AUGUSTA, Ga. – The James Brown Birthday Bash is making a comeback in downtown Augusta. Organizers hope making the event free will make the public feel good about it. They believe the announcement will bring thousands more people to the event. It will feature all 13 members of the James Brown Band performing along with six vocalists filling in for the Godfather of Soul.
The Friends with Benefits group, Copenhaver Consulting, and the City of Augusta are bringing back the lost tradition. The James Brown Birthday Bash hasn’t rocked downtown Augusta in ten years, since the Godfather of Soul died. Tuesday, they announced that the event would now be free to the public.
George Claussen, an organizer says, “This event will now be free for everyone to attend and it’s just amazing. You just sit there to have George Porter from The Meters and to have Ivan Neville, that just won a Grammy three weeks ago, and to have Sharon Jones that from here.” Former Mayor and concert contributor, Deke Copenhaver says, “I felt like this needs to be a first class event. We need to make sure that it’s packed full of people. I think it being free and giving back to the city will do that. So it’s just important to me to help with furthering his life and legacy locally.”
Organizers have big expectations for this event, as well as future Birthday Bashes. “The Masters is such a big draw for Augusta but I wholeheartedly know that this event can be equally as big as that. I know that it can on an international scale,” says Claussen. As for how many people will attend the newly-made-free concert, he says that number could be tremendous. “We’ve never done a free event before. Augusta’s never done a free event on this scale before so I don’t, I have no idea. It could be tens of thousands of people for all we know. But we’ll gladly have them.”
Claussen says he hopes the city will pick up the tab of the bash for years to come to keep the concert free to the public. It will be May 3rd at the Augusta Common.