Women of Live Hall Of Fame: Barbara Hubbard

Executive Director | American Collegiate Talent Showcase (ACTS)

“You are an amazing example; your leadership, your heart and your love exemplifies what faith and honor are.” – John Huie | CAA Nashville

Honors Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2015 & Pollstar Cover In 2018

MMC 4261 Hubbard

Barbara “Mother” Hubbard first dipped her toe into the concert business as program and student activities director at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in 1968. She guesses there were only five other women working in the concert industry at the time.

One was longtime friend Claire Rothman, the former general manager of the Forum in Inglewood, California, who was instrumental in bringing the NBA’s Lakers to the building and is credited by Hubbard as an early mentor.

Now at age 96, Hubbard continues to teach a class in venue management at NMSU, and remains executive director of American Collegiate Talent Showcase, or ACTS, providing opportunities for budding artists including comedian Jeff Denham and blues singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster. Through both programs, she’s been able to provide hundreds, if not thousands, of students with jobs, opportunities, and hands-on experience across the industry, from taking tickets to doing settlements to contracts and far beyond.

“And the reason I did is because the students needed a paycheck!” she says. “That was more than what they were getting [from regular student jobs]!” But more than a paycheck, she also does it out of love and a work ethic she credits her parents with instilling in her as a young girl in Benton, Arkansas.

It was noted by CAA Nashville’s John Huie, when he introduced Hubbard to a packed room at Pollstar Live! in 2016 her as Pollstar’s first Lifetime Achievement honoree.

“You are an amazing example; your leadership, your heart and your love exemplifies what faith and honor are,” Huie said.

Hubbard’s accolades include IEBA’s Career, President’s and Harry A. Peebles awards; Venues Today (now VenuesNow)’s first Woman of Influence award; Event Pro’s Living Legend; and numerous citations including Teacher of the Year from NMSU.

It’s been said there’s hardly a concert executive active today who hasn’t been at least influenced by Hubbard. Her first concerts were Ike and Tina Turner Revue, and her first in-house production was with Charley Pride. She also brought Bob Hope to the Pan Am Center in 1973. Hubbard lost money on a show with a young Keith Urban, then talked him into teaching a class for her to make up for it. She’s done 17 shows with country superstar George Strait and hopes to cajole him into performing for her 97th birthday – as a fundraiser, of course. She dreams of building a 15,000-seat NMSU amphitheater capable of staging everything from concerts to rodeos.

“In the [Pan Am Center] right now, every corner is filled – lighting, staging, everything – and it drops to about 10,000 (capacity),” Hubbard says. “The top tier artists play to 15,000, and that’s what we’re fighting right now. We don’t have 15,000 seats. So that’s why I’m going out and trying to raise $25 million to $35 million; whatever it might be. But I don’t give up. I’m going to build this thing – you’ll see.”