Chuck Morris, AEG Presents Rocky Mountains’ chairman emeritus and Denver promoting legend, has been producing benefit concerts his entire career, going back to the mid-1980s when he did a benefit concert for U.S. Senate candidate Gary Hart with the late Dan Fogelberg.
But today, his passion is directed at the greater Boulder, Colo., community devastated by a wildfire late last year. The Marshall Fire Benefit Concert, featuring Dave Matthews, Trey Anastasio, Steve Miller, The Lumineers, Brittany Howard, String Cheese Incident, Nathaniel Rateliff, Michael Franti, Lyle Lovett, Sam Bush, Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Lake Street Dive and more, will stream Monday, Feb. 28 on VEEPS.com
and hosted by eTown’s Nick Forster.
Additional artists performing in the benefit include Ryan Tedder, Yonder Mountain String Band, Old Crow Medicine Show, Bob Rector, Leftover Salmon, The Motet, Wynonna Judd with Cactus Moser, Amos Lee, The California Honeydrops, Rob Drabkin, Sarah Jarosz and Raquel Garcia.
“I’m luckier than hell to have had a career doing what I’ve done,” Morris tells Pollstar. “So shame on me if I don’t give back to the community, right?”
The online concert, announced at a press conference with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and artist Nathaniel Rateliff, is produced by AEG Presents and expected to raise at least $1 million with livestream tickets priced at $10. The stream will be available for viewing for 24 hours.
All proceeds, including service fees, will go directly to The Community Foundation of Boulder County to benefit victims of the Dec. 30 fire. The pre-recorded concert will heavily feature Colorado-based artists including Rateliff.
Morris says the wheels were put in motion for the benefit almost immediately after the fire, when artist and friend Michael Franti emailed him from his home in Bali.
“He asked me, ‘So when are you doing the benefit?’” Morris says, laughing.
Morris was still confirming performers when Pollstar spoke with him the week prior to the concert.
“I’ve never done an online show,” Morris said. “But we’ve sold 6,000 tickets, six days out. I’d be having a nervous breakdown if it was a live show, but the tech guys say that’s really good.
We’ve raised almost $400,000 in sponsorship and ticket sales and the goal is $1 million to give to the victims of the Marshall Fire.”
The Marshall Fire erupted early Dec. 30 and, in just hours, burned more than 6,000 acres of grassland and neighborhoods, destroying nearly 1,110 homes and businesses. Another 200 were damaged as the fire raced through the towns of Superior, Louisville and unincorporated Boulder County.
“We’ve all seen firsthand how the worst of tragedies can bring out the very best in our fellow Coloradans. It’s really just a big part of who we are, and the way music is healing for so many of us,” Polis said. “And while this concert will not heal the wounds that this fire has caused, it’ll go a long way towards helping the Coloradans who were directly impacted as they begin to rebuild their lives and rebuild our communities.”
Morris has special thanks to those behind the scenes helping make The Marshall Fire Benefit Concert a smashing success, including the team at AEG Presents, including Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest co-president and senior talent buyer Don Strasburg; his assistant Margaret Esse; and in particular Kellie Donahoe, AEG Presents Rocky Mountains director of marketing.
But Morris reserves his highest praise for the artists participating in the benefit.
“God bless the music community, because almost everybody said, ‘Of course we’ll do it,’ especially since they could do it in their homes,” Morris says. “There is nobody better than our music community, and I’m so blessed to have been part of it all these years.”