Concert promoter responds to allegations from Augusta gospel event

Concert promoter Sharif King is deflecting responsibility for a Thursday night gospel show at Tabernacle Baptist Church that left many paying customers upset.

In fact, the Dower Live promoter said Friday that the church is the one to blame.

“This was not the James Fortune and Friends concert,” King said. “This was a Ta­ber­nacle Baptist Church event.”

The Fortune and Friends concert, billed as featuring nationally known acts, was canceled Wednesday, King said, because of concerns with the size of the church. King said it was the church’s responsibility to inform the public that only local artists would perform.

The church reiterated Saturday that its only role was leasing the venue.

“We didn’t even do any of the promoting for the event,” spokeswoman Natasha Carter said. “We had no interaction with any of the artists.”

In a news release May 17, the concert claimed Fortune and Vickie Wi­nans as the featured artists.

The church seemed like the ideal place after plans fell through with Bell Auditorium, King said. In an e-mail provided by King, Monty Jones Jr., the general manager of the Augusta Entertainment Complex, said Dower Live would have to pay more than $7,500 by June 21 or face cancellation. Dower issued a news release June 21 announcing the move to the church.

But in talks with the church, King said, Tabernacle put a cap on how many people could attend. He said that’s when Fortune and Winans were told the show had been canceled.

Fortune sent a tweet on the day of the concert saying it had been postponed. Winans landed in Augusta and prepared to perform, unaware the concert had been canceled.

“Why did (King) pick me up from the airport if the show was postponed?” she said Friday.
Tabernacle contacted King insisting the show must go on, he said. The event was then changed to feature local artists, King said.

King said he sent for Winans to be picked up from the airport as a deal was being worked out to have her perform, but that he lost his phone before it could be finalized. King said he stayed to help count the money from ticket sales. He said he was only at the event to assist with crowd control, not to promote a Dower Live event.

Carter said otherwise.

“We have contracts showing Dower Live leased the venue,” she said. “The church was just the victim of this incident. We don’t want this experience to jade us in any way.”

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