Bordering on the obsessive, two South Florida music lovers vowed more than five years ago to bring back the glory days of live rock & roll music. Friends Richard DiBenedetto and Mickey Filippucci have been hard at work ever since. And the way things are going they just might succeed.
Although both have real jobs, DiBenedetto and Filippucci’s true passion come out at their music festivals. It’s always a broad smile and a flurry of activity for these two. They seem to instinctively know what the other is doing at any given time and finish each others sentences.
With this easily seen camaraderie and deep, honest passion they’ve earned a legion of loyal followers and fans.
It all started early in 2010 when DiBenedetto and Filippucci were introduced during a (what else) night of live music. Filippucci was and is a guitar player for Head First <headfirstrock.com> and DiBenedetto came to hear them play. “It was a grassroots thing with mutual friends,” said DiBenedetto. “We quickly discovered our common interest, became friends and soon planned our first music festival.
“Florida Rock Stars was born when we put on the first South Dade Food & Rock Festival at Homestead’s Harris Field Pavilion and got an immediate euphoria. We didn’t even know what we were doing, but we knew we were doing it right.”
“There’s nothing quite like good live music coupled with good food and good people,” Filippucci added. “It’s just a feeling of exhilaration!”
As an attendee of many Florida Rock Stars shows, I can tell you there is just something special in the air. It’s a feeling of community, doing good and, of course, exceptional music. During the past five years, I’ve seen their growth and learning experience. Each show is bigger and better, leading them out of Homestead to Palmetto Bay. There’s no question their passion is working and turning heads. DiBenedetto and Filippucci are putting on shows that inspire attendees, vendors, musicians and towns to do more.
“We’re all about community and Palmetto Bay has opened their arms to us,” said DiBenedetto. “We’ve loved our time in Homestead, but going forward Palmetto Bay is our town.”
Florida Rock Stars has settled from a chaotic pace of four shows a year to just two, a country show in the spring and rock in the winter.
“This allows us to really focus and put on killer shows with the best talent,” said Filippucci.
An important part of the festival show mix is Florida Rock Stars’ commitment to charity. They will typically raise and donate over $10,000 to a charity at each show. And the involvement of local businesses is also paramount.
Filippucci picked up the mic at a recent show and thanked people for their support. “Everyone out here, all you business sponsors, all these fans, you guys are all part of this. We love ya!”
Making any real money with these shows has been elusive thus far. This is truly a labor of love for both DiBenedetto and Filippucci.
“If it was about the money, we’d have stopped a long time ago,” said Filippucci. “We know we are building something special here,”
“Our dream is to bring back good live music and entertain people,” said DiBenedetto. “I think we’re living that dream.”
If you want to fuel their dream and thoroughly enjoy yourself in the process, circle Nov. 14 on your calendar for the fourth annual Palmetto Bay Food & Rock Festival from 4-11 p.m.
You can find out more information at www.floridarockstars.com. Until then, enjoy a few videos at http://tinyurl.com/flrockstars.
Hal Feldman is a Realtor with RE/MAX Advance Realty. Contact him with story ideas or real estate questions at www.MiamiHal.com.