Beaver Productions founder Don Fox, who made New Orleans a concert destination with his opening of the now-iconic Warehouse concert venue, has retired after 53 years at the helm.
Fox confirmed his retirement to Pollstar, saying, “I”m just going to take some time to relax and enjoy my life. Thanks to everyone who supported us over the years.”
First reported by the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Fox’s retirement ends a long, colorful and sometimes fraught presence in the Big Easy, from opening the Warehouse in 1970 to promoting thousands of shows, relocating his office – and life – to Memphis when Hurricane Katrina, and most recently promoting tours for Michael Bublé, whose career Fox has diligently supported since the Canadian vocalist’s earliest days.
Fox’s final show was jazz pianist Diana Krall at New Orleans’ Saenger Theater Sept. 23.
According to the Times-Picayune, Fox recently informed his Beaver employees that the company will shut down by year-end.
Most recently, in addition to promoting Bublé ’s 27-city tour, Fox promoted shows for Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Eric Clapton, and Paul McCartney in 2022.
A perennial Pollstar Awards fixture, Fox was nominated 17 times for the Bill Graham Promoter of the Year award and three times for Independent Promoter of the Year between 1989 and 2020.
Fox may be best known, however, for introducing rock concerts to New Orleans in a big way with the opening of the Warehouse, which hosted The Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac and the Flock for its Jan. 30, 1970 opening, according to NOLA.com.
Major shows with The Who, Pink Floyd, Elton John, The Allman Brothers, Rod, Stewart, Bob Marley, ZZ Top, Eagles, KISS, Peter Frampton, the Police, The Cars and more followed, according to the paper. The Warehouse was also the scene of The Doors’ final performance with Jim Morrison Dec. 12, 1970.
Beaver Productions, over the years, also produced shows at New Orleans’ Municipal Auditorium, UNO Lakefront Arena and the Smoothie King Center; Biloxi’s Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Baton Rouge’s Maravice Assembly Center.
Fox expanded into a Memphis office run by Barry Leff, which became his base of operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which flooded the city and left thousands, including virtually all of Fox’s staff, displaced.
Beaver Productions’ office near Lake Ponchartrain was flooded as well, but the company was able to continue operations from Memphis as well as a Houston office. Displaying a wry humor as well as a “show must go on” ethos, Fox told Pollstar at the time that “We’re going to leave it to Beaver to keep doing concerts until we’re able to get back into the city.”