Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Walters was 'big champion' for Winnipeg

Cancer claims promoter who brought Junos, Grey Cup to city

  • Print

Whether he was working with rock stars, cultural icons or sports personalities, Kevin Walters never seemed out of place.

Who is going to fill that place is the question being asked around town as the veteran Winnipeg promoter died Monday after a nearly year-long battle with stomach cancer.

The 54-year-old was responsible for some of the biggest events on the Canadian calendar coming to Winnipeg, including the Grey Cup in 2006 and the Juno Awards in 2005 and 2014, as well as countless local festivals and concerts.

If you wanted advice on any particular element of the entertainment industry, Walters was happy to give you a hand. After all, he had done pretty much everything. During his 30-year career, he had been a DJ, managed Night Moves nightclub, booked acts for the Hungry I Agency, started his own artist management and production agency -- Twin Productions -- and was the merchandising manager for the Barenaked Ladies.

He also had a long career managing sound-recording programs at Manitoba Film & Music.

Kevin Donnelly, senior vice-president of venues and entertainment for the MTS Centre, who worked with Walters during the past 25 years, said his friend took a turn for the worse about a week ago, which surprised many people because he had been showing steady signs of progress with his treatment.

"He was Winnipeg's most well-regarded and visible person in the national (entertainment) industry. People from Victoria to Newfoundland knew about his abilities and that he was a real big champion for Winnipeg. When he said, 'hey, this event would be great, I can make this work in Winnipeg,' that was accepted as fact," he said. "He had a skill, a knack and a way about him that he was able to do what agents, promoters and artists needed and make them feel good about the process."

Ian Low, Vancouver-based executive vice-president of talent for Canada for Live Nation, which brought Paul McCartney to Winnipeg last summer, described Walters as a "great, easygoing guy."

"He was a friend first and a guy that you loved hanging out with and loved doing business with. He had a great heart and I can't think of many people who cared more about the projects that he worked on than him," he said.

Donnelly said Walters was always involved in Winnipeg events, whether it was the Junos, football, Homecoming 2010 or cultural events.

"It might strike somebody as odd, but for him it was fully appropriate. Who else would you want handling it? Besides, he was a great guy," he said.

Donnelly recalled many times having a lineup of people before one of his shows and, even though Walters was coming to sit in the audience, he'd help marshall people in line without being asked.

"I have 1,000 recollections of him pitching in at my events and he never hit my payroll. I probably owe him some money. A lot of money," he said.

Four years ago, Walters contacted the people at Guinness World Records about what he was convinced would be the largest-ever social during Homecoming 2010, an initiative that brought thousands of expatriates home to celebrate all things Manitoba.

About 35,000 people attended socials in 63 communities throughout the province on May 15, 2010.

He was told Guinness had no such category. No matter, said the executive director.

"We are claiming the title without fear of contradiction. I think we can safely say this (was) the largest social ever held," he said.

Walters is survived by his wife, Ginette Lavack Walters, executive director of the Festival du Voyageur.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 24, 2014 A2

History

Updated on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 10:12 AM CDT: Corrects reference to Manitoba Film & Music

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

City Beautiful trailer: How architecture shaped Winnipeg's DNA

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will you get out and vote for a new mayor and council?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google