Mervyn Conn

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It would be hard to come up with a more satirical name for a promoter than UK-born Mervyn Conn: ‘I don’t think it matters, ’ he says, ‘As long as the show is right and the public want to see it, the name…
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It would be hard to come up with a more satirical name for a promoter than UK-born Mervyn Conn: ‘I don’t think it matters, ’ he says, ‘As long as the show is right and the public want to see it, the name of the promoter means nothing at all.’ He learnt his trade by working for Joe Collins, the father of actress Joan and writer Jackie Collins. After promoting three short UK tours by Johnny Cash in the mid-60s, he realized the potential of country music. In 1969 he started the International Festival of Country Music at the Empire Pool, Wembley, which became an annual event and established UK careers for Slim Whitman, George Hamilton IV, Tammy Wynette and Charley Pride. Both Don Williams and Boxcar Willie were stars in the UK before they had broken through at home. In the late 80s, the Festival folded through lack of sponsorship and an unfashionable image as Conn did not feel comfortable in switching to New Country performers. Found guilty of a sexual misdemeanour, Conn stopped promoting concerts for a while. In the mid-90s he promoted tours by George Hamilton IV and a West End musical about Patsy Cline.