Beloved Music Promoter Kenny Ballinger Killed in Hit & Run
This story has been updated.
Promoter, venue owner, and strong supporter of country and roots music in Wichita, Kansas, Kenny Ballinger, was killed Wednesday night (8-25) by a hit-and-run driver that is still at large. According to Wichita police, Ballinger was driving his Harley-Davidson motorcycle in south Wichita at around 11:30 p.m. near 47th Street South and Hydraulic when a black SUV heading east on 47th Street struck Ballinger. The black SUV then fled the scene. Kenny Ballinger was rushed to the hospital where he later died. He was 37-years-old.
UPDATE: 31-year-old Jesus Olave Jr. was identified Thursday evening (8/26) in the case, and arrested for failure to stop at an accident resulting in death, failure to yield, and no valid driver’s license. He is currently being held without bond.
For many years, Ballinger was a strong supporter of independent country and roots musicians both in the Wichita and Kansas region, as well as to traveling musicians touring through Wichita. In April of 2019, Ballinger became the co-owner of the Wichita venue Barleycorn’s, and was considered the soul of the venue, booking and promoting shows for artists such as Jason Eady, Justin Wells, Possessed by Paul James, The Goddamn Gallows, and others, helping to make Wichita a hub for performers.
“Really sorry to hear that our good buddy Kenny Ballinger has left the building,” performer Scott H. Biram wrote. “We just saw him a few weeks ago, in Wichita. You will be sorely missed, my friend. Kenny went above and beyond in his support of all his music friends. He was an all around good guy. He looked scary, but he was a big teddy bear, and a hoot to be around! Much love to his family, and to all who knew him. Very sad day.”
Along with Barleycorn’s, Kenny Ballinger also helped at The Elbow Room, as well as Fine Swine Records to support local music. Fine Swing is planning a memorial for September 11th.
“We’re gonna need a big stage and a big room. So on Saturday September 11th we’re going to invade TempleLive Wichita and throw the biggest party this city has seen to celebrate his amazing life. Entrance to this event will be free and there will be donation tables through out the venue to benefit the family.”
Kenny Ballinger is survived by his wife Dariah and son Harlan. A Go Fund Me has been set up for his family.
August 26, 2021 @ 6:18 pm
So profoundly sad. Sending aroha (love) and blessings to his family, friends and music community from Covid lockdown in Aotearoa/New Zealand ♥️
August 27, 2021 @ 4:45 am
Damn! Bet the perp is never found.
August 27, 2021 @ 9:38 am
Promotors are the under-appreciated music industry heroes. Without them, musicians have no livelihood. And most aint getting rich from it. They do it for the love of music. Ballinger was one of those good guys. Awful tragedy.
December 21, 2021 @ 4:24 am
Kevin. Let me start by saying Thank you for what you said about my brother. Your so right about music producers. They are the back bone to musicians. Without them musicians would not have places to perform so they can get thier name out there to people. Not only did my brother promote music but he gave all musicians a stage to perform new, old, all Genre types. His love for music was way deeper then the heart but to his soul. My Brother touched the hearts of so many musicians from all over. Not only my family is devastated but the whole music community is and not just locally but nation wide. Again I just want to Thank you for what you said about my Brother.
Kenny’s Little Sister,
August 28, 2021 @ 11:44 pm
@DJ–Looks like you lost your bet.
December 21, 2021 @ 4:32 am
Actually the police apprehended the man responsible for the hit and run the very next day. So you might wanna get up to date on your info. At least before you speak on it as your comment was posted 2 days after they apprehended Jesus Olave Jr. (J.S.)
August 27, 2021 @ 6:32 am
My hometown. So sad to hear. So young.
August 27, 2021 @ 6:47 am
Witnesses were able to get a tag number and the suspect has been arrested.
August 28, 2021 @ 9:11 am
August 28, 2021 @ 1:48 pm
Here in Florida, and I presume elsewhere, we have a big problem with hit-and-runs involving illegal aliens somehow driving around with no license, insurance, valid vehicle registration, etc. Also, illegal aliens seem to perpetrate a disproportionate number of statutory rapes involving shockingly young girls around here. Those of us who don’t like it simply don’t appreciate the blessings of diversity, I suppose.