Augusta prepares for James Brown Music Festival

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Last minute preparations are being made for the James Brown Soul of America Music Festival.

Festival organizers say about 2000 people are already expected to come, and Richmond County deputies are preparing for the crowds.

Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength told News 12 that only one westbound lane on Broad Street and all lanes on Reynolds Street will be closed from 8th to 9th. That's just one block.

Those lanes will only be closed during the hours of the event.

Preparations are underway.

The Godfather himself is expected to take center stage on Saturday.

"The main stage right across the James Brown statue at the Common, that's where James Brown will be performing," says festival organizer Charles "Champ" Walker, Jr.

There was question whether Brown would perform at the festival because of scheduling conflicts.

He'll squeeze in a local performance between two other concerts out of state.

Walker says he never doubted the entertainer would come.

"I always maintained that he would, we never wavered, because he asked me to do the event. We knew he was coming."

And they are hoping word of his performance will bring big bucks to the local economy.

Roy Searles is already cranking up the grill for Friday and Saturday.

"Expect to have probably 10 cases of ribs, about 25 cases of sausage dogs, probably 4 or 5 cases," Searles says.

"Economically we believe and we still hold firm that over a period of years this could be larger than the Masters if the naysayers and detractors join us and look past Champ Walker and look to the future," Walker says.

Walker says focusing on the theme, 'Embrace the Race', will allow the spotlight to be where it should...on the Godfather of Soul.

"He is so excited that Augusta is finally acknowledging him," Walker says.

Organizers are having a prayer vigil at the James Brown plaza to kick off the event, which starts tomorrow.