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Jeremy & Jimmy Koplik

Featured Article

The Love You Make

Rock Icon - Jimmy Koplik

Article by Laurie A. Guzda

Photography by LAGuzda & Angela Strassheim

Originally published in Stamford City Lifestyle

You enter the venue, excitement and anticipation mounting. Among the din of animated chatter, you navigate the crowd to locate your seat. Expectations are mounting. Then, there’s a moment when the air changes. The lights go dark.  And out of nothing comes the sound of the first note… then another and suddenly the music surrounds you, fills the air, fills you. At this moment, you know, a memory is being born.

If you have ever attended a great concert – indoors or out, you understand the power of live music. And, hopefully, you purchased your ticket easily because you had seen a poster or ad somewhere. You were able to comfortably enjoy the fantastic performance in front of your eyes – the talent, sound, lights, video, special effects, food, drink, security, staff, and so much more – without a thought. You simply enjoyed the event. That magic doesn’t happen on its own.

There are many folks who produce concerts and events. A few are notable. But I doubt there’s anybody out there who loves doing it as much as Jimmy Koplik.

If you’ve ever organized a fundraiser, wedding or concert, you understand the details involved. How many people? 100? 500? 5000? Now, imagine… 600,000! Your artists are: The Allman Brothers, The Grateful Dead and The Band. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the producer of Watkins Glen Summer Jam, Jimmy Koplik. Historians claim that Watkins Glen was the largest gathering of people in the history of the United States.

The first thing you notice about the white-haired rock and roll legend (How many people can say Mick Jagger sang happy birthday at their 40th?) is the sparkle in his eyes. His boyish charm lights up when talking about music. His favorite band – The Grateful Dead.

He worked on Bobby Kennedy’s Presidential campaign with plans for a life in politics. That all changed. So much was changing. It was 1968.  It was about that time when best friend Jerry Lemler suggested they produce a concert. They did. And Jimmy found his calling.

Years later, Jimmy and Shelly Finkle produced some of the biggest rock and roll concerts including 1973’s Summer Jam at Watkins Glen. The two partnered for twenty-five years. Finkle turned toward boxing while Koplik moved toward Live Nation through Cross Country Concerts, Metropolitan, SFX, and Clear Channel Entertainment. Jimmy ran Live Nation for New York City and Philadelphia for four years. He is now the Live Nation President of Connecticut and Upstate New York.

He’s produced the biggest bands including: The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Madonna, Pearl Jam and Billy Joel. “I’m a music fan. I became a fanatic when the Beatles came out. I love seeing the smiles on the faces of the fans. They spent their money. I want them to feel good about the experience.”

You can find Mr. Koplik in his Bridgeport office at Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater. He and Howard Saffan, partners for twenty years, have worked hard to create the best venue for artists to perform and for an audience to enjoy. The attention to detail in the acoustics and overall comfort really does make this an ideal venue to enjoy your favorite artists.

Howard smiles as he talks about how they line the long hallway from green room to the stage with framed photos of the evening’s artist. “They absolutely love it! Sting called to ask if I could send him one of the photos. Ringo took all of his. They walk to the stage remembering when a photo was taken. They’re laughing. It’s great.”

Attention to detail is the hallmark of the 5,700 seat boutique arena. The Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater is designed to wow! This joint music venture between Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater and the City of Bridgeport in association with Live Nation is the live music entertainment destination for the region.

Jimmy’s son, Jeremy, has been with Live Nation for twenty years. He grew up backstage at concerts. Whereas Jimmy loves doing it for the fun, Jeremy gets excited about the business side. They are a perfect team. Jimmy gets to book all the talent over seventy. Jeremy gets the rest. Along with Howard and a dedicated team, they create magic for thousands. You MUST put a performance at the Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater on your Must Do list.

Another Must Do is the Sound on Sound Music Festival. This year, its second will be held September 30 and October 1 at Seaside Park. The two-day experience nestled on the shores of Long Island Sound, features Red Hot Chili Peppers, Connecticut’s own – John Mayer, Alanis Morissette, Hozier, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Hawks and the list goes on.

Sound On Sound brings together world-class performing artists, renowned local eateries, craft breweries, a variety of wine and spirits and much more for an unforgettable weekend in Fairfield County. It’s an event where you can eat, drink, dance – look up at the stars and smile as you realize… a memory is being born.

At 72, he’s not slowing down. Bringing joy to so many people is what drives Jimmy. He’s a memory-maker. There’s a sign that hangs on Jimmy’s wall. It’s the lyrics from the last song the Beatles recorded. It’s his mantra... And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

“I’m a music fan. I became a fanatic when the Beatles came out. I want people to feel good about their experience.”

  • Howard Saffan