MEDINA — Gary Quesada barely knew what he was doing when he organized the first Rally in the Alley concert series in 2001.
Quesada hosted three parking-lot concerts that year behind his restaurant, Main Street Cafe on Public Square. He didn’t have lights for the bands, so the music stopped at dusk. Still, the events were well-received.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s like anything else, the more you do it, the easier it gets,” Quesada said. “We don’t even think about it anymore. We know exactly what to do.”
The 17th annual Rally in the Alley wrapped up Sunday with a performance by Wish You Were Here, a Pink Floyd tribute band that played the 1977 album “Animals” in its entirety. More than 1,000 fans were expected to attend the concert, the only Rally in the Alley that wasn’t free this year.
Mr. Speed, a Kiss tribute group, appeared Friday night, and Stylee Wild, a Medina band that specializes in classic rock, performed Saturday.
Attending the Saturday concert were Tom and Kris Goines, of Medina, along with Tom’s brother, Dan Goines of Brooklyn. They were among the first to arrive, despite the drizzly weather, because they’re fans of Stylee Wild.
“We’ve seen them before,” Kris Goines said. “They play our generation of classic rock and a few originals.”
“It doesn’t hurt that it’s free,” Tom Goines added.
Fittingly, Stylee Wild’s opening song Saturday was “Riding the Storm Out” by REO Speedwagon. Fortunately, the drizzle dried up as the night wore on.
In recent years, Rally in the Alley has consisted of weekly concerts every summer. But in the early years — after the initial three-concert Rally series in 2001 — Quesada staged shows every other week.
After a couple years, WONE-FM, a classic rock station in Akron, became a sponsor.
At the time, WONE also supported Rockin’ on the River in Cuyahoga Falls, a concert series that is similar to Rally in the Alley but bigger. Rockin’ on the River is now held at Black River Landing in Lorain.
“They advised us to do a concert every week,” Quesada said. “Otherwise, people get confused, and they don’t remember which week we’re having a concert.”
This year, the weekly Rally in the Alley concerts started in late May and ran 15 weeks. Quesada said work on Rally in the Ally 2018 will start almost immediately. That’s because the more popular bands schedule shows far in advance.
“We have it down,” Quesada said. “We’ve worked with lighting companies and stage companies year after year. They’re like our friends now.”
Messages may be left for Bob Sandrick at (330) 721-4065.