Lollapalooza co-founder Ted Gardner has died, aged 74

Ted Gardner, a revered artist manager and co-founder of the iconic Lollapalooza festival, has died at age 74. 

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His passing was confirmed by The Brian Jonestown Massacre frontman Anton Newcombe, who Tweeted the news last Wednesday (December 29). No cause of death has been confirmed at the time of writing, though Newcombe noted that Gardner was “surrounded by his loving family” when he passed. 

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Gardner had managed The Brian Jonestown Massacre since 2004, alongside the likes of Tool, The Verve, Queens Of The Stone Age, Rival Schools and Colin Hay. The music industry mogul was described by Porno For Pyros bassist Martyn LeNoble as “a tough man with a good heart”, and was long revered for his ambitious, yet headstrong spirit.

Gardner’s started his storied career in music in 1977, when, in tandem with Mushroom Records co-founders Michael Gudinski and Ray Evans, he spearheaded operations at the Melbourne venue Bottom Line. Three years later, Gardner moved north and found a home at Sydney’s Nucleus Agency, working closely with acts like Matt Finish and Midnight Oil.

There, he helped launch the career of new-wave legends Men At Work, helping to promote their 1981 debut ‘Business As Usual’. A year after the group’s US breakthrough in ’82, Gardner himself trekked over to the States, signing on as Frank Zappa’s production manager in 1984. He’d soon become a staple of the American touring scene, managing stints for bands like Echo & The Bunnymen, Crowded House, New Order and Jane’s Addiction.

1989 saw Jane’s Addiction bring Gardner onboard as their full-time manager, and in 1991, he, band members Perry Farrell and Stephen Perkins, as well as booking agents Don Muller and Marc Geiger, kickstarted the bourgeoning Lollapalooza festival. 

Lollapalooza continues to be one of the world’s biggest and most anticipated music festivals, and though its primary event still reigns supreme at Grant Park, Chicago, the brand has since expanded to Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Sweden and France. 

Gardner returned to Australia in 2007, founding the Cross Section label and management agency, steering the ship at Sand Events, and managing acts like Rose Tattoo, Nathan Cavaleri and Cog drummer Lucius Borich.

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Take a look at some tributes to Gardner below: