Editor's note: Behind the Scenes is a new weekly feature profiling the people who work hard to make our arts and entertainment dreams come true. If you know someone worth writing about, e-mail the editor at email@example.com.By Cassie PenceArts and Entertainment EditorFor Thanksgiving, Diane Moudy and her kids flew out to Catalina Island off the coast of California. They had a nice relaxing break, carving the holiday bird with Coolio and his band at the rapper's ocean-side home.Rubbing elbows with musicians - even at the dinner table - is nothing new for 14-year-old Hailey and 7-year-old Jack. It's common for members of The Allman Brothers Band to stay at their house, too, and they've chewed the fat out on their deck with Oteil Burbridge, the once-bassist for the Allmans and founding member of the Aquarium Rescue Unit. For these kids, dinner with Coolio is just another day in the life with a rock 'n' roll mom.
"We're just one big, happy, crazy family," Moudy said. "I don't know if they will ever fit in to the real world."Moudy is like the rock 'n' roll mom to the entire Vail Valley. She owns Resort Entertainment, a Vail-based production company, and you can bet it's Diane Moudy behind the scenes pulling the trigger for any concert that rolls through town. She's hired to book bands for all the free Street Beat concerts, Hot Summer Nights, ShowDown Town, The Teva Games, Spring Back to Vail and the new Snow Daze event, which started Monday. And that's just the tip of the entertainment iceberg. Her company also handles all the staging, lighting and rock-star relations, aka fetching vodka or breaking the news that "the trailer is the dressing room." She books corporate and wedding entertainment and also helps Arte Davies plan the Vail Valley Foundation's over-the-top soirees. Need a giraffe or Cuban dancers? Moudy knows where to find them."One time, the bird keeper left without a couple of his birds," Moudy said, remembering one of the VVF's elaborate parties. "I think he had too much to drink. I got a call in the middle of the night. I mean, how do you leave without your bird?"Moudy also plans events outside of the valley. She helped organize JEEP King of the Mountain in Utah, as well as the Austin City Limits Music Festival. But out of all the things involved in the event-planning circus, music is and has always been Moudy's passion.Growing up as a teenager in a well-to-do New England neighborhood, Moudy would escape the crowd from school for a more interesting brew at Grateful Dead concerts. She'd travel from festival to festival racking up the ticket stubs. The music bug had bitten her.
Life in music"I was a festival kid who stayed in hotels and had a toothbrush, and a lot of people I knew didn't do that," Moudy said. "They camped out and ate grilled cheese off car parts. I would stay in hotels where everything was fresh, and if I was short on money, I would rent the floor out in our rooms. I was a little entrepreneur."Moudy said it was at this time, as a teenager, that she knew music was what she wanted to do with her life. She didn't know exactly what, but she knew how good music made her feel."I can't play anything, and I have tried the managing thing, but it's the most thankless job in the world," she said. "Everybody hates you. The clubs hate you. The venues hate you. The band gets mad."Moudy was working at a radio station in the valley when the opportunity to book her first concert arose. She already had a reputation of being "the band person," and there was a buzz around Moudy about how she knew people. It was Fourth of July weekend, and the powers that be couldn't find anyone to play at Ford Amphitheater. Moudy magically secured Sucker, Little Hercules, Harry Baxter Band and Hazel Miller to play."I didn't make one single red penny off it," Moudy said. "It was a lot of fun, and it was lots of work. I thought, 'I need to get paid for that.'"After the Ford concert, Moudy's music career was rolling. The next concert she booked was Tim McGraw in Austin, Texas. Still getting her feet wet, she forgot to buy McGraw his ceremonial bottle of Jack Daniel's. She drove 30 miles to the closest place that might have booze, a restaurant, got a speeding ticket, only to discover it was a dry county.
"I drove 60 miles in the opposite direction and found a drive-through liquor store, where you could buy guns at the same time," she said.She then met Dana Delbosco, who owned Resort Entertainment. They became fast friends and co-workers, planning parties and concerts together for several years. In 2004, Dana was diagnosed with skin cancer and died six weeks later. She sold the business to Moudy and also asked her to adopt her son, Jack. Moudy happily obliged.Good people like Dana, the Vail Valley Foundation folks and James Deighan from Highline Sports and Entertainment are why Moudy feels so lucky to do what she does where she does it. She would never give it up for the big city or a chance to book even bigger musicians or make more money."We live in an awesome environment where people actually care about each other," Moudy said. "In this industry, there is a lot of scam in big cities. I am able to talk and work with people I trust and people who trust me."But just because Moudy's in the tiny Happy Valley doesn't mean she's never star struck."Roger Daltry was playing 'Pinball Wizard' during sound check at the Dobson Ice Arena. He said, 'Hey Diane, how'd that sound?' That was pretty overwhelming. I was like, holy cow, I can't believe Robert Daltry just asked me how he sounded." Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 748-2938 or firstname.lastname@example.org.