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In Memoriam: Randy “Baja” Fletcher, 73

Kevin M. Mitchell • News • August 27, 2021

Randy “Baja” Fletcher in 2016. Photo: Chris Lisle

TOLEDO, OH – Longtime production manager Randy “Baja” Fletcher died Aug. 27 from injuries suffered in a fall off the stage at the Bash on the Bay music festival at Put-in-Bay island in Ohio the day before. Fletcher, 73, was out on tour with the headliner of the festival, Keith Urban. He sustained serious injuries and was rushed by medevac to a hospital in Toledo. There he passed peacefully surrounded by family and loved ones.

Fletcher was one of the most beloved and respected members of the touring concert tribe. He received a Parnelli Lifetime Achievement award for his achievements in 2010. His long career included work with ZZ Top, Randy Travis and the entire touring career of Brooks & Dunn, who presented him with the Parnelli award in person. “We can’t imagine what we did to be blessed with the likes of Randy Fletcher,” the two said at the time. “We hate to think about what our career might have been like without him, as so many have been won and lost on the road. The importance of a trail boss like Baja is impossible to put into words. Not a show goes by that someone doesn’t talk about the quality of our crew, and it all filters down from him.”

Fletcher, the son of a coal miner, was born in Virginia in 1948. He started helping local and regional bands pull gigs off when he was just 17. A few years later he was stage manager of a festival featuring ZZ Top. Impressed with him, they hired him and took him on the road. He went on to work with Waylon Jennings, Randy Travis, and finally, Brooks & Dunn starting in 1993.

Video Director Mark Haney was devastated by this news of someone he considers a brother. “A huge hole is in our hearts today, but in his wake is also a smile at the joy with which he lived life and lifted us all. He was everyone in our industry’s best friend. He always advised us to ‘Surround yourself with good people, let them do their gig, and have as much fun as possible with them’.”

More on Fletcher can be found in this 2010 article. A video tribute to his amazing life can be found here. He sat down for NAMM’s oral history program and that video is found here.

 

 

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