Jim Kiefer knows this about Punta Gorda:
“It’s a town that knows how to have fun,” said Kiefer, the bassist and founder of Maiden Cane, one of the hottest rock bands in Southwest Florida.
Kiefer and his band will be on hand to help create some of that fun when they headline Charlotte County Pride Fest, scheduled for noon to 6 p.m. Jan. 19 at Laishley Park. The event is free.
Maiden Cane is a six-piece band whose signature is ‘70s and ‘80s arena rock. It plays arena rock — the music of Boston, Journey, Def Leppard Bon Jovi, Styx, and Kansas — music noted for strong guitars and vocals.
“Every time we play, people will walk up to us when we’re done and go, ‘Oh, my God I remember what I was doing when that song came out,’” said Kiefer, a North Port resident. “It takes them back in time. It makes them feel good. That’s what we try to do.”
Maiden Cane consists of Kiefer, vocalist Cliff Randi, guitarists Joey Gilbert and Pete Siracuse, keyboardist Billy Day, and drummer Rich Duncan.
Maiden Cane is no stranger to Punta Gorda. It recently headlined Haunting on the Harbor and regular plays the Tiki Bar at Four Points by Sheraton.
“We’ve always liked playing there” Kiefer said. “You can walk on the street and there’s people everywhere. It’s just a cool place to do events.”
The nonprofit CHAPS — Charlotte HIV/AIDS People Support — will be at the gate collecting food and hygiene items. Its mission is to provide food and hygiene products without cost to those living with HIV/AIDS and their dependents.
The bands scheduled to perform before Maiden Cane are the Cheaters and Divine AF. The drag show features Steven Andrade as Cher, Drag Clyo, Alyssa Lemay and Spikey Van Dykey.
Pride Fest got its start in 2013 and has become one of the county’s best-attended events, drawing thousands over the course of the day. It features, food and craft vendors, music and a drag-queen show. Folks are asked to bring their lawn chairs and leave their coolers and dogs at home.
“We’ve been successful over the years because we have very inclusive businesses in our area,” said Carrie James, president of Charlotte County Pride. “They are very welcoming. We have a very good collaboration with the city, and people just enjoy themselves when they come.
“It’s great, fun time. It’s a free event where people are allowed to be themselves and just have a great time.”
For more information, go to www.charlotte countypridefl.org.