Shelley ‘The Ticket Queen’ Lazar Has Died After Battle With Cancer

Shelley Lazar
– Shelley Lazar
SLO VIP Services’ Shelley Lazar is surrounded by world music band Lakou Mizik at Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, Calif., June 15, 2017

Shelley Lazar, founder of SLO VIP Services, died March 31 at 69 after a long battle with cancer.

Known fondly for decades as “the ticket queen” – and by friends as the MFTQ (a sobriquet said to have been bestowed upon her by Keith Richards) – Lazar virtually created the VIP experience and handled ticketing requests and services for artists including Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Barbra Streisand and many more.

She founded San Francisco-based SLO Limited in 2002 after working with Bill Graham Presents, Ron Delsener Presents and establishing herself as an innovator in credentials coordination for top artists, tours and festivals over some 35 years.  The company was acquired by Ticketmaster in 2008, and Lazar remained CEO under the TM banner.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of Shelly Lazar’s passing,” TM parent Live Nation said in a statement. “She was a one of a kind character and a tough as nails businesswoman. Her passion, tenacity and love of music will be remembered by all of us at Live Nation. Our thoughts are with family, friends and all who knew her.”

From catering to logistics, booking to street marketing and ultimately ticketing, Lazar immersed herself in every facet of producing live concerts and events. From 1991 to 2002, Lazar was Vice President/Artist Relations and Special Projects Coordinator for Bill Graham Presents. 

As a Ticketmaster company, SLO VIP Services specialized in creating fan experiences and providing premium seating access “once available only to artist’s friends, family and their celebrity guests,” according to SLO VIP Services’ website. 

Most recently, Lazar and SLO VIP Services worked on tours with Elton John, Paul Simon, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Pink, The Who and Celine Dion. She also coordinated events with Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict, among other notables, according to her bio

In addition to her work with artists and fans in the ticketing sphere, Lazar was involved in charity causes and in 2013 joined the board of directors of Little Kids Rock, a leading nonprofit provider of music education and free instruments to more than 300,000 public school children. The position reflected her background not only in the music business, but as a public school teacher in 1970’s Brooklyn, N.Y.

Lazar was also involved with many other nonprofit organizations, including the Bill Graham Memorial Foundation, Human Rights Watch, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Taylor Family Foundation and Tipping Point Community. 

Lazar was also the co-executive producer of the award-winning documentary, “Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars.”

As tributes to Lazar pour in on social media, including from Live Nation CEO/President Michael Rapino, Pollstar will update this story as more information becomes available.