Newport Beach Concert Promoter Ken Phebus Dies at 64

Booking such acts as Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ken Phebus spent his life connecting fans and musicians.

The Newport Beach native who booked concerts for 20 years died Saturday of a heart attack, according to several news reports.

Ken Phebus was 64 and passed away in Mission Viejo. By his own count, talent scout Phebus booked over 7,000 shows, mostly in Southern California. More shows, he claimed, than anyone else in the business.

The musicians he worked with included a who's who of musical talent, from Al Green and Tina Turner to Ray Charles and Johnny Cash.

And while many remember him as the booking agent for The Galaxy in Santa Ana and The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, he is perhaps best remembered in Mission Viejo for his lake concert bookings.

He brought a variety of musicians to the lake, including Ray Manzarek of the Doors, Brian Setzer, Kenny Loggins, the B-52s, Pat Benetar, Blue Oyster Cult, the Bangels, Stephen Stills, Tom Jones and Judy Collins.

On his blog, Phebus recalls his first ever concert. It was near his hometown of Newport Beach, and the band was the Lovin' Spoonful. He says he saw them from the front row of the Golden Bear in 1966 when their single "Summer in the City" was a number-one hit.

"From that day forward, concerts have been a big deal for me," he said.

According to his website, Phebus graduated from Newport Harbor High School and later USC. Before his death he was living in Trabuco Canyon.


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