Many Naples residents and visitors are familiar with the highlight event of the year -- Live Fest at the Ritz-Carlton Tiburon. But you may not be familiar with the founder, Steve Hagenbuckle, who has changed the scope of live music in our local community.
Steve Hagenbuckle's journey spans that of music, business ventures, and a deep commitment to his community. In a candid conversation, he shares his trajectory from a young enthusiast in the music scene to the founder of Live Fest, Naples' premier music festival.
His love for music surfaced at 13, igniting a passion that eventually became intertwined with pivotal moments in college. Juggling studies at the University of Florida and working security for prominent figures such as Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy and Rodney Dangerfield, Steve was immersed in the heartbeat of the music and comedy world.
His foray into organizing large-scale events began in Dallas, hosting his first vibrant event called "Party in the Sky" in 1989. This marked the genesis of his venture into music festival curation, a seed that took root long before Live Fest's inception.
Once he returned to Naples, Steve observed a void: the absence of a significant music presence. Determined to gift his community a music festival, he waited for the right time and venue. Tiburon, where he resided, emerged as the perfect setting, hosting Live Fest for the past five years.
Collaborating with prestigious sponsors such as Wasserman Group, Murphy Entertainment, iHeartRadio, and Classic Sports Catering, Live Fest came to life on Tiburon's driving range, captivating audiences and artists alike.
Over the years, Live Fest has blossomed, witnessing a 20% growth in attendance since its inception, selling out year after year.
What sets Live Fest apart isn't just its musical brilliance but its altruistic core. All proceeds funnel into charitable causes, an act reflecting Steve's gratitude to his community. Beneficiaries include CureSearch, St. Matthew's House, and Smile Train, empowering these organizations with substantial contributions.
Steve's career trajectory, from software design to steering multiple tech companies, laid the foundation for his ability to fund and manage multimillion-dollar ventures like Live Fest. His current role at TerraCap Management, steering private equity in commercial real estate across thriving markets, epitomizes his astute business acumen.
As our conversation winds down, it's evident that Steve's life is a symphony, harmonizing diverse passions, entrepreneurial triumphs, and an unwavering commitment to giving back. His journey embodies the spirit of Naples, a blend of success, philanthropy, and a profound love for the arts. Through Live Fest and beyond, Steve Hagenbuckle continues to compose an uplifting ode to his beloved Southwest Florida and adoration of music and community.