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Ken Rosene

Veteran Hawaii concert promoter

Ken Rosene, veteran Hawaii concert promoter from the 1970s through the 1990s, was found dead Tuesday Sept. 10 in his Honolulu home from a gunshot wound to the head. Police said notes and other evidence indicate it was a suicide. Rosene was 56.

Rosene was one of the state’s three top promoters in the 1970s and 1980s with John Leonard and Tom Moffatt.

L.A. native grew up in Newport Beach and Garden Grove, Calif., and moved to Hawaii in the late 1960s. He divided his time between Hawaii, Southern California and Mexico.

His interest in concerts started when he became a reviewer for the Honolulu Advertiser in the 1960s, contributing to a weekly youth-oriented page in which he covered the music scene. He also freelanced for other local and national periodicals, including Rolling Stone.

Rosene was instrumental in bringing to Hawaii breaking acts like Journey and the Police.

Until a few years ago, KMR Prods., Rosene’s company, held the record for the largest gross of any Hawaii concert — that set by the Police, which grossed $500,000 with 30,000 attendance in 1983.

Rosene brought a half-dozen music festivals to Hawaii that included such acts as Fleetwood Mac, Carlos Santana, Journey and Styx to Diamond Head Crater in the 1970s, with attendance in excess of 50,000 a show.

Rosene is survived by his mother and two brothers.

Services are pending.

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