October 20, 2021

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Ben Taylor Dead: Touring Industry Pays Tribute

“Ben wasn’t just a colleague or an associate from Front Gate Tickets, he was a good friend,” says Courtney McClary with SBG Productions and the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. “He would come to Telluride even when he wasn’t the account rep anymore to visit us and be a part of the experiences that we were creating for people, which really says a lot about a person.”

He also toured with artists, riding an all-American vintage train around the country with Mumford & Sons while running ticket operations for their Railroad Revival Tour. As technology changed, so did Ben’s operation, going from a mobile box office ran out of the trunk of his car to helping fans enter ticketing’s digital era with tools like mobile ticketing and RFID wristbands. Known as “Coach Taylor” to his clients and staff, Taylor was promoted to serve as general manager of Front Gate Tickets in November 2019.

“I spent years working alongside Ben — those were formative times,” says friend and former Front Gate colleague Dave Cohen. “We saw a lot of America, developed a team dynamic to get things done, and accomplished much that seemed impossible. I’m grateful to have known BT, he will be missed.”

Goldenvoice’s Amanda Gray described Taylor as someone who “understood ticketing in a way few people I’ve come across in my career have.”

“Ben left his mark on the industry, and on me,” she says. “His resume speaks for itself, but what I’d add is he was never above a late night in the festival box office, or a drink and a good laugh after a rough day.”

When COVID-19 hit, Taylor and others in the live business faced an incredibly difficult stretch without work and often without income. Taylor was genuinely concerned about the health and financial well-being for his “festy family” at Front Gate, his friends in Austin and and his life partner Deidra Sibila (longtime ticketing industry veteran, who worked frequently with Taylor) and sister Pam Taylor.

Despite the trying time, Sibila is happy knowing “I got to do what I love with who I love. I work with my very best friend, and go home and live with and love that same person too!” she tells Billboard.

Jack McCarty with Denver’s Elevate Tickets described Taylor as “the guy you wanted working with you on the biggest, hardest, most challenging projects and shows,” and described Taylor as “sharp, intelligent, funny, passionate and witty.”

Taylor’s contributions help Front Gate expand outside the U.S. and into Canada, Europe, South American and Australia. Live Nation officials told Billboard in a statement, “Our team is saddened by the passing of Front Gate Tickets GM Ben Taylor, who will be deeply missed by all who knew him. We will look for ways to continue to honor Ben’s memory, and to channel his passion for music and tech as a source of inspiration for our team. Our sincere condolences to his family, friends and fellow colleagues on this loss.”

Taylor was quiet and reserved, “which could be terrifying at times,” Sibila joked, “but then he’d flash that smile and sense of humor and make anyone at ease. You never knew quite what he was thinking, but can be certain it wasn’t about himself.“

“He carried himself in a way that demanded reverence and something better from you without belittling the effort you were currently making.” added his sister Pam Taylor, a theatrical actress.

Friends describe Taylor as a passionate music fan, a Spotify playlist master curator, a high-minded vinyl collector, a frequent party planner, and an always reliable fantasy football commissioner and March Madness bracket keeper.

“He is also an art lover and supporter of his sister Emily’s theatre projects, and would never say no to a taco,” Sibila explained.

Sibila and Taylor’s family is asking those who would like to honor Ben to consider a donation in his memory to the charity of their choice or to one of the following non-profit organizations, which support causes important to Ben: the Red River Cultural District which supports the Austin live music community, 33 Forever, established by Taylor’s family two years to raise awareness around mental health issues and the Big Bend Conservancy which protects, promotes and raises funds for Big Bend National Park and the Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River.

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