A court appearance in the US means a no-show from the Godfather of Soul...

James Brown has pulled out of his appearance at this year’s GUILDFORD FESTIVAL because of a court appearance in the US.

His headlining slot at the festival on July 29 will now be taken by Culture Club. Brown is due in court in America on July 19 for a “commercial law” case. He is subpoenaed to go to court, meaning that if he misses his appearance, he will be arrested on his return to the US.

A spokesperson for the Guildford Festival told “We think that he is due in court about ten days before the festival, so it would be cutting it fine for him to appear, especially if the case goes on for a couple of weeks. Nobody seems to know why he is in court, but I don’t think he had much choice.”


Inside sources claim Guildford organisers were increasingly unhappy that James Brown was not playing the Guildford Festival exclusively, having announced dates at the Brighton Essential Festival 2000 on July 16 and a date at the London Brixton Academy on July 9.

A press spokesperson for Guildford added: “Guildford always try to get exclusive headliners. I know that is idealistic in this day and age with so many events, but we got Mvtorhead and Rolf Harris, both exclusives. To be honest, I don’t think anyone was exactly crying when James had to pull out.”

However, organisers of the Essential Festival in Brighton claim Guildford and Essential put their offers in to James Brown‘s agent at the same time, and both knew he was playing both festivals. A spokesperson for Essential said: “It doesn’t really make much difference to us because Essential and Guildford are completely different markets. James is flying into the UK on the afternoon of his appearance from Europe, will do the show, and will probably fly straight back out to America. It’s just the way it is.”

This year’s Guildford Festival takes place over the weekend of July 28-30 at Stoke Park, Guildford. Headlining this year are Mvtorhead, Culture Club, Van Morrison, Rolf Harris and Jools Holland.

Essential this year returns to its home in Stanmer Park, Brighton, over the weekend of July 15-16. Headlining the Dance Alldayer on July 15 is Fatboy Slim, Armand Van Helden, Coldcut, Lo-Fi Allstars and James Lavelle. Headlining the Roots Alldayer on July 16 are James Brown, Gabrielle, Angie Stone and Flavor Flav.

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