It’s a classic conundrum for a music fan: how do I get people out to see the music I love? In the web 2.5 era–an era defined by social media and smart phones–it’s pretty easy: throw up a Facebook invite and start a twitter account. But back around 1999 and 2000 it was a whole hell of a lot more difficult. And the low turnout to shows at Last Concert Cafe pushed a couple of the least likely guys into the cutthroat world of music promotion. In 2000 physician Alan Friedman, then 43, and law school dean Gary Hartman, then 52, got together to promote a show by the David Nelson Band. The show went off without a hitch so Friedman and Hartman decided to keep promoting and booking shows. Since both of them were tapers–for people who came of age after the turn of the milleninum, before everyone had video cameras on their phones tapers were people who brought mics and tape decks to shows to record and share them–Friedman and Hartman opted to name their fledgling venture Taper Productions. They quickly decided to change the name to an animal based pun and called the company Tapir productions. And the rest, as they say, is history. Except it’s not.
Over a decade after promoting his first show Hartman, now 63, was still involved in organizing and booking shows. He and many of the others in the Last Concert crew had been working hard to put on a street dance on April 14. Called the Spring Fandango the event features about 10 bands, puppets, chalk artists and a celebrity fashion auction. The organizers behind the four hour plus event had secured permits from the city for a temporary stage on Nance St. printed up flyers and were all set to start running sound checks. And everyone knew that they had Hartman to thank for the event. As Last Concert regular Randy Woodard put it in an e-mail “this show was Gary’s baby he hand picked the bands for this event he put a lot of time and thought in making it a well rounded event for all ages.”
Unfortunately Hartman won’t be around to see the fruits of his labors. On March 31 he was struck down by an aneurysm. Woodard explained that Spring Fandango will still go on as planned, only now the tone might be a little more sombre. For more information about the Spring Fandango click here