Annie O’Toole

(1957 – 2023)

We are saddened to share the passing of Anne Thrase O’Toole.

  Annie was a music industry pioneer who began her career at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco in the early 1980’s as a cocktail waitress, quickly moving up to the office to oversee marketing and production before taking the helm as Talent Buyer in 1990. 

  Annie was born April 21, 1957 in London to Anthony and Margaret “Peg” O’Toole. The family moved Annie & her older sister Mary to Los Angeles in 1958 and then to the Bay Area in 1960 where her younger siblings Judy & John were born.  Both parents pre-decease Annie, her mother recently leaving us in August of this year at the age of 93.

  Anne considered booking music a responsibility, showcasing established artists alongside unknown talent.  A typical week might include Ani DiFranco, Jeff Buckley with Soul Coughing opening, Cibo Matto, Guided by Voices and Pavement.  Memorable performances by Wilco, with Jeff Tweedy coming over from the Phoenix Hotel in his bathrobe and a few nights of The Beautiful South were considered classics.  Believing the history of the Hall to be important, she would always find space for Tuck & Patti, Jimmy Scott, Maceo Parker, Jane Siberry & George Winston amongst her more indie and alt-country leanings.
  After leaving the Great American in 1998, Annie quickly found her footing in Indianapolis with Dave Lucas at Sunshine Promotions, where she booked The Murat Theater, Circle Fest, and Rib Fest as well as other festivals throughout the city.  Anne thrived in the Mid-West, finally having space for her expanding family of dogs. Her farm outside of the city afforded Roy, her first border collie, the opportunity to realize his abilities as an award winning champion of Sheepdog Trials and Agility Competitions.  Her yard was his obstacle course and she quickly established another career for herself, training other dogs to compete alongside her own. 
 Rising through the ranks of Sunshine, Annie was promoted to Senior Vice President of Booking in 2000. Her responsibilities included major arenas and amphitheaters throughout the region, negotiating contracts, while overseeing production, marketing & ticketing.  When Live Nation bought out the company in 2001 she shifted gears to St. Louis where she was President and Area Manager, responsible for 40+ employees, a satellite office in Kansas City and multiple touring properties in the Central Territories.
 When Lucas was able to restart his business as Live-360 in 2006, Anne rejoined him in Indianapolis, working as Senior Vice-President of booking through 2015.  On weekends she would tour with her dogs, competing tirelessly throughout the Mid-West.  Roy and his descendants were among the most decorated members of the border collie community. She brought the same commitment to the world of dog training that she espoused in the music industry.  A highly accomplished professional, she managed complex projects and exceeded expectations by building lasting relationships, and  applying skills from all aspects of her life to diverse environments. When all else failed her unforgettable, infectious laugh saved the day.
  Her days as a consultant began with Soundslinger, initiating the first incarnation of the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival. As Vice President of Artist and Vendor relations she was a whip-smart and fierce negotiator.  She never suffered fools gladly but was a mentor to all, a loyal friend who supported and defended her crew with a critical ear or cocktail as needed.
  After retiring in 2022, Anne enjoyed time on her farm in Eastern Tennessee with her pups, cats, chickens, sheep, and a mule. She left us too soon on Sunday, November 26th after a short illness.  She is survived by her older sister Mary O’Toole and her husband Jim Thweatt, younger sister Judy Highlander and her husband Wayne, and younger brother John and his wife Emilia.   To honor Annie during the holidays, we suggest donating to your favorite animal or music charity.
  – Sheri Sternberg