I’m not much of a follower of rules. I mean, I don’t regard myself as an outlaw or anything like that, but I believe most rules should be regarded as situational.
The world is too abstract to be governed by absolute laws, codes and regulations. There are, of course, exceptions to this no-rules rule. There is, for instance, real wisdom in the Golden Rule; and the Ten Commandments seem to have remained impressively topical. I try to stick to those.
Those and one more: I call it Brown’s Law.
The James Brown I knew lived by a series of rules that dictated how he and those around him went about things. They were built on a foundation of old-school etiquette and expectations. They could also all be boiled down to the simplest of ideas:
It isn’t something that extends to just our jobs. It’s a way of handling oneself in public and private. It’s a way of approaching each task, challenge and relationship. It’s part doing unto others and part innate understanding of the power of being productive.
I bring this up because there seems to be a party – or parties – that have forgotten Brown’s Law and the importance of being professional.
Last week, there was a concert scheduled that never happened, a venue booked that was never used and artists engaged who, if I had to take a guess, were never paid. That’s not professional.
The truth is I don’t know who was responsible for the systemic failure of last week’s James Fortune and Friends show, a gospel concert scheduled to include Vickie Winans. I have my suspicions, but without proof it would only be conjecture.
What I do know is that this event, over the course of a few days, fell victim to venue changes, lost cell phones, miscommunication, a bait-and-switch booking and public disavowal by all parties concerned. I see a lot of smoke and a lot of mirrors but very few people – perhaps none – being professional.
The truth is that while the story of this show might not yet be completely written, for most of us it will remain an interesting bit of history. We will remain unaffected by any fallout, legal or otherwise, that might follow. And yet, if we are fortunate, we will all be affected by the events that transpired last week.
We will be affected because this will serve as a reminder to care for the complexities required to book and present live music. It will remind us that the devil is indeed in the details – even when it’s a gospel show being discussed.
It will remind us that we should all live as James Brown insisted.
We should all be professional.
Speaking of being professional. We are down to the final hours to submit to AMPED: The Augusta Chronicle Music Contest. The field is starting to fill, but there’s still space available for Augusta-area acts with original music. Send your tracks to firstname.lastname@example.org by the end-of-business on July 5 and stay tuned to augustachronicle.com/AMPED – voting begins soon.