Tribute performer hired for James Brown music festival sues organizer

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A lawsuit filed Monday, June 12 means organizers of the James Brown Music Festival could have to pay thousands of dollars in damages.

The James Brown Tribute Band claims festival organizers did not hold up their end of a contract.

James Brown Tribute Band front man Tony Wilson is suing Champ Walker, his company Bright Ideas, and his organization the Heritage Crest Foundation for $50,000.

The counts range from payment discrepancies to band transportation and hotel accommodations.

Wilson says his band was supposed to stay near the festival's venue, but members ended up several miles away in a place that was, quoting from the lawsuit, "riddled with prostitutes, pimps, and drug dealers."

Champ Walker says Wilson made hotel arrangements for himself and left Walker to find a place for the band members.

Another issue is transportation. The lawsuit claims the agreement to fly the band to Augusta was broken. Walker says that he never promised airfare for the entire band and that he held up his end of the deal by providing them a limo.

Another issue in the lawsuit is which days the band would perform. The original agreement, according to the lawsuit, was for the free performance on Friday. Wilson says his band also ended up playing Saturday with James Brown, and he should be compensated for the extra day.

"He didn't want to come forth with anything," Wilson said. "He put me in this predicament, and this band needs to be compensated for the work they did."

"The public knows full well that Champ Walker wasn't going to pay James Brown's band $25,000," Walker said. "Just think about me paying Tony Wilson, an imitator, who's not known at all, $25,000."

Wilson argues he would have done the extra performance for less than his usual rate of $25,000.

Walker has thirty days to respond to this lawsuit.

Wilson's attorney says the lawsuit will ask for $50,000 from Champ Walker, his company Bright Ideas, and the Heritage Crest Foundation.