Meet the Organizers


With the Hope for Abaco Holiday Benefit Concert behind us I would like to give recognition to the other organizers and to share with everyone my thoughts about my own involvement.

This project was one of the most difficult undertakings in my entire life. I worked tirelessly as an unpaid volunteer organizer spending more than 80 hours each week for several months to make this event a reality. During this time I neglected my friends, family, and loved ones more than I will ever do so again. My business took a back-seat. I was driven by my hope to save the event while exceeding donator expectations and collecting donations to help rebuild Abaco.

Neither Tony DeCristofaro or myself were part of the original organizer team. However, when the orginial organizers told us just six weeks before the event that they decided to to cancel, Tony and I felt canceling was not an option. Fans had already taken time off from work, purchased airline tickets, and made hotel reservations. We had to do whatever was possible to make sure the event would happen.

What would you do if six weeks before your child's wedding the event planner quit after thousands of friends and family members were invited? Imagine all of the money promissed to pay for the event left with the planner. What would you do?

The people who had promised to pay for the event would not even respond to phone calls, and we learned that none of the permits we needed to run the event and sell alcholol had ever been filed.

The venue had canceled the reservation because they never received a deposit and were in the process of booking to another party.

The bands were still coming but you had no stage, sound equipment, or lights, and would need a sound engineer.

No caterer had been secured, and no company contracted to provide bar and acholol service was ever hired.

We also had to contend wtih the charity we were planning to use as our non-profit was no longer willing to work with us, and the state would not permit us to even selling tickets without a registered non-profit. While we were told a fantastic website had been created no such website ever existed, and the event planner who was coordinating the show refused to return a single phone call.

What would you do if you only had six weeks and not a penny to spend?

Our big break came when one of our fan club members, Lydia, introuduced me to Marsha at Smiley Girl Entertainment.

Marsha, reached out to Commissioner Maxwell Chambers of Mirimar, Florida for help to setup a relationship with an established and state approved 501(c)(3) charity, the Care Community Center, Incorporated of Mirimar Florida. In addition, Marsha was able to connect us with another non-profit group of attorneys who set up a trust account so we may maintain transparacy.

I'm proud to say that Erich, Tony, and I, along with Nick and Smiley Girl who also stepped up to help were able to align with the commission of Mirimar Florida to setup a state approved 501(C)(3) and also a group of attorneys to setup a trust account to maintain transparency.

I contacted the Martin County Fairgrounds and setup a meeting that saved the venue.

We found and hired a stage, sound, and light company who was willing to hold the date for us without a deposit until sponsorship money would come available.

About this time, Nick Otton responded to our request for help and provided the feet on the street that we needed. Nick was invaluable when it came to meeting and negotiating with vendors and county officials. Nick connected us with Libations who would provide catering and bar services.

We still needed a website and a way to sell tickets, so I turned to PC Components Company to utilize the company's website hosting account and website development software.

We designed the event floor-plan, setup an online ticketing agent, found suppliers to rent the chairs and tables we would need, and cleaned up the barn to make it suitable to hold this event, all inside of six weeks.

On top of this, we put on an event that was covered by more than 1000 news media outlets throughout the US, and by the CBS, NBC, and FOX television networks.

We even came up with a last-minute idea, a toy drive. Tony spent a weekend sending emails to ask attendees to bring a new unwrapped toy, and then I contacted Airgate Aviation and arranged for them to transport a plane load of toys to Abaco where they would be delivered to children in the Abacos by Santa's from the USA.

I think the organizers who made this event happen did a fantastic. I hope you agree.

P. Steve Calabria
Steve is the owner and founder of PC Components Company a business that helps companies who manufacturer products using electronic components to sell their excess and to purchase hard-to-find electronic components. Steve first met the Barefoot Man in 2001 while vacationing at the Watercolour Cottages owned by Austin and Amy on Lubbers Quarters. He frequently returned to Abaco and stayed at the Big Yellow Ocean House at Guana Seaside Village on Guana Cay and at marinas on Green Turtle, Man-o-war, and Elbow. Steve has also spend considerable time in both Marsh and Treasure.

Anthony "Tony" DeCristofaro
Tony met the Barefoot Man while on his honeymoon in Grand Cayman during the 1990's. Tony has become very familiar with South Abaco and has stayed on Guana, but his wife don't come any more.

Erich Sitko
Erich is a property manager in South Florida and has been a Barefoot Man fan for a long time. He has extensive boating experience in Abaco and the Bahamas exposed him to Barefoot Man music but although he has been to Nipper's many times, Erich saw his first Barefoot Man concert in person at the Hope for Abaco Holiday Benefit Concert.

James "Nick" Otton
Nick, who currently lives in Stone Harbour New Jersey, comes from a very well-known family on Guana Cay who has lived on Guana for many generations. His uncle Milo has been immortalized by the Barefoot Man for selling tomatoes, and was Best Man in George's wedding on Foot's Cay, while his uncle Edmund operated Kidd's Cove with his son Forest.