The life and times of Bill Graham will be honored during a benefit taking place in the legendary concert promoter’s adopted hometown of San Francisco in January.
Scheduled for Graham’s famed Fillmore Auditorium and featuring Hot Tuna, David Bromberg and DJ Harry Duncan, the tribute is set for Jan. 7, one day before what would have been Graham’s 81st birthday.
Born Wolodia Grajonca in Berlin, Graham was among a group of children that left France after that country had fallen to the Nazis and changed his name after arriving in New York City. Graham eventually moved to San Francisco during the early 1960s.
Graham’s first taste of show biz was when he managed the San Francisco Mime Troupe in 1965. After promoting several of the group’s shows, Graham chose to dive into promotion full time, a decision that eventually led to promoting concerts featuring many of the biggest acts in music, including The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin.
But Graham wasn’t always content to sit in the wings during the concerts he promoted. His appearances as “Father Time” were much-anticipated moments during The Grateful Dead’s New Year’s Eve shows.
Killed in a helicopter crash in 1991, Graham died a few years before concert promotion companies began consolidating. His own company – Bill Graham Presents – was acquired by SFX Promotions in the late 1990s.
During his years as the country’s top concert promoter, Graham was also known for his charitable efforts and the celebration honoring his upcoming 81st birthday is no exception with all proceeds earmarked for the Bill Graham Foundation. The foundation is guided by a group that includes Graham’s sons, former long-term Bill Graham Presents employees and community leaders.
Tickets priced at $55 are available now. A VIP package that includes one special reserved seat, two premium drink tickets, complimentary parking and an autographed event poster is also available. Visit BillGrahamMemorialFoundation.org for more information.