so much more special.”
“Gainesville is an extraordinary place and if you listen to my dad’s music here, it has a different meaning,” Adria Petty added. “The idea of the air smelling good and the trees are green — there is nothing like this park to really illustrate that. ‘Gainesville’ has been blasting in my head since I landed… It’s a very important town to Florida.
“Florida is a really beautiful and complex state and (Gainesville) fosters a lot of intelligence and compassion and incredible manners and incredible decency.” You can watch a video of the ceremony below.
As well as the ceremony in the park, The Bayjacks with Tom Leadon performed some of the singer’s hits, while local artists painted a Tom Petty Mural at Sidney Lanier Center – the place where Petty attended elementary school.
A new career-spanning set of Petty’s music called ‘The Best of Everything’ will be out on November 16 via Geffen Records/UMe.