On Friday evening, dark storm clouds developed over the beach as Scott Novello, lead vocalist for the band High Tide, sang “Natural Mystic,” by Bob Marley, and small crowds of people started running to avoid the storm.
The Sunset Celebration, located in Times Square on Fort Myers Beach, occurs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. every Friday with good weather conditions.
This event has been going on for the past five years. The cover band, High Tide, performs for locals and tourists who attend the event.
“I’ve been coming out here for about 50 years, and I regularly come and watch the band play,” Tracy Troeger, who lives in Fort Myers, said. “My favorite part about this event is the great food and the great music.”
High Tide was formed in July of 2005 and has performed in places in the Caribbean and all over the nation. Its three band members, Scott Novello on the bass and vocals, Danny Shepard on the guitar and vocals and David Moore on the drums and vocals, come out and perform every Friday evening in an intimate setting. They play all genres of songs such as alternative rock, reggae, R&B and Funk.
“There’s a lot of annual tourists who always make it to this event, and they’ve been coming ever since it started,” Scott Novello said, lead vocalist and bass player. “I love the people here and touching them with our music.”
Other street performers also take the opportunity to play for the crowd on the side.
The combination of sounds of a young violinist playing right outside Kilwins and High Tide playing a reggae song filled the air with musical tunes.
“We’ve really made a good connection here with everyone,” Novello said. “The reaction and connection with the crowd is the best part of playing music at this event.”
The band performs in the center of Plaka, Pete’s Time Out, Kilwin’s, Citrola and Dairy Queen, which are the main sponsors that financially support this event. The event is surrounded with restaurants and dessert places to enjoy while sitting back and listening to the relaxing tunes played from the band.
“I love coming for the sunsets and food,” Roger Troeger said, a Fort Myers Beach local, while sipping on his chilled Corona. “I love listening to the music they play because I can understand the songs.”
Lying down on benches, enjoying cold drinks and sharing intimate moments together, small crowds of people stopped to listen to the band play tropical music as storm clouds hovered over the beach. The Sunset Celebration is free for everyone to enjoy. Many couples in the crowd relaxed in the romantic setting to the music playing, while kids enjoyed their ice cream cones from Dairy Queen.
“It’s a beautiful event, it’s on the beach with the sunset, it’s free and you can walk around and get something to eat and drink and stuff,” Novello said. “It’s a really cool event, kids like it, it’s a family thing.”
The band members hope to advertise the event more throughout the year by being more active on social media. They feel as though it is not publicized as much as it should be. They said if more people knew about the event, then they would have larger crowds.
“I think the whole idea of the band coming together to play for people on the pier is really cool,” Marissa Barron said, an FGCU student who happened to be walking by as the event took place. “I’m a little mad that the weather got bad, cause I was really enjoying myself, but I’m definitely coming back again!”
Being that this event does depend on the weather condition for the evening, it does get cancelled if the weather is not ideal. Unfortunately, this time it did get shut down soon after they started playing due to a storm. Many people were disappointed the event did not go long enough to last until sunset, but they were pleased to know they can return the following week.
“They have a great sound and have a smooth tone to them,” Raymond Starrett said, member of the crowd, as he had his arm wrapped around his wife sitting next to him. “They’re kind of romantic with it. We wish we could’ve seen a sunset but that’s okay, we’ll be back to see millions of them!”