Concert promoter Barry Fey was one in a million... as brash as he was brilliant.
He sold more concert tickets than any promoter in the history of music.
Loved by rock stars and adored by audiences, Barry Fey undeniably reached legendary status before his untimely passing in 2013.
There wasn't anyone like him "then" and, due to the ever-changing concert business, there won't be anyone like him in the future.
U2's Bono once described him in a personal letter as, "A voice louder than any rock 'n' roll band."
If you saw a show at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado from 1968 to 1997, you had Fey to thank as he promoted almost a thousand shows at the venue during his illustrious career.
The promoter once said, "All these venues were made by men, but Red Rocks was made by God." There are "The Gods of Rock" and this is the "Rocks of God." His first show at Red Rocks in September of '68 was headlined by Jimi Hendrix and, as they say, "the rest is history."
Later that year, he would promote what would be Led Zeppelin's very first show in America at the Denver Auditorium Arena.
In the summer of '69, Barry promoted the Denver Pop Festival at Mile High Stadium (marking the last performance of The Jimi Hendrix Experience) and continued to bring the Colorado music masses great shows throughout the 70s.
He would create "The Red Rocks Summer of Stars" concert series in 1976 and would be named "Promoter of the Year" by Billboard magazine for three consecutive years beginning in 1978.
Fast forward to 1983 where he put on, perhaps, his most well-known show with a band on the rise at the time called U2.
The spectacle at one of the world's premiere outdoor concert venues would result in the epic concert film, U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky, produced by Barry Fey, Island Records founder Chris Blackwell and the band, itself. Rolling Stone selected the film's performance of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" as one of the "50 Moments that Changed the History of Rock and Roll."
Just a week prior to the U2 concert at Red Rocks, Fey helped Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak put on one of the greatest four-day concert festivals in the history of music called the US Festival. With 670,000 people in attendance over the four-day event (Memorial Day weekend), the US Festival would be the largest single show that Fey ever promoted.
In September of that same year, he teamed up with such baseball legends as Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, to bring The Denver Dream old-timers game to Mile High Stadium in Denver, opening up the doors for Major League Baseball in the state of Colorado. Barry, an avid sports fan, called it, "Without a doubt, the finest thing I've ever done as a promoter was on September 30, 1983." The event drew over 58,000 people.
And that was all in 1983!
Call it just another year in the well-lived life of Barry Fey.
It's these kinds of stories and more that will be reflected in the forthcoming documentary on Barry titled, Rockfather Rockumentary™️️ - The Life and Times of Barry Fey, currently in production.
"This is a life story that needs to be told," states Lee Liley (CEO) of Denver-based MusicTracks™️️ Films , the company producing the major documentary. "There have been so many great music-related documentaries lately, from David Bowie, Keith Richards and Kurt Cobain to David Geffen and Shep Gordon, that we felt further inspired to tell Barry's own, incredible story, as a tribute from his friends and family. It'll be the good, the bad and, perhaps, even the ugly... his musical adventures from beginning to end... We hope to capture it all. While he penned a book a few years back, we wanted to bring his story more to life on a big screen... one that's colorful... just like Barry."
Charles E. Slocum III, MusicTracks™️️ Films President and Executive Producer of the documentary, comments, "It was great working with Barry. He had the best memory of anyone I've ever met. He could remember not only the dates of the shows that he produced, but tell you the day of the week, what the weather conditions were and what the artist was wearing that day! Barry was truly extraordinary."
Rockfather Rockumentary™️️ - The Life and Times of Barry Fey will encompass both Fey and music history, as it evolved from the mid-60s, featuring footage of, and commentary from many of the top musical artists of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s about their interactions with the promoter and stories of the era.
Just prior to his passing, Fey was working with MusicTracks™️️ on the documentary and sat down with his longtime friend and well-known musician Kenny Passarelli for what would be his last filmed interview. A snippet of that interview can be seen here.
Passarelli, a 26-time gold and platinum winning artist and co-writer of Joe Walsh's song, "Rocky Mountain Way," will host and narrate the forthcoming documentary and already has quite a few artists and executives "in the can."
MusicTracks™️️ has established a memorial statue fund (www.BarryFeyStatueFund.org) for a life-sized bronze statue of Barry Fey to be erected at the Red Rocks Park Amphitheatre that they're hoping to unveil on July 16, 2018, a day that marks what would've been the promoter's 80th birthday. A memorial concert that will benefit the Barry Fey Foundation is in the works for that day.
Upon Barry's initial retirement in 1997, President Bill Clinton thanked Fey for his contributions, "Dozens of the artists who are now in rock's pantheon were first booked by Barry. Music lovers all across America, and all around the world, have been the beneficiary of Barry's good instincts, his hard work and his creativity."
This same year, Fey would be inducted into the Touring Hall of Fame by Performance magazine.
He went from a small town to the big time and the accolades he received during his career were numerous.
From his first show in Rockford, Illinois on Easter Sunday 1965 to his final show in Colorado more than three decades later, Rockfather Rockumentary™️️ - The Life and Times of Barry Fey will "tell the tale."
In early 2012, Fey released a book called Backstage Past (Forewords by Pete Townshend and Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne) that chronicled his journey.
He hung out with "The Gods of Rock" and, ultimately, became a rock star among rock stars. With Rockfather Rockumentary™️️ - The Life and Times of Barry Fey, the legend continues...