Alex Cooley...[was] an international concert and music festival promoter, and a household name among Atlanta’s live music fans. Born and raised in Atlanta, he attended Georgia State University and the University of Georgia before being lured into entrepreneurial pursuits. From humble beginnings, Alex has become one of the most trusted and renowned promoters in the world. ... He has helped save The Fox Theatre from demolition, turned The Roxy and The Tabernacle into music landmarks, and filled downtown Atlanta streets with the largest music festival in the country. The local newspapers have charted his career calling him “The Mayor of Music” and “the Guy who Brought Rock and Roll to Atlanta.” With four decades experience buying music talent, promoting concerts, producing festivals and operating live music venues, he has deeply impacted Georgia’s entertainment industry.
In the late 1960’s as war and civil rights issues raged in America, Alex found himself at the Miami Pop festival. With a full roster of world class talent, the experience opened his eyes to a new era of live entertainment. He instantly wanted to bring this new phenomenon to Atlanta. Propelled by a desire to affect the political and cultural isolation of the deep South, Alex organized the Atlanta International Pop Festival in 1969. Featuring a lineup of more than twenty pop and rock acts, the festival occurred a month before the famous Woodstock festival in New York. The 2nd Atlanta International Pop Festival in 1970 was the largest gathering of people in Georgia history until the 1996 Olympics. ...
...[H]e has been a driving force behind Atlanta’s large demand for live music. The first major concert promotion and production company in the south was Alex Cooley, Inc. in 1970, and in the 80's [he] founded Concert/Souther Promotions with longtime partner Peter Conlon. By 1987 Alex had been inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. He also set in motion some of the largest cultural events in U.S. history. The Atlanta International Pop festival attracted over 150,000 people. The Texas International Pop festival drew 150,000. By some estimates, The Second Atlanta International Pop festival drew 500,000 souls in search of freedom and music. More recently the Music Midtown festival ran for twelve years and brought upwards of 300,000 people. In 2004, he was awarded a Grammy HEROES Award by the National Academy of Recording Artists and Sciences (NARAS) ...
[An interviewer describes a scene.] He sits back in his leather chair behind a large desk. Piles of correspondence, financial statements, research, books, movies, a computer, a cat and a dog vie for his attention. His office sits in a separate building from his main house on Lookout Mountain. ....” In his Midtown office where Cooley spends half of his time, he’s busy developing new projects and granting speaking requests.
... Alex [, an] amateur architect, technology buff, armchair historian, activist, preservationist, and rock and roll impresario lives by his world-view of “enlightened self-interest,” and a core belief that there’s a lot more to life than money. “I’ve tilted at my share of windmills. I guess if I’d gone into all of this with just money on my mind I would be fabulously wealthy…and I’m not.” ..... Through thousands of productions and across decades Alex has never lost sight of his main objective: To create a conducive atmosphere for artists and audiences, where music can help make something even bigger happen.
An Atlanta Journal Constitution article, dated February 27, 1997, detailed a fire at Alex Cooley's midtown business. It was one of 19 fires in the area since January 26, though the authorities said the fires were not related. Cooley put up a $5,000 reward for the arsonist. The fire started in a metal trailer and moved to his office. He lost valuable memorabilia including an autographed John Lennon photo, art, and gold records for R.E.M. and Aerosmith. The office was a brick and frame building across from Ansley Mall. Cooley and a partner had been there 11 years. The write up includes this detail: they also lost "the beloved office cat, Grayson," in this early morning fire.
Alex Cooley also dreamed of founding an animal shelter.