Country music industry veteran and concert promoter Rob Potts has died in a motorcycle crash in Tasmania’s northwest.
Mr Potts was riding in a group of four when his red Honda hit a patch of gravel on a sharp corner 31km west of Tullah on Friday.
The 65-year-old, from the Sydney suburb of Mortlake, was in Tasmania on holiday with his wife. She was not involved in the crash.
In a career spanning more than 30 years, Mr Potts was a booking agent to Lee Kernaghan, Tommy Emmanuel, James Blundell and Keith Urban.
He is the only Australian to have sat on the Country Music Association (CMA) Board in Nashville, where he spent many years as an artist manager, festival director and concert promoter.
This year, the CMA awarded him the Jo Walker Meador International Award, recognising his work advocating and supporting country music’s development outside the US.
Chugg Entertainment and CMC Rocks hailed him a pioneer who opened the door for the biggest international country music artists in Australia.
“He brought country music artists to Australia to sell out major arena tours, when most of the local industry hadn’t heard their names and some of the artists themselves couldn’t have pointed out Australia on a map,” they said in a statement on Saturday.
As concert promoter with Chugg Entertainment, Mr Potts toured some of the biggest artists in the genre and over 11 years, helped build CMC Rocks, Australia’s Biggest International Country & Roots Festival.
Long-time business partner Michael Chugg said the music industry had lost a pioneer.
“Rob was at the top of his game and all his dreams were coming true,” he said.
“He was without question, the most passionate supporter of country music in Australia.”
CMC Rocks QLD CEO Matthew Lazarus-Hall said Mr Potts’ passion and determination was never-ending.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to have worked with Rob in delivering his dream of a sell-out country music festival in Australia,” he said.