Garth Brooks’ Legendary Concert Promoter Ben Farrell Dies at 76

by Chris Haney
(Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for IEBA)

According to a recent press release, iconic concert promoter Ben Farrell, who worked with legendary musicians like Garth Brooks, died on August 10. Farrell passed away “peacefully” while at home “surrounded by his family and so much love,” the release stated.

Ben Kerby Farrell was born on July 17, 1946 in Jackson, Tennessee. His father, Kerby Farrell, was a professional baseball player and manager, and his son would follow in his footsteps. Ben earned a baseball scholarship to attend David Lipscomb University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1966, the Philadelphia Phillies drafted Ben before the U.S. Army drafted him in 1968 where he served two years by training troops for Vietnam.

In 1970, the future concert promoter for the likes of Garth Brooks and many more got his start in the music business. Farrell first worked for Varnell Enterprises where he assisted Lon Varnell with his promotions. While there, he promoted and worked on-site supervision for artists that included Elvis Presley, Elton John, and Lawrence Welk.

Farrell would go on to become the president of Varnell Enterprises as he spent his entire 52-year career with the company. In 1989, the promoter began to work with an up-and-coming country music artist named Garth Brooks. They’d work together for more than 30 years as Brooks became one of the hugest live acts in the history of the music business.

“I love Ben Farrell,” Garth Brooks said of his longtime promoter. “And like Chris LeDoux, Ben Farrell will continue to be the kind of man I want to be. Honest, fair, and hard working. I am lucky to have known him.”

Ben Farrell Worked With Garth Brooks and Many More Iconic Artists

While Garth Brooks is one of the most famous artists Ben Farrell promoted for decades, he worked with many more legendary artists. He worked with numerous iconic country artists including Merle Haggard, Ricky Skaggs, George Strait, and Charley Pride. He also worked with modern country artists like Alan JacksonToby KeithKenny ChesneyBrad PaisleyLuke BryanMiranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley, and Jason Aldean. Outside of country music, Farrell worked with popular artists including Neil Diamond, the Carpenters, and the Osmonds.

Additionally, Farrell would become a constant throughout his career on numerous “Promoter of the Year” lists. He appeared in several industry trade magazines, and in 2016, the IEBA Hall of Fame inducted both Ben Farrell and Garth Brooks into their institution.

Farrell was married to his wife, Autumn, in 2001 as they welcomed a daughter, Ella Grace, in 2003. His wife and daughter remembered him as “the most brilliant, driven, hard-working, honest, loyal, dedicated, humble, sincere, funny, loving, thoughtful and unique man ever known.”

Ben Farrell’s life will be celebrated on August 24th at Nashville‘s Woodmont Christian Church. A visitation for family and friends will take place the day before on August 23rd from 4-6 p.m.