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Rocking Naples

Live Fest putting Naples on the map

Article by Sue G. Collins

Photography by CineVista Rhett Jarrett, Evan Dowling

Originally published in Naples City Lifestyle

Growing up in Naples Steve Hagenbuckle had a vision for bringing a quality major music festival with top tier acts to his hometown. “Music and live performances have always been a big part of my life. Being able to collaborate with all of the participants that make Live Fest USA possible has been very rewarding,” says Steve, Live Fest founder and executive producer.

Along with Live Fest friends, championship golfer Greg Norman and Rob Hartman, Wasserman Group VP and Event Head of the PGA QBE Shootout, Steve felt an enormous pride watching the enthusiastic crowd of 10,000 at this year’s event held in December. Their collective goal has always been to enhance the QBE Shootout experience but more importantly give back to the community of Naples and contribute to Cure Search and children's cancer research and treatment.  

“Rob and I became good friends through the golf event as I am involved with the Tiburon Estates Master Association. He has worked closely with Greg for 15 years and I have known Greg for six years now through the QBE Shootout. Greg is an incredible philanthropist, businessman and supporter of Live Fest,” says Steve.

Steve feels Naples offers a perfect setting for Live Fest. “Naples is a magical town that draws residents and tourists from all over the world. In general it has a higher level demographic that appreciates quality events in quality locations such as the Tiburon Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort,” says Steve.

The team’s vision is not going unrecognized.  They won Outdoor Festival of the Year their first year, an honor and a testament to the creative, production and operations teams in place. All of the hundred-plus team members were thrilled to have been honored. “Our production team, operations team, sound, lighting, artist selection, catering and media partners are top tier on all fronts,” says Steve. “Special thanks goes to Team Wasserman - Rob Hartman, Taylor Ives, Sarah Smith, Matt Hoover, Becky Honor, Taylor Low, Ted Kneale, Kevin DeDonato Tiburon Golf GM; Tiburon Golf Club employees and members; Classic Sports Catering - Marc DeAmbrosio; Paul Murphy - Murphy Entertainment Company, Adam Bauer, Kevin and Louis aka iHeart Radio! The Ritz Tiburon Staff, Henry Chateauvert and all the other awesome team members security and Naples First Responders that make Live Fest USA a safe success each year.

Live Fest 2021 was incredibly special due to the variety and energy of the performers, Thomas Rhett, Cole Swindell, Runaway June, Ben Allen Band the beautiful backdrop of the venue, fueled by the upbeat enthusiasm of the attendees.  The Naples weather did not disappoint with a perfect evening as well. “The light show, the sound, the video boards and the overall vibe created at night to remember,” says Steve. “It has been an absolute treat for all three of us to see this event mature and gain such wide and appreciated acceptance.”  In my opinion, says Steve “Live Fest Naples is here to stay!! Our teams collective goal will always be to enhance the event year after year.  Naples and all of the Live Fest supporters deserve that.”

Save the date for Live Fest, December 10, 2022.