CSU Music Business Program director organizing massive benefit concert for Marshall Fire relief

After decades as a central figure in Colorado’s music industry, there are few things that Chuck Morris has not done. So, it’s notable that the Marshall Fire benefit concert will actually be a first.  

“I’ve never done an online show before, in all these years,” Morris said from his office in the Colorado State University College of Business. “I’m learning a lot about this new world.”  

The virtual concert is slated for 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 28. Tickets are a minimum donation of $10, and Morris expects the event to encompass at least two hours of music, with all proceeds supporting the Community Foundation of Boulder’s efforts to assist in the recovery from the most destructive fire in Colorado history. 

If the benefit were in person, there’s no doubt that it could easily sell out a stadium, with a lineup that includes national heavy hitters like Dave Matthews, Lyle Lovett, Phish’s Trey Anastasio, Brittany Howard from the Alabama Shakes, The Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show and Michael Franti, who reached out to Morris directly.  

Marshall Fire Benefit Concert poster

A poster with the lineup for the Marshall Fire Benefit Concert courtesy AEG Presents Rocky Mountains. 

“The day after the fire, Michael Franti sent me an email and said, ‘Chuck, when are you doing a benefit?’” Morris said. “I was already thinking about it, but that really got the wheels turning.”  

Colorado’s own Nathaniel Rateliff as well as Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic are also slated to perform, and Morris said that more acts are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.  

Morris is now the director of CSU Music Business in the College of Business. He said the benefit concert’s lineup is the result of the relationships that he built during his 48 years as a music manager and concert promoter that culminated in his role as CEO of AEG Rocky Mountains.  

“Well to tell you the truth, most of the artists are really good friends of mine,” Morris said. 

Each artist has been asked to prerecord songs for performances that will only be available during the live event on Feb. 28. It will be streamed via the direct-to-fan experiential platform Veeps. Tickets are available at: marshallfirebenefit.veeps.com 

The Marshall Fire broke out on Dec. 30 and quickly spread to the Boulder County communities of Superior, Louisville and Broomfield, destroying more than 1,000 homes, and damaging dozens of other residences and businesses. Two people died in the blaze.  

“Music itself can be healing, and the funds raised by this event will go a long way toward helping Coloradans impacted by the Marshall Fire to rebuild their lives and communities,” said Gov. Jared Polis said during an event announcing the benefit concert.  

Future lessons for students  

Chuck Morris shows off his tattoo
Veteran music promotor Chuck Morris shows off his tattoo in his Introduction to Music Business class at Colorado State University, Nov. 5, 2020.

Right now, Morris’ focus is on making sure the Marshall Fire benefit goes off without a hitch. Later, the future leaders of Colorado’s music industry will benefit from the lessons about what it takes to put on such a large-scale virtual event. 

“We’re going to be talking about this in some of our classes, absolutely,” Morris said. “I’m learning a lot, because again: I’ve never done an online show in all these years.”  

Right now, there are three courses available in the Music Business Program: BUS 380A2 – Introduction to the Music Business; BUS 380A3 – Creating Value in the Music Industry; and BUS380A4 – Principles of Music Marketing. 

After being rebranded as BUS 250 Music Business: Shifting the Social Landscape, the introductory course has recently received All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC) status, a  big step for the 18-month-old Music Business Program that should offer a big increase in enrollment, which currently stands at about 160 students across all three courses.  

The program might be new, but Morris has already used his connections to bring in guest speakers like Franti, EDM artist GRiZ and Phish founding member Mike Gordon. 

The Music Business program aims to expand with more courses. Currently, students can earn certificates in Music Business, and plans are underway for a minor and other degree programs.  

About CSU’s College of Business

Business for a Better World
The College of Business at Colorado State University is an AACSB-accredited business school focused on using business to create a better world.

The College provides programs and career support services to more than 2,500 undergraduate and 1,300 graduate students in top-ranked on-campus and online programs. College faculty impart students with the values, knowledge, and skills to navigate rapidly evolving markets and address global challenges with sustainable business models and practices. Our students are known for their creativity and resilience—resulting in a job offer and placement rate of over 90% within 90 days of graduation and readiness to make a difference locally, nationally, and globally.

The College’s highly ranked programs include its Online MBA degree that is among the 10 largest in the nation and its Impact MBA program recently recognized by Corporate Knights as a top 20 worldwide “Better World MBA” program.