Well, it went down worse than we could have ever expected.
The financial backer who paid for the entire event allegedly lost a quarter of a million dollars.
On Friday evening, there were between 20 and 30 people at the concert, and from there, the numbers kept dropping.
A black limo circled the fairgrounds while Firefall performed to 12 or so concertgoers. Saturday night Juice Newton performed in front of eight to 12 people. It was hard to get an accurate count because they were all bundled up in blankets.
During the show, there was more staff on the fairgrounds than concertgoers.
The scale of the operation was mind boggling to those in the industry. It looked as if they were setting up one of the stages for Music Midtown in Atlanta.
A U.S. Foods semi trailer was on hand. The stage was enormous, costing around $25,000 to rent. It actually took more people to set up the stage and then tear it down than the number of folks who came to watch the headliner Saturday night.
Supposedly, Charles Collins Jr. was such the wily and slick negotiator that he agreed to pay each of the bands in the neighborhood of $20,000 each.
And there are a lot of questions about the financial backer for the show, whose bank account is now $250,000 lighter.
He was apparently tipped off to Collins’ sketchy past by the Metro Spirit‘s Insider piece last Thursday. And, no, he had not stopped to look Collins up on the Internet prior to agreeing to back the show.
Last week, the Metro Spirit revealed that Collins was convicted in 2010 on eight counts of obtaining property by false pretense and one felony count of passing a worthless check in North Carolina.
He was sentenced to 285 days in jail and given four probation sentences of eight to 10 months each and ordered to pay restitution of $11,830.
Back in 2009, Collins apparently claimed that he was going to revive the North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Carolina that had been dormant since 1996, but he never actually paid his vendors and didn’t stage a single race, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
Collins also allegedly claimed that he was developing a reality TV show featuring female race-car drivers, but none of that ever happened.
The newspaper reported that his “legal problems started when one of the female racers who paid him more than $2,200 for a race school that was canceled said that he cheated her.”
Collins provided the woman a refund check, but it bounced.
Following Collins’ arrest in North Carolina, investigators discovered outstanding fugitive warrants for him from Florida and Georgia. The Florida warrant charged him with felony counts of contracting without a license during an emergency and third-degree grand theft. The Georgia fugitive warrant stemmed from a 2002 probation violation that said Collins owed $15,182 in restitution.
After serving his time in prison, Collins eventually made his way to Augusta.
Earlier this year, Collins had announced that he planned to have several concerts in south Augusta, but those concerts never materialized.
He even discussed building an amphitheater on property along Phinizy and Peach Orchard roads, but that never happened.
But somehow he was able to convince this financial backer to fund this weekend’s disastrous Rock-N-Country Music Bash in Columbia County.
The Insider actually knows the financial backer’s identity, but has decided not to drag his name into this. He has suffered enough already.
Insiders report he is embarrassed, angry and humbled.
He was told by Collins to be prepared for at least 25,000 people to attend the concert.
This poor guy isn’t even local. He lives outside Atlanta, so how Collins found him is anyone’s guess.
The only good news is, everyone involved in the event was paid in full thanks to the financial backer. This was most likely his first and last foray into the world of music promotion.
So, what went wrong?
This event had several things working against it.
It was an outdoor concert in November. The extremely popular Kicks 99 Guitar Pull was the same week. There was little to no marketing of the event and Collins had pushed insane expectations.
There were also some obvious facts that financial backer should have considered, such as the event was held where no concert had ever taken place, so there was no infrastructure.
In fact, Insiders say renting The Lady Antebellum Amphitheater would have been a cheaper alternative at $9,500 per day.
The tickets were overpriced and the show also featured, let’s face it, middle of the road bands with acts such as Atlanta Rhythm Section, Ambrosia, Orleans and Juice Newtown.
Basically, everything you can think of was wrong about this event.
But the biggest thing wrong about it was Collins.
So, what’s the moral of the sad story?
Don’t give Charles Collins any money unless he is passing you a bag full of fried chicken through a drive-thru window.