Why I am Not a Fan of Willie Nelson


For a few years (2005-2008), I worked as a concert promoter in New England. While it was difficult to compete against Clear Channel, because they basically owned the market, my partner and I were able to book artists in lesser known venues in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire.

One such show was a concert that we booked Willie Nelson for at the University of New Hampshire Whittemore Center. Due to Willie’s high price tag, we had pre-negotiated to be able to approach sponsors for the show. After weeks of work, I was able to book a local bank to sponsor the show in return for signage, cooperative marketing and a meet and greet with Willie for their key customers before the concert.

About 15 minutes before the meet and greet was about to start, as I was welcoming some of the people to room for the event, Willie’s road manager called me to tell me that Willie was under the weather and wouldn’t be able to do the meet and greet. I immediately claimed foul and said that Willie’s contract required the event. His manager got angry and asked me “If they should just pack up and forget the show altogether?” I knew this wasn’t going to end well, so I swallowed my pride and dropped it with him.

After delivering the bad news to the bank’s customers and then offering them a box to watch the show from, I found out that Willie was having his own fan club event in his trailer at the same time. I guess he suddenly felt well enough for that.

Not only did I have a disappointed sponsor, but I had to refund $35,000 to them. And that is why I am not a fan of Willie Nelson.

I still can’t listen to his music especially when I paint!