Boots on the Sand: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ted Nugent and more play all-star Ian fundraiser

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They came to rock Hertz Arena. And also raise money for Hurricane Ian relief.

Southern-rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd headlined Thursday's Boots on the Sand concert at the packed Estero venue. The lineup also featured hard-rocker Ted Nugent, comedian Jim Breuer and country singers Ira Dean, Tracy Lawrence and Brian Kelley.

Each artist drew on the energy from the mostly-packed arena and often reminded everyone about the focus of the night.

“Even though she’s a little banged up, a little upside down, don’t you still love Florida?" country musician John Rich asked the crowd during his set.

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The question drew large applause, much like Breuer’s announcement that they had raised more than $1.5 million for Hurricane Ian relief. The Naples-based comedian hosted the event.

In an earlier interview, Skynyrd guitarist Rickey Medlocke — who lives in Fort Myers — said he and the rest of Skynyrd were stunned by the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian in Southwest Florida.

“Our community surrounding us was just totally in shambles,” Medlocke told The News-Press and the Naples Daily News last month. “My neighborhood, actually, our area did great. But I took a trip around Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel and Captiva, and I just couldn’t believe what I was looking at.”

That's why the band agreed to help out when Hertz Arena contacted them about Boots on the Sand.

"We thought, 'You know what? This is a good idea,'" Medlocke said. "Skynyrd has always wanted to and been willing to reach out and help people when we can. And it’s a very important thing."

Former Florida Georgia Line member Kelley — a Florida native — told the crowd Thursday that any proceeds from his song “Florida Strong” would be donated to hurricane relief.

“I’m proud to be here," Kelley told the crowd. "I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. We got y’alls back, baby.”

Nugent, a part-time Naples resident, also electrified the crowd when he brought Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno on stage. Marceno told the crowd that “we took a hit, but we got back up, and we’re stronger than ever.”

The event was organized by Live Nation and singer/bassist Dean (formerly of Trick Pony). Proceeds will go to disaster-relief efforts through the Florida Disaster Fund, Collier Community Foundation, Collaboratory and Charlotte Community Foundation.

All of the musical acts performed for free Thursday, Medlocke said. “We’re doing it for absolutely nothing. And it’s our pleasure to do it.”

As Lynyrd Skynyrd prepared to end the night with its set, a video compilation of the damage caused by Ian –– and the efforts made by first responders in the aftermath –– played on a large screen.

Connect with this reporter: Charles Runnells is an arts and entertainment reporter for The News-Press and the Naples Daily News. Email him at or connect on Facebook (, Twitter (@charlesrunnells) and Instagram (@crunnells1).

This article originally appeared on Fort Myers News-Press: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nugent and more play Hurricane Ian fundraiser at Hertz