The life and legacy of Bill Ellison will be honored tonight at the Granada Theater, where Ellison spent many nights capturing performances with his camera. Ellison died last month after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 64. He left a vast collection of his photographs on his Flickr page.
Even up to his death, you’d see him at the refurbished movie theater on Greenville Avenue. He took pictures of acts
of all genres, capturing all the drama and nuance of the performance.
The concert tonight is billed as the “Bill Ellison Memorial Concert: Celebrating The Life of Bill Through Music and Memories." Performers will include Paul Averitt, Straight Tequila Night, Andy Timmons and Rocky Athas. The concert is from 6-10 p.m., with an after-party to follow at Sundown next door.
All the proceeds from ticket sales, bar sales and a silent auction of 12 guitars owned by Ellison will go to Ellison’s family to pay for his medical expenses and the cost of his funeral. A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $7,000 in a month, and more donations are encouraged.
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“Come buy [a guitar] for someone that would like to learn or pick up a guitar with some amazing spirit inside of it,” Granada owner Michael Schoder says.
When news broke of Ellison's passing, tributes focused on the man behind the camera. He was more than a guy hired to take pictures for the venue’s website.
“Bill wasn’t just a photographer, even though he was a great one,” said Gavin Mulloy, who worked at the Granada before moving on to Trees and the Bomb Factory, the day after Ellison's death. “He loaded bands in, lent gear, but also really made them feel at home. He was there from day one and was part of that room.”
Bill Ellison Memorial Concert, Wednesday Sept. 13, Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., $12 and up, prekindle.com.