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Australian country promoter Rob Potts passes away

Rob Potts, the veteran Australian country music promoter, agent and artist manager, has died aged 65.

Potts (pictured) – who as CEO of Entertainment Edge brought some of the biggest stars in country music, including Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Dixie Chicks and a young Taylor Swift, down under, and founded Australia’s biggest country music festival, CMC Rocks – lost his life in a motorcycle accident on Friday 27 October.

“Chugg Entertainment and CMC Rocks are devastated to announce the sudden passing of Rob Potts, who died tragically in a motorcycle accident on the west coast of Tasmania on Friday afternoon,” Chugg Entertainment, which co-promotes CMC Rocks, says in a statement.

“Rob Potts was a pioneer of the country music industry and single-handedly opened the door for the biggest international country music artists to find a welcoming home in Australia.”

Australian country guitarist Tommy Emmanuel comments: “I am sad to hear about the passing of Rob Potts. He has been a friend to me for a long time and such a strong supporter of so many artists in our business. I’ll miss him, I’ll miss our talks, our fun together, but most of all I’ll miss his love. He was a person of strong character, never judged harshly, always steady and full of enthusiasm for the future. When I’d come off stage in a sweat, he’d say, ‘You hosed ’em good, mate!’

“Well, Rob, you hosed us good! Our last conversation was on my phone, backstage at the Hall of Fame, Nashville, where I was excited to tell him that Alan Jackson, who he promoted in Oz, was being inducted into the Hall of Fame, and Alison Krauss and I were about to perform one of his songs. He thanked me for calling and I told him I wanted him to feel included in this special occasion. He told me he loved me and I replied the same.

“Rob single-handedly opened the door for the biggest international country music artists to find a welcoming home in Australia”

“Rob, your friends and family will be gathering together to say farewell. I send my love out to you all, and wish there was a way to say I love you now. RIP.”

“For a decade, Rob was a passionate and hard-working member of the CMAA board and executive,” says Dobe Newton of the Country Music Association of Australia (CMAA). “The organisation and, by extension, the broader Australian country music community, had the benefit of his intimate knowledge of industry operations, his extensive local and international networks and his constant advocacy for a global perspective.

“Among his many contributions, he was a leading advocate for ground-breaking market research which helped raise the profile of local country music and brought it to the attention of the world’s major market.

“Even those just entering our industry owe Rob a debt of gratitude, as he was an absolute believer in the need to increase the artistic and business skills of the next generation of industry leaders. He was one of the most vocal supporters of the CMAA’s world-first college and Camerata (as they were first known) and the CMAA Academy of Country Music (both junior and senior) which, next year, celebrate a unique 20th anniversary.

“This behind-the-scenes advocacy often goes unnoticed, but remains as a wonderful legacy. I know we speak for fans of country music everywhere, when we say thanks for your vision, commitment and friendship.

“You’ll be sorely missed. Rest in peace.”


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