Downtown Naples musical festival takes concert-goers down memory lane

The lead singer of the band Toto, Dennis 'Fergie' Frederiksen, plays to the crowd at the Naples Music Festival on Sunday night on Third Street South. Frederiksen led an all-star group called the World Classic Rockers, which consisted of members of seven classic bands including Journey, Boston, Santana, Steppenwolf, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Eagles. Other bands at the festival were the Rembrandt's and the Gin Blossoms. Proceeds benefit the benefit the Garden of Hope and Courage.

Photo by LEXEY SWALL, Staff // Buy this photo

The lead singer of the band Toto, Dennis "Fergie" Frederiksen, plays to the crowd at the Naples Music Festival on Sunday night on Third Street South. Frederiksen led an all-star group called the World Classic Rockers, which consisted of members of seven classic bands including Journey, Boston, Santana, Steppenwolf, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Eagles. Other bands at the festival were the Rembrandt's and the Gin Blossoms. Proceeds benefit the benefit the Garden of Hope and Courage.

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Bands including the World Classic Rockers performed  at this years Naples Music Festival to benefit  the Garden of Hope and Courage.

Bands including the World Classic Rockers performed at this years Naples Music Festival to benefit the Garden of Hope and Courage. Watch »

Moving stages. Moving bodies. Moving songs.

Baby-boomers turned out in large numbers Sunday afternoon and evening to hear a little nostalgic music in the streets of downtown Naples.

Hear they did: the music was practically audible from the beach.

And, with strong breezes blowing, the scents in the air also were recognizable: suntan lotion and jasmine.

Third Street South played host Sunday to the Naples Music Festival, which meant that most restaurants remained open, but pretty much all other shops shut down.

Cross streets were blockaded and secured by Suncoast Security, and they did their job well.

So well that Jeri Hurkes and Gary Jorgensen, who didn’t purchase tickets, couldn’t get back to their car across Third Street, although they both seemed to enjoy the music a few yards back from the blockade. Hurkes said she explained her predicament to security guards, but they wouldn’t let them pass.

Not too much of a problem. They’d have to walk all the way down parallel to Third, find an unblocked alley or street, and walk back up the other side.

They didn’t seem inclined to do so too quickly.

“I remember these songs very well,” said Hurkes, who laughed, and declined to disclose her age for publication.

The couple has been to many music festivals but a $40 or $50 general admission ticket was a bit pricey for their tastes, Hurkes said.

“I’ve been to a lot of music festivals,” said Jorgensen, who is a Vietnam veteran, and responded when Gary Puckett asked for all vets to raise their arms.

“I want to say thank you,” said Puckett, who performed on a Third Street South stage set up across from Tommy Bahama’s.

Hurkes said her son currently is serving in Iraq, so she raised her arms, too.

But, the Naples-area couple said the streets shouldn’t have been blocked off, contending that, as taxpayers, they already paid.

“We pay for this every day,” Jorgensen said. “Day in and day out.”

Also, Hurkes noted that she volunteers at an area hospital.

Sunday’s event was a fundraiser to benefit The Garden of Hope and Courage, a 2 1/2-acre memorial for Jan Emfield, who died of breast cancer in 1994. Opened on Oct. 26, 2006, the garden serves as a healing and meditative sanctuary.

Several restaurants participated in the annual event, serving as Third Street seating for those who could afford a $350 VIP pass, which included drinks, dinner and valet parking.

Gaja Ristorante, in Third Street Plaza, is a half block west of Third Street, so it wasn’t one of the participating restaurants.

Owner Stefania Ravello said she really didn’t know if she would see any dinner business. Very often, people get to her restaurant by walking into a driveway off Third. That was, of course, blocked off.

“You can’t drive through,” said Ravello, who was perplexed by the policy, but seemed to be enjoying the music from the patio behind her kitchen.

Gaja chef Gino Sciallis was a bit more incensed.

“I don’t think it’s kosher. It’s too restrictive for my liking. It’s not nice,” he said.

While most galleries and clothing shops along Third were closed, Fancy Nancy’s, a women’s clothing store, remained open, and had a good day, store employee Elizabeth Sittler said.

“A lot of Third Street shops are (generally) closed on Sunday, but we’re here until 10 p.m.,” Sittler said. The store’s racks of lace and silk went over big with the upscale crowd.

“We’ve had a pretty good day,” Sittler said.

Cognizant of the event’s purpose, Suncoast Security guards said the concert drew a nice crowd.

Guard Jeff Hermey said he’d arrived at 3 p.m. and in the first few hours, had, fortunately, experienced no security problems.

“Everyone’s been really nice,” said Hermey, 26, who seemed pulled into the music and ambiance. Asked if he recognized any of the songs, Hermey said he knew some of them.

“Not many. They’re before my time,” he said.

In addition to Puckett, who formed with the Union Gap band in 1967, performers scheduled to appear were: Gin Blossoms (“Til I Hear It From You,”) Rembrandts (“I’ll Be There for You,” the theme from the TV show “Friends”); Powerhouse; Aynsley Dunbar from Journey; Randall Hall from Lynyrd Skynyrd; Fergie Frederiksen from Toto; Alex Ligertwood from Santana; Nick St. Nicholas and Michael Monarch from Steppenwolf; Barry Goudreau from Boston; and Randy Meisner from The Eagles.

In short, there was a jolting suntan lotion or night-blooming jasmine scent or musical memory for just about everyone.

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