Wells Fargo Center Director of Programming, Rick Bartalini, Has Left

This may not be heart-breaking news to the average person who enjoys attending live performances at Santa Rosa’s Wells Fargo Center, but it’s a heart-breaker to the average media person who enjoys previewing live performances at Santa Rosa’s Wells Fargo Center and it actually may impact the average life as well. Rick Bartalini, the tireless caretaker to the stars, who sees to it that Lisa “Queen of Mean” Lampanelli has flower petals floating in her dressing room’s toilet; who treated Dolly Parton like the pink-infused star she is; who worships Cher and Olivia Newton-John; and who has consistently pulled such acts at Lyle Lovett, Steely Dan, Diana Krall and other national tourers to our bit o’ cowpatch will do so no more. His official release is below; we’re awaiting some actual info from him on it. Darn it, Rick, you’re going to be missed.

Rick with Johnny Mathis

January 27, 2010 | SANTA ROSA, CA | It was announced today that after 11 years at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa, California,  Rick Bartalini has left his position as Director of Entertainment Programs. Bartalini was responsible for talent buying and oversight of over 50 annual high-profile entertainment events at the intimate 1,668 capacity venue.  In this role, Bartalini was responsible for nearly half the Center’s operating budget.  Over the years he brought top level talent to Sonoma County which included such artists as Johnny Mathis, Lyle Lovett, Dolly Parton, George Lopez, Carole King, Steely Dan, Journey, Juan Gabriel, Marco Antonio Solis, Sheryl Crow, Diana Krall, Ellen DeGeneres, Keith Urban, Diana Ross, Olivia Newton-John and others.

In 2007 and 2008, Bartalini negotiated deals to record and broadcast four national and worldwide television specials from the Arts Center featuring Kathy Griffin, George Carlin, Dana Carvey and most recently Lisa Lampanelli.  The Lampanelli HBO special aired in February 2009 before a worldwide audience of 2.7 million viewers (nearly the highest rated HBO special in history, 2nd only to Chris Rock) and was later released on CD and DVD.

Says Bartalini:  “I am grateful for the amazing 11-year run at the Center and I am very proud that, together with my colleagues Jeremy French, Chrissy Hall, the staff and Board, we created experiences artists and fans will never forget.  The theater is now ranked among the Top 60 Theaters Worldwide (Source: Pollstar) and I sincerely thank all of the artists, agents, managers and industry professionals who have partnered with us over the last decade.”

In 2006, The Press Democrat called Bartalini “a major reason the Wells Fargo Center, Sonoma County’s largest concert venue, has raised its profile.” Former Executive Director of the Center David Fischer said, “If rust never sleeps, then neither does Rick.” Said Texas singer-songwriter Lyle Lovett, “We always look forward to seeing Rick when we come through.” In 2008, the North Bay Biz Magazine said of Bartalini, “he’s helped put the Center and Santa Rosa on the map, consistently booking high-profile artists.”“It’s been an honor to be a part of bringing these memorable experiences to my hometown,” said Bartalini.  “I look forward to finding another enriching outlet which will allow me to continue this work, whether it be in Sonoma County or elsewhere.”

Sonoma County Library