Interview with Peter Conlon, Alex Cooley, and Tom Beard, April 10, 2013

Collection: Richard B. Russell Library Oral History Documentary Collection

Dublin Core


Music promoters, Alex Cooley and Peter Conlon, along with Presidential aid, Tom Beard, talk about the development of the music scene in Atlanta. Cooley and Conlon talk about the several concerts and festivals they arranged over the years. And the three of them talk about how Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign produced rock concerts in order to raise money. They discuss the relationship between race, music, and politics in the South, and they talk about the difficulty of financing a music event.

Peter Conlon was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. His father moved his family to Tucker, Georgia when he was very young. Conlon first fell in love with rock and roll when he bought his first album, Meet the Beatles. While he attended the University of Georgia, Conlon started booking live shows for the student concert committee and the Interfraternity Council. He learned how to get high profile artists to come to Athens. Also Conlon worked on Jimmy Carter’s Presidential campaign while he was in law school. Conlon is now known as one of Atlanta’s most powerful concert promoters. He books concerts in Atlanta’s largest and acclaimed music venues. His most famous legacy is Music Midtown which he founded with Alex Cooley.

Alex Cooley is a native of Atlanta, Ga, and he attended Georgia state and the University of Georgia. He is able to assess the cultural importance of music, and he helped shape Atlanta’s music landscape. Cooley has organized several music festivals all over the Deep South in order to introduce rock and roll and countercultural values to the south. His influence saved The Fox Theatre, and he turned the Tabernacle and the Roxy into music landmarks in the Atlanta area. In 1987, Cooley was inducted into the Georgia Music hall of Fame. He is also one of the founders of Music Midtown. Cooley is known as one of the best music promoters in Atlanta.Tom Beard is a graduate of the University of Georgia. He worked on Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign, and he served in the White House as Deputy Assistant to the President. Beard is a distinguished managing director and financial planner. Beard currently serves on the board of directors of AHL Services.






Oral History Item Type Metadata



115 minutes


Peter Conlon et al., “Interview with Peter Conlon, Alex Cooley, and Tom Beard, April 10, 2013,” UGA Special Collections Libraries Oral Histories, accessed June 8, 2023,