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Hippiefest tour arrives Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, includes Gary Wright, Rick Derringer

CLEARWATER — It's time to roll back the analog clocks to a time when baby boomers were still baby-faced, when flower power was in full bloom, and when you didn't need to leave home to go on a trip.

Hippiefest 2011, a nationwide tour about peace, love and the pursuit of hippieness, is headed for Ruth Eckerd Hall on Saturday. The three-hour concert relives musical highlights of the '60s and '70s through five original artists who are, well, about that age now.

The lineup includes Dave Mason of Traffic (Feelin' Alright), Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad (I'm Your Captain), Rick Derringer of the McCoys (Hang on Sloopy), Felix Cavaliere's Rascals (Groovin') and Gary Wright (Dream Weaver).

They'll each perform songs from the bands they've been a part of as well as their own solo hits.

Expect the rock 'n' roll of yesteryear, just no whacky tabaccy.

Along with the music, an assortment of vendors will peddle peace signs, hemp and beaded jewelry, hippie clothes and memorabilia. The Sunset Corvette and Classic Car Club of New Port Richey will have vintage cars on display.

Clearwater is about midway on the tour, which began Aug. 3 in San Diego, but it's pretty close to home for Derringer, 64, of Bradenton. He has lived in the area for 13 years.

When he was 17, his band, the McCoys, made the 1965 song Hang on Sloopy. It rose to No. 1 that year and eventually became the official rock song of the Ohio State University Buckeyes.

It doesn't surprise Derringer that the music from the era is still popular today not only with boomers but with their adult children, the "echo boomers," as well as today's kids.

His 1973 hit as a solo artist, Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo, is still alive and kickin' and downloadable for the music video game Guitar Hero II.

"Music was bigger back then," he said. "It was part of our social, political and psychological being. Because of that, we have the staying power today they'll never have again."

Awww. It's enough to fog up one's rose-tinted granny glasses.

Submit ideas for Diversions features taking place in north Pinellas to Terri Bryce Reeves at


Hippiefest 2011

Where: Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater

When: Saturday. Marketplace opens at 5 p.m. Concert begins at 7 p.m.

Tickets: $75, $49 and $39 at the box office, call (727) 791-7400 or buy at

Hippiefest tour arrives Saturday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, includes Gary Wright, Rick Derringer 08/25/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 25, 2011 5:17pm]
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