Local news sources and social media have been lit up since Sunday night with the news of the passing of a Colorado music legend. Barry Fey, considered by many to be the architect of the Colorado music scene, has passed away at the age of 73.
When Fey moved to Denver in 1967, the Colorado music scene was virtually nonexistent, but Barry Fey saw the potential of this area as a hotbed for music. As a concert promoter, he was responsible for bringing some of the world’s hottest rock acts of the time to the Mile High, and as such was literally a part of music history. He is credited with promoting the first Led Zeppelin concert in North America, and the final performance of The Jimi Hendrix Experience took place in Denver as part of Fey’s Denver Pop Festival in 1969. Fey’s “Summer of Stars” concert series (starting in 1976) and production of U2’s Under a Blood Red Sky (1983) helped to put Red Rocks Amphitheatre on the map, making it one of the most coveted venues in the world. He was named Promoter of the Year three years running by Billboard Magazine between 1978-1980. Fey is also credited with rescuing some of Denver’s most prominent music entities at the time who were in financial trouble, including the Denver Symphony and the Paramount Theater. After a 30-year career in music, he retired from concert promoting in 1997.
Barry Fey had been recovering from hip replacement surgery. According to 9News, Fey’s family have not yet released details surrounding his death, but have said it came as a shock. Since news broke yesterday, condolences and outpourings of both grief and gratitude began flooding Facebook and Twitter, most of all from music fans and musicians from the Denver music scene.
Fey was at times a polarizing figure, with a bigger-than-life personality that won him many friends and a few enemies; but it is widely accepted that there would not be a music scene in Denver if it were not for Barry Fey. He will be sorely missed.