(CelebrityAccess) — Larry Wilson, a veteran facilities manager and former Vice President of SMG, who worked with artists such as the Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, Elton John, and many more, died on Sunday.
A friend of Wilson’s told CelebrityAccess that he died from complications of liver disease after a short illness.
A native of Memphis, Wilson graduated from the University of Memphis and landed his first job in the industry as an intern at the Pyramid Arena.
In 1994, he joined SMG Worldwide and the Palm Springs Convention Center, where as Event Services Manager, he was recognized with the “Successful Meeting/Convention Services Manager of the Year” award from the Association for Convention Operations Management.
He next relocated to Nashville where he was named Director of Event Services and Convention Sales at the Gaylord Center, and oversaw events such as concerts by Garth Brooks, WWE Wrestling, and the Dove Awards.
Other career moves for Wilson included tenures as Assistant General Manager at the Century Tel Center in Bossier City (1999-2001); General Manager of the Richmond Coliseum (2001-2005), where he produced sold out events with Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, the Eagles, and Cher; and General Manager of John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In 2010, SMG Worldwide tapped Wilson to take on oversight of city-owned facilities in Jacksonville, including Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, the Moran Theater, and the Times-Union Center.
Three years later, SMG Worldwide named Wilson a Regional Vice President and he oversaw facilities across the Southern U.S., including EverBank Field, Veterans Memorial Arena, Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center, Ritz Theatre and Museum, Osceola Heritage Park, Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center, Pensacola Bay Center, Pensacola Saenger Theatre, Pensacola Community Maritime Park, McLane Stadium, Cabarrus Arena and Events Center, Canton Memorial Civic Center, BB&T Arena at Northern Kentucky University, John Paul Jones Arena, and the Pavilion Amphitheater at the Center of Tallahassee.
Notably, Wilson worked with Live Nation and the Dave Matthews Band to help produce A Concert for Charlottesville, raising money for victims killed and injured in an attack on the University of Virginia campus. The concert featured superstars the Dave Matthews Band, Justin Timberlake, ColdPlay, Chris Stapleton, Stevie Wonder, and Ariana Grande, among others.
Following a 3-year stint as Vice President of Operations for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Wilson launched his own consultancy, Ignite Entertainment in 2021, shortly before he became ill.
Wilson was survived by his sons, Jack and Trace, as well as his parents, a brother, and numerous lifelong friends.
“Larry’s vision was to create once-in-a-lifetime events for thousands of families to be able to experience…events that you’d remember the rest of your life. Larry provided thousands of events from coast to coast (from Palm Springs to Charlottesville, New Orleans, Jacksonville, and all other stops along the way.) Larry lived by the motto “Be Kind” and he spread love and cheer everywhere he went. He will be missed,” said Todd Hutchison, a longtime friend of Wilson.
There will be a “Celebration of Life” for Wilson on Saturday, December 4th in Jacksonville, Florida at the TIAA Bank Field Terrace Suites.