By Katherine Matuszak photos by Manny Espinoza
Concert promoter Joe Fletcher has always seen live music as a great adventure. He grew up in New York as the seventh of nine children in the late l’70s, and had his eye on the prize from the beginning. As one of the younger kids, he had a lot of freedom, and what he wanted more than anything was to be around music. At 13, he began working at a music club, and immediately, began working with artists like Twisted Sister and Pat Benatar. Once he had a taste for the scene, he never turned back.
Fletcher went to Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. There, he promoted a few concerts and started to learn the details of putting together the right acts with the required sound, lights, staging, and marketing to make the shows successful.
He got into artist management when he and a few friends left Massachusetts to chase the dream in LA. He soon realized his greatest strength was in the business side of music, and began booking gigs for friends. He helped one artist, a jazz singer, get his first deal at Atlantic Records.
In the early nineties, he moved to New Hampshire as he’d grown tired of the grind of New York and LA. “Living in New Hampshire felt like being on vacation all the time,” he says. He quickly noticed how few live concerts were available in his area, most requiring a two-hour drive or more. Joe began promoting small shows near the local University of New Hampshire campus, and the industry began to take note and offer him opportunities to promote better-known artists. His career started to take off.
“I started with about one dollar in my pocket in 1991. That’s all I had,” he said. With no seed money to speak of, he simply used the money made from one concert to help fund the next one. By 1996, Joe averaged 100 live events per year, and had moved from clubs to larger theaters and eventually arenas.
Fast forward twenty years, and Joe is the CEO of Crescent Bay Entertainment based in Carmel. He has produced over a thousand concerts on four continents, boasting an incredible list of artists including Bob Dylan, Eminem, Keith Urban, Jackson Browne, and Beyoncé.
Today, along with the time he spends working on his business, he uses concerts as a way to benefit causes he’s passionate about. In March 2012, he was appointed to the Entertainment Advisory Council for President Obama, getting artists engaged in events where the President speaks. In July 2016, he produced six events at the Democratic National Convention with concerts featuring Los Lobos, Kesha, Snoop Dogg, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and American Authors.
Joe currently acts as Development Director for Beacon House, the oldest rehab facility in Northern California. Along with their traditional fundraisers, he also decided to book concerts and turn them into benefits, with all proceeds going to benefit Beacon House. “It’s incredible work, helping people who are struggling with addictions . . . raising money for them is important,” he says. Beacon House currently seeks to expand, ultimately having two separate dormitories for male and female patients and to offer more scholarships to those who can’t afford treatment.
Joe’s life is hard to boil down to a short article, as he’s not only dabbled in many areas, but pursued them with passion and made a difference. Joe’s thought to live by: “Listen to your inner voice, be true to yourself, don’t compromise or settle for just okay, when it can be great.”