Ben Farrell, a legendary concert promoter who played a major role in the career of Garth Brooks and many other artists, has died. According to a press release, Farrell died “peacefully” at his home on Aug. 10, “surrounded by his family and so much love.”
Born Ben Kerby Farrell on July 17, 1946, in Jackson, Tenn., Farrell had big dreams from an early age. His father, Kerby Farrell, was a professional baseball player and manager, and the family traveled extensively, during which time Farrell developed his own love of the game. He lettered in baseball in high school before attending David Lipscomb University on a baseball scholarship, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
The Philadelphia Phillies drafted Farrell in 1966, and he went on to stints playing with the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox Farm Clubs. In 1968, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served two years of active duty, training troops for Vietnam.
Farrell began his career in country music in 1970 when he joined Varnell Enterprises, working alongside Lon Varnell and assisting him with concert promotions, marketing and on-site supervision for artists including Elvis Presley, Elton John, Lawrence Welk and Guy Lombardo.
Farrell stayed with Varnell Enterprises for his entire 52-year career, ultimately rising through the ranks to become its president. He began working with a rising young artist named Garth Brooks in 1989, and would go on to work with Brooks for more than 30 years, during which time the superstar became one of the most iconic live entertainers of his generation.
“I love Ben Farrell. And like Chris LeDoux, Ben Farrell will continue to be the kind of man I want to be,” Brooks states. “Honest, fair, and hard working. I am lucky to have known him.”
Farrell’s long and varied career included working with the Statler Brothers, Merle Haggard, Ricky Skaggs, George Strait, Neil Diamond, the Carpenters, the Osmonds, Charley Pride, Ronnie Milsap, Barbara Mandrell and many more. In more recent years, that roster grew to include Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley, Jason Aldean, Chris Young and more. Farrell often appeared on various Promoter of the Year lists in industry trade magazines. Her and Brooks were both inducted into the IEBA Hall of Fame in 2016.
Ben Farrell met his wife, Autumn, in 1998. The couple married in 2001 and welcomed their daughter, Ella Grace, in 2003. He was a devoted family man, remembered by his wife and daughter as “the most brilliant, driven, hard-working, honest, loyal, dedicated, humble, sincere, funny, loving, thoughtful and unique man ever known,” as well as a riveting storyteller who loved to regale the room with stories from every facet of his career.
A celebration of life for Ben Farrell is slated to take place on Aug. 24, 2022, at 11AM CT at Nashville’s Woodmont Christian Church. Visitation is set for Aug. 23, 2022, from 4PM-6PM.
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May they rest in peace …