Originally created 04/08/06

Brown festival discord goes on



The war of words continued Friday between James Brown's business manager and the chairman of the festival intended to honor the Godfather of Soul.

Business manager David Cannon countered claims that he opposes a Memorial Day weekend festival honoring his client and also addressed what he called incorrect information that Charles "Champ" Walker Jr. has put out.

"I would love to see this happen because it would be good for Mr. Brown," Mr. Cannon said. "I want this to happen, too, even though I'm the bad guy right now."



But, whether Mr. Brown, who grew up in Augusta, will perform or even attend the festival is still unknown. Festival organizers do not have a contract for Mr. Brown and his band to perform, according to Mr. Cannon.

Also , Mr. Brown and his band will be touring May 25-28 and only have one free date to fly back to Augusta if an arrangement can be worked out.

Mr. Walker, the festival chairman, maintains that Mr. Brown and his road manager, Charles Bobbit, agreed to perform free.

Mr. Cannon said Mr. Brown will forego his normal fee to perform if event organizers cover the $25,000 cost of flying him and his band in a private jet from a show in Virginia. That something festival organizers don't want to do.

"Mr. Cannon was the one who was both apologetic and at the same time trying to convince me to pay for something we never agreed to," Mr. Walker wrote in an e-mail Friday. "It's the culture of some in the entertainment business."

Festival organizers have threatened legal action if Mr. Brown fails to show, Mr. Cannon said.

Mr. Cannon also said he never told Mr. Walker he would charge $400,000 to televise the festival, as Mr. Walker claims. Instead, he says Mr. Walker wanted to film the festival and then sell DVDs and CDs of it. B ecause Mr. Brown doesn't own the rights to all of the songs he would perform, Mr. Cannon told Mr. Walker it would cost at least $400,000 for worldwide distribution rights.

But Mr. Walker disputes this.



"We spoke about possibly selling television rights this year," he wrote. "I did not speak to him about selling CDs and DVDs."

Festival organizers had considered selling DVDs, but that was not part of a discussion with Mr. Cannon, he said.

Mr. Walker also questioned why Mr. Cannon said it would cost $85,000 to fly Mr. Brown and his band to the show and then lowered the figure.

Mr. Cannon said he told Mr. Walker it would cost about $85,000 to fly in Mr. Brown's band members from all over the country. Flying them from one location would cost $25,000, he said.

Reach Kate Lewis at (706) 823-3215 or kate.lewis@augustachronicle.com.