Terry Bassett, The Quiet Man Behind Modern Touring And Concerts West, Dies At 80

Terry and Carol Bassett
– Terry and Carol Bassett

Terry Bassett who, with Tom Hulett and others, teamed up to make Concerts West/Management III a powerhouse and revolutionized the business of concert touring, died July 26 at 80. He had been in declining health in recent years after a series of strokes.

Bassett early in his career promoted tours by Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley. He got his start in the Pacific Northwest with Pat O’Day and Associates that, after opening a regional office in Dallas, became the heritage promoter Concerts West.

Though he shunned the limelight, many credit him with creating the modern touring business by consolidating disparate functions including promotion, marketing, advertising, tour logistics, booking, security and back-of-house necessities such as lighting, sound and hospitality into a turn-key business model, Bassett’s Concerts West reinvented the idea of touring.

Among its most famous clients were Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Paul McCartney and Wings, Eagles, Neil Diamond, Stevie Wonder, John Denver, The Who, The Beach Boys, Three Dog Night, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Grand Funk Railroad and many more.

Chuck Negron and Terry Bassett
Carl Dunn
– Chuck Negron and Terry Bassett

Concerts West was able to expand and eventually become a national concert promotion powerhouse. Jerry Weintraub, after partnering with CW on tours with John Denver, Neil Diamond, Frank Sinatra, Elvis and Led Zeppelin, bought out an early partner’s interest and joined Concerts West. In the 1980s, Concerts West continued its growth, adding a management division and eventually was acquired by SFX Entertainment, the precursor to Live Nation.

Bassett was also a partner in Avalon Attractions, the Southern California promoter, along with the late Brian Murphy and Bob Geddes. After many years as a regional promoting powerhouse, Avalon Attractions was also acquired by SFX.  

But during its heyday, Concerts West also brought together two men – John Meglen and Paul Gongaware – who eventually left the Live Nation fold and reestablished Concerts West, which is now aligned with AEG and continues to produce major global tours. 

Bassett was an innovator beyond the concert hall and stadium. He, along with Gongaware, produced ski films by Warren Miller and promoted them as events – selling out 3,500-seat theatres and creating a brand for Miller and giving the sport of skiing a hefty boost. Given the success of the first Miller film, “The Edge,” Bassett suggested a soundtrack for the sequel, “Beyond The Edge,” which was written and performed by the late Dan Fogelberg.

Bassett was more than concert promoter and innovator – he was a friend and mentor to many whose remembrances will be included in expanded coverage over the next few days and in the next Pollstar issue.

Memorial services are being planned.