Events chief dies suddenly

BY FELICITY ROSS
Last updated 05:00 15/03/2010
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Music man: Garry Sharpe-Young at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands.

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Sharpe-Young lived for music

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The man who brought Fleetwood Mac to Taranaki died suddenly at his home on Friday.

Garry Sharpe-Young, 45, events business development manager at the New Plymouth District Council died after suffering an aneurism.

The Taranaki Daily News understands council staff became concerned when they couldn't find Mr Sharpe-Young for a meeting and went to his home where they found him dead. The council later released a statement saying he died from an aneurism, or a burst artery.

His death cast a pall over the weekend for his council colleagues, many of whom were involved in organising Womad.

Mr Sharpe-Young is credited with bringing in top line international acts and revolutionising Taranaki as a leading events centre in New Zealand.

He joined the district council in September 2008 after two years at Venture Taranaki.

In both organisations he secured major events for the district including TSB Bowl performances by Sir Elton John, Jack Johnson, Fleetwood Mac, and Cliff Richard and the Shadows, as well as TSB Stadium concerts by Motorhead, the Beach Boys and Westlife.

Mr Sharpe-Young was the founder of G-Taranaki, the guitar festival launched in July 2008. The festival was to take place again in August 11-15 this year with the rumoured headline act of Guns 'n Roses guitarist Slash.

"G-Taranaki was Garry's baby," Venture Taranaki chief executive Stuart Trundle said.

"He started it from scratch and convinced some of the world's best guitarists to travel to Taranaki and take part.

Mr Sharpe-Young was in the middle of securing several big acts for the region for next summer.

Council chief executive Barbara McKerrow said Mr Sharpe-Young was a valued colleague and a talented individual with a passion for his work.

"This is a loss for the community and we will miss him terribly," she said.

"Our challenge now will be to build on the legacy of Garry's achievements. We are fortunate to have a world-class venues and events team able to carry on his work." She said everyone at the council was deeply shocked and saddened by his death.

Mr Sharpe-Young leaves his wife Grace-Anne and children Kerr, Krystan-Grace and Kjaric-Grace.

"Garry absolutely loved New Zealand and Taranaki, and worked tirelessly to raise the profile of our region nationally and internationally," Mayor Peter Tennent said.

"He achieved astounding success in attracting some of the world's best known performers to our little corner of the world. This place is the better for his contribution."

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A service to celebrate Mr Sharpe-Young's life will be held at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands tomorrow at 2pm.

SHARPE-YOUNG LIVED FOR MUSIC

Garry Sharpe-Young was a man who knew his music.

He not only brought several great acts to Taranaki in his role as the events business development manager at the New Plymouth District Council, but he also penned nearly 20 books on heavy metal music and interviewed some of the best in the business.

Mr Sharpe-Young died suddenly at his home on Friday after suffering an aneurism.

The Englishman moved to Taranaki eight years ago with his wife and three children in search of somewhere safe, clean and green.

The 45-year-old got into showbiz by accident when he was about 14 doing artwork on album covers. Mr Sharpe-Young worked as a journalist for British, American and German rock magazines, wrote music reference books, biographies for Ozzy Osborne and Black Sabbath and set up the popular encyclopedic rock music website Rockdetector.

While working as a journalist, Mr Sharpe-Young interviewed many of the major bands around and would often travel overseas to interview artists such as Prince and Metallica.

When he first arrived in the region he wrote a music column for the Taranaki Daily News then moved on to Venture Taranaki and the New Plymouth District Council, securing major events for the region.

His biggest coup was Fleetwood Mac, who performed at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands in December to a sell-out crowd.

Mr Sharpe-Young was also the founder of G-Taranaki, the guitar festival launched in July 2008.

In a recent interview Mr Sharpe-Young told the Taranaki Daily News one of his biggest goals was putting Taranaki on the world stage as "the venue" for artists to play.

"I love working with the people here, love Taranaki, I'm absolutely dedicated to getting this venue on the map internationally and I love it."

- Taranaki Daily News

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