Legendary concert promoter Ben Farrell dies at 76

Farrell passed away peacefully Aug 10th

Ben Farrell, a legendary Nashville based concert promoter has died at 76. He passed away on August 10th, surrounded by his family and so much love.

Farrell began his career in country music in 1970 and was proud to say he worked in the industry for 52 years. Ben was a very hands-on concert promoter always working directly with the venue himself. When Ben began his career with Varnell Enterprises, he initially worked alongside Lon Varnell, assisting Mr. Varnell with concert promotions, marketing and on-site supervision. The talent he was working with included Elvis Presley, Elton John, Lawrence Welk and Guy Lombardo.

Ben independently established relationships with the country artists of the day, he brought the acts into Varnell Enterprises and ran with it. Ben remained at Varnell Enterprises his entire career, ultimately to become its president.

Most notably, Farell was Garth Brooks’ concert promoter for over 30 years, first joining Garth in 1989.

“I love Ben Farrell. And like Chris LeDoux, Ben Farrell will continue to be the kind of man i want to be. Honest, fair, and hard working. I am lucky to have known him,” Brooks says in a press statement.

Later in his long and storied career he worked with many great artists of the 20th Century, including The Statler Brothers, Merle Haggard, Ricky Skaggs, George Strait, Neil Diamond, The Carpenters, The Osmonds, Charlie Pride, Ronnie Milsap, Barbara Mandrell and many, many more. In recent years, artists such as Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley, Jason Aldean and Chris Young.

Throughout his entire career he remained a fixture on many “Promoter of the Year” lists.

Ben Kerby Farrell was born on July 17, 1946 in Jackson, Tennessee. Ben’s father, Kerby Farrell, was a professional baseball player and manager. The family traveled for years and Ben soon developed an early love of Baseball. He lettered all four years on the Chester County High School baseball team. He attended David Lipscomb University on a baseball scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1966, Ben was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies and went on to play with the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox Farm Clubs. In 1968, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and proudly served for two years of active service, in which he trained troops for Vietnam. In 1970, he began his career in country music.

He met his wife, Autumn, in 1998 and they married in 2001. In 2003, the Lord blessed them with the most precious gift of all, their daughter, Ella Grace. Ben was very passionate about sports, especially hockey and University of Tennessee football. He loved maps and geography and would study any chance he got. He was very patriotic. He loved his country and its military. He was such an avid reader and researcher, always trying to improve, innovate and encourage those in the country music world. His memory was like none other. He could recall dates, numbers, cities, radio/tv call letters, seat capacities/charts, all at the drop of a hat. He could remember exact ticket sales from any random city, on a random date, at a random building upon command and all the way back to the 1970’s!

He truly loved the country music business and cherished the relationships he made over his 52 plus year career. Every relationship at every level, artist management, building managers, radio and TV station managers and their staff, his extensive media contacts, all the musicians, road crew members, Ticketmaster staff, everyone.

More than anything he loved his family. He loved being home with his wife and daughter. They will tell you, to know Ben was to love him, he was the most brilliant, driven, hard-working, honest, loyal, dedicated, humble, sincere, funny, loving, thoughtful and unique man ever known. One of his many gifts, a masterful storyteller, he could capture a crowd and fill the room with laughter as he shared stories from the past. He was cherished and will be missed dearly and remembered often.

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com

Articles: 14863