Local Current Blog

Twin Cities promoter and publisher Mark Fogarty passes away

Photo courtesy Jake Heinitz

In the words of Jake Heinitz, “If there is something cool going on in the city, he probably had something to do with it.”

You might not recognize Mark Fogarty’s name or even his face—he remained so entrenched behind the scenes that he refused to operate personal social media accounts, much less broadcast any of his big accomplishments to the world—but the 28-year-old Dayton, Ohio native was instrumental to many of the major developments in the Twin Cities music scene over the past four years.

Fogarty, who was also known by the nickname “Jerry” and, more simply, “Dad,” landed in Minneapolis in 2011 and immediately started moving and shaking things up. He had a hand in booking music for the Zombie Pub Crawl alongside Jonathan Ackerman, and helped grow the event from a small bar crawl into the sprawling monstrosity that regularly attracts 35,000+ attendees today. He worked alongside Jake Heinitz to launch Greenroom Magazine (where he served as publisher) and curate events ranging from P.O.S.’s “Best Show Ever” to D’Angelo’s triumphant performance in the First Avenue Mainroom. And he worked tirelessly in literal green rooms, practice spaces, offices, and back yards to connect artists with managers, bookers with venues, and up-and-comers with more established acts in the community.

“He was truly the man behind the curtain,” Heinitz writes, while artist Claire de Lune puts a finer point on it: “I don’t know if I’d be doing what I’m doing right now if he hadn’t been there to mentor and support me through it.”

Like so many artists in town, Fogarty mentored Claire de Lune and her Chalice crewmates Sophia Eris and Lizzo through the very beginnings of their careers in the Twin Cities, offering them opening slots for high-profile artists and helping to manage Claire’s latest project, tiny deaths, as it got off the ground.

“He didn’t have the vibe of an industry business person at all,” Claire says. “A lot of people in his field in the music industry are just kind of cutthroat, and that comes through. And he just wasn’t like that at all. He was just so sweet and kind.”

Fogarty passed away on Sunday morning, October 18. His death is the latest in a series of tough blows to the tight-knit hip-hop and electronic community in the Cities, which has also grieved the tragic too-soon losses of young rapper Phonetic ONE (a.k.a. Andrew Thomas) and filmmaker Andre Durand.

For Jake Heinitz, who has already dedicated much of his career to highlighting wellness and health in the music industry through Greenroom Magazine, he believes these losses are a profound call to action.

“What is worth talking about is the need for us to stop bulls****ing and literally build a space that helps the creatives in this community, [who] may not have access to proper care, to find ways to heal. So many people come here for the treatment centers, and it has created an incredibly rich and scarred scene. I dunno what that looks like, but I know I’m gonna lead the charge, because there’s no better time than now and I’m sick of burying my friends.”

Additional reporting was contributed by Jon Collins of MPR News.

  • @gabrieldouglas

    This hits hard, he was always such a joy to work with. Such vision. Such passion. Such JOY.

  • Dan Mitchell

    Well, this wasn’t really “reported” by anybody. How do you write something like this and not even allude to the cause of death, or at least to your attempts to determine what it was? Did you even make such an attempt? The guy was 28, so it’s a little hard to believe he “passed away,” as you finally get around to noting in the seventh (!) and third-to-last graf. Yeesh.

    • Becky Franzel

      Because the article is meant to honor his memory, not to focus on cause of death. Yeesh.

      • Dan Mitchell

        News stories aren’t written to honor people’s memories. They’re written to inform people of facts. Leaving out the most pertinent fact is a gross dereliction of duty, however unpleasant it might be.

        • Kait

          I’m with you, Dan. I came for news. I got a partial story.

          • Dan Mitchell

            This problem is getting worse and worse, I’ve noticed. And this might be the worst case of this I’ve seen yet. Writing a news obit like this would have gotten a reporter fired just 20 years ago. Seriously. Fired. It certainly wouldn’t have been allowed to run (since there used to be, like, editors and stuff who made decisions like that.)

            There’s a generational aspect to it, I think. Coddled, sheltered millennials who have been protected from everything negative their whole lives. I get the desire to be “sensitive,” but if we followed that desire all the time, no news at all would ever get reported. It’s possible — in fact, necessary — to be as respectful as possible when reporting a news obit, as long as you’re still fulfilling your duties as a reporter. These people didn’t, by a longshot.

          • jegustaeau

            Cheap shot at millenials. Come on, already. Next thing you’ll be saying it’s because of the author’s gender or race. Why not? Go ahead. It’ll help your argument just as much

          • aslknv asihgalsk

            Kait you should go marry Dan. you two would make a wonderful un-sympathetic couple.

        • Tony Nelson

          One other reason it really should be addressed (even if the details still aren’t available) is that readers will infer something and it might not be the right thing. With no reference, readers will assume suicide or O.D. which may or may not be the case.

          • Dan Mitchell

            Yep. Exactly. I assume drug overdose or suicide. But I have no factual basis to assume that, and I shouldn’t be forced to assume anything. At the very least, you report that you haven’t been able to determine a cause of death, but are still trying. And you put the damned lede (the guy died) somewhere above the bottom *third* of the story.

            Or, if you can’t bear to perform the most basic aspects of your job, you don’t write the thing at all. If it’s news, it’s news. Report it.

          • Becky Franzel

            That aspect I get, but I still don’t think I’m necessarily 100% on board. I appreciated that this article focused on what he did. I didn’t really read it as an obituary so much as a look back at what he’s done. That might be a personal preference, maybe generational, but I think it was well done and may have been cheapened if his COD was revealed.
            Honestly, not really the point to argue how the article was written. I still think it’s pretty sad this guy died (even though I wasn’t even remotely affiliated) because from what I understand he’s still pretty influential even post mortem. For what it’s worth, I didn’t assume suicide or O.D.

    • Jesus, Dan. Chill. Why is it important to you? I think you can infer what may have happened but that’s not the point of the story.

      • Liz Sands

        It’s important because if there’s a crisis in mental health or substance abuse issues, maybe it should be openly discussed.

        • Nosam Bawhcs

          Perhaps the family requested that it be left undisclosed to the public? That is their choice.

          • Dan Mitchell

            No, it’s not. It’s their choice to not comment if asked, but it’s not their “choice” to decide what goes into news stories written by journalists.

      • Dan Mitchell

        Because this is news. It has bylines, and it claims to have been “reported” by people who are supposedly journalists. And reporters don’t leave people to “infer” facts (I don’t know this guy, and can’t “infer” anything — I clicked mainly because the headline said he was 28, and something of a wheel in Minneapolis, where I used to live).

        It’s a gross breach of a reporter’s responsibility to not even address the cause of death in what is presented as a news obit. “JFK Passes Away During Dallas Appearance.”

        • TKO

          It’s actually a blog, which is part traditional journalism, part something new and casual. It’s also Minnesota, kind of a unique place in its smallness and tightness of community. And its niceness. Couple all of that with the author being tight with said community, and there’s a ton of grief in the subtext. Most of us are educated and kind enough to read between the lines and let the details bake for few days. It would be decent of you to join us, your expectations are out of whack.

          • Dan Mitchell

            “New and casual” = “fails to adhere to the most basic standards of the profession.” Got it.

    • Nosam Bawhcs

      Ever think that maybe the family asked to leave the cause of death undisclosed?

      • Dan Mitchell

        If so, and you can’t find out the cause elsewhere, then you report that. You don’t just leave the nut of the story completely unaddressed. This is a news obit, “reported” by people who call themselves journalists.

        • shannon

          And any intelligent person can easily read between the lines here.

        • ten16

          This story gave me blueballs. Why did this guy die?!

    • Derek Landseidel

      This is a music station dedicated to music news. His passing was a tragedy but the article is focusing on his contributions and impacts to the community.

      Why don’t you just go to a morgue if you’re so enthralled by cause of death?

      Meanwhile, we will celebrate his successes as a promoter and a source of expertise for up and coming artists.

      The “nut of the story” is not his death. Celebrate his life or go read the obits all day.

      • Dan Mitchell

        This is a news obit, produced by *reporters*. I’m not “enthralled,” I’m curious, and other than the guy’s identity, it’s the *only* newsworthy aspect of the story — and it’s entirely left out. You lack a fundamental understanding of the function of journalism — which is rarely pretty, but is nevertheless necessary. This isn’t a friend’s Facebook page, it’s a news story.

    • aslknv asihgalsk

      you must be the biggest dickhead on the internet. Dan Mitchell you are not liked for your lack of empathy here. You can wait for the news to report on it and maybe you will find your answers there but to bring it up on this page is just ridicilous and it sheds light on what kind of character you are as a human being.

      • aslknv asihgalsk

        I already have an idea of the cause of death from what I know from people that knew him but I sure as hell would not share that with anyone on here. So Dan you can just let that curiosity eat you up until star tribune reports on its. Piece of sh1t.

      • Dan Mitchell

        This is “the news.” The people who wrote this are ostensibly reporters. They call themselves that, anyway.

        I’m not lacking empathy, I’m complaining about a badly produced piece of journalism.

        • aslknv asihgalsk

          I already have an idea of the cause of death from what I know from people that knew him but I sure as hell would not share that with anyone on here. So Dan you can just let that curiosity eat you up until star tribune reports on its. Piece of sh1t.

          • Dan Mitchell

            Well, that’s all very emotional and everything, but this is still a terrible example of journalism. I’m not super-curious about the cause of death, but I was curious enough to come here and read what was presented as a news obit and turned out to be …. whatever this is. A brief summary some guy who was well known in the Minneapolis music community, and was well-liked. Oh, and by the way, he died at 28, fill in your own imaginings as to how.

            “JFK Passes Away During Dallas Parade.”

            “Osama Bin Laden Passes Away in Pakistan”

            “Martin Luther King Passes Away in Memphis Hotel”

            Bottom line is: if it’s worth a news story, it’s worth reporting to completion.

          • aslknv asihgalsk

            If everyone is OK with the reporting of this story and would like Dan Mitchell to shut the F up and leave, would you please up arrow this comment…I’ll be the first do to so because honestly this guy is a little too ridiculous and is so hung on on reporting criticism rather than just being mindful and letting it go. For all we know the report might have had close ties to his family and just doesn’t want to disclose that kind of sensitive information. I don’t see why instead of making a big deal out of it why you can’t be patient about it because it will come to light when it gets reported on larger news venues. Once again, ONE UP IF YOU THINK THE REPORTING OF THIS STORY IS FINE AND YOU WOULD LIKE DAN MITCHELL TO SHUT THE F UP AND LEAVE.

          • John

            Dan you made you statement many times. Shut up

    • shannon

      It’s really not that hard to deduce what happened from the content of the end of the article. Nor is it hard to understand why a writer might leave it to reader to connect some dots out of respect for the man’s family. It would be pretty disrespectful to spell it out, don’t you think?

      • Dan Mitchell

        No.

        • John

          I wish one of Dan parents died of a bad cause and the writer left out a detail so we could go obstruct the comment area on there behalf. I don’t wish that but that’s what your doing

    • Ryan Gray

      It would seem, by your comments, that you are much more directing your frustration at the reporter herself rather than the story or the subject itself. If that is the case, you should address that with the reporter directly. This is neither the place nor time to air your grievances concerning modern journalism.

      You want to talk about things getting worse within the last 20 years? You want to bring up how a reporter would have been fired 20 years ago for this? Then let’s also bring up the decline of common decency and respect for people in mourning. Whatever beef you have with the protocol or standards of reporting, leave it out of places like this where everyone else cares about the content and people of the story more than your petty complaints about journalism.

      • Dan Mitchell

        This is a news story, reported by journalists.

        • Ryan Gray

          Yes, that’s evident, we’ve been over that. Did you even read my comment?

  • Andy Hansen

    which production company are we talking about here?

  • Elvis

    Mark was such a genuinely well-liked and warm individual. Let’s all just take a step back to recognize all of his great achievements, and to look around at our friends and family and encourage those who need to seek help. This is a terrible loss. I’m sick of seeing my friends and young people go down this way. RIP Mark. You were a true visionary.

  • Peter Landsheft

    Dan, does it really matter how he died. Save the gory details for the Tabloids. Have respect for the family. Better yet get a life.

    • Dan Mitchell

      Reporting the single most important aspects of a story isn’t “tabloid,” it’s basic journalism. Even when it’s unpleasant and sad.

      • aslknv asihgalsk

        If everyone is OK with the reporting of this story and would like Dan Mitchell to shut the F up and leave, would you please up arrow this comment…I’ll be the first do to so because honestly this guy is a little too ridiculous and is so hung on reporter criticism rather than just being mindful and letting it go. For all we know the reporter might have had close ties to his family and just doesn’t want to disclose that kind of sensitive information. I don’t see why instead of making a big deal out of it, why can’t you just be patient about the story because it will come to light when it gets reported on larger news venues. This guy sounds like he is a competitor or rival to this reporting company and is just trying to bring down the ratings. Once again, ONE UP IF YOU THINK THE REPORTING OF THIS STORY IS FINE AND YOU WOULD LIKE DAN MITCHELL TO SHUT THE F UP AND LEAVE.

      • aslknv asihgalsk

        Dan Mitchell
        Independent Writing and Editing Professional
        San Francisco Bay AreaWriting and EditingCurrentSelfPreviousSlate,
        The New York Times,
        NPREducationIllinois State University

  • ten16

    why did he kill himself?

  • Tim Campbell

    This is horrible news. Unfortunately, the discussion of Mark’s life has been hijacked here by a critique of Andrea’s journalistic cred. I don’t agree that an obituary absolutely needs to include the cause of death. Sometimes privacy needs to be respected. Sometimes the feelings are still too raw. People need a moment to mourn. It’s absurd to assert that Andrea would or should have been fired for writing this lovely tribute. That said, it raises mental health questions that I’m sure Andrea will return to at a more appropriate moment.

    • Andrea Swensson

      Thank you, Tim. Our general policy is that we do not to release the cause of death without the family’s consent and/or being able to confirm it with the police. As many have noted, the goal of a piece like this was to pay tribute to Mark’s monumental contributions to the community, provide context for those who did not know him, and give people a space to mourn his loss. If you’ve been following my work with the O.K. Show, you’ll know I care deeply about discussing mental health issues and bringing difficult conversations to the surface, and plans are already in the works to discuss the impact of this loss and others like it in depth when the time is right. Thank you all for reading, commenting, and sharing your thoughts.