Iconic Hawaii promoter Tom Moffatt died Monday night at the age of 85, Pacific Business News reported today. A former radio DJ, he formed A Tom Moffatt Production in 1972, and began bringing big named stars to Hawaii and Maui concerts, including Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson and Jimi Hendrix. Maui Arts & Cultural Center President and CEO Art Vento said we all owe Moffatt tremendously.
“Tom has meant so much to the entire State of Hawaii, Maui Arts & Cultural Center and me personally,” said Vento in an email. “He brought so much joy through music and entertainment, to so many people. The concert and entertainment business can be very unforgiving, but Tom managed to do business as a gentleman and always with ALOHA! We owe a debt of gratitude to him for helping us to bring the stars to Maui, but we all know that it was Uncle Tom that was the true shining star.”
Vento’s hardly alone in those thoughts.
“I’m very sorry to hear about the passing of Uncle Tom Moffatt,” said former Maui/current Oahu musician Erin Smith. “He is a legend, and also a sweet man who gave me, and many people, several opportunities to shine. He put me onstage with Train, Ozomatli, Boyz II Men and more. He would call sometimes when something came up that he thought I would be good for. He will be truly missed.”
Here’s a brief excerpt from the Hawaii News Now’s obituary on Moffatt:
Among Moffatt’s proudest accomplishments: Producing the award-winning recording of Keola and Kapono Beamer’s “Honolulu City Lights.” It was Moffatt’s first album for his Paradise Records, and was released in 1978 to critical acclaim.
The album, whose title song has become ubiquitous in the islands–especially around the holidays–garnered six Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, including song and album of the year.
Moffatt was beloved by many in Hawaii, including those of us at MauiTime.
“Tom Moffatt had a great love for music, love for Hawaii,” said MauiTime Publisher Tommy Russo. “He was a statesman. He was a celebrity in his own right. He excelled at one of the toughest things to do in Hawaii. He set the bar as to how promoters were to conduct themselves in shows. Tom Moffatt brought Bob Marley to Maui in 1979. And he believed in MauiTime when we first started, and we’ll always appreciate that. He came to visit us, and he lit the room up when he was here.”
Photo of Erin Smith and Tom Moffatt courtesy Erin Smith