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African Benefit Called Off Until Summer

May 16, 1985|GREG BRAXTON | Times Staff Writer

The executive producer of a trouble-plagued African benefit music festival, canceled by officials of Burbank's Starlight Amphitheatre, has given up on holding the concerts this weekend at another location.

"It's over," said Michael Evans Boyd, 28, a singer and entertainer who had been trying to organize the concerts with a newly formed production company. "At this time, the best thing to do is call it off for now and come back later this summer. It would not be fair to Africa to do this now."

But Boyd insisted that the concerts would be staged this summer, somewhere outside Burbank. "We're going to put on a monster," he said. "We want to seriously promote this, have two months of promotion and ticket sales. We are putting on this concert for the people of Africa and the glory of God."

The event was to have featured almost 60 local artists performing over three days, with country music Friday night, rock 'n' roll Saturday night and gospel and rhythm and blues Sunday night. Among the acts booked were the Chambers Brothers, Billy and the Beaters, and actresses Danielle Brisebois and Mabel King.

The festival was canceled Tuesday by Burbank officials, who said the event's organizers had failed to meet city requirements for using the city-owned Starlight.

Those requirements included posting a $30,000 bond to help pay for fire and police protection, and securing city health and safety permits. The organizers also neglected to purchase property and liability insurance, and had not met with police to make final traffic control arrangements.

A. Michael Pascal, director of operations for the newly formed "You and Me Because We Care" production company, said he would have been able to provide the city with letters of credit covering the necessary funds for the bonds if the city had given him a few hours more.

The promoters said net proceeds from the concerts would have been donated to the Burbank chapter of the American Red Cross, which would then have channeled the funds to its national headquarters for its African famine-relief program.

Alternatives Considered

Despite Burbank's cancellation, Boyd and other promoters had insisted up until Thursday that they would find another location and still hold the event this weekend. Among the facilities under consideration were the Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills, the Venice Pavilion and the U. S. Naval Shipyards in Long Beach.

Ever since the Burbank City Council approved holding the concerts at the Starlight last month, the event had been plagued by poor ticket sales and production difficulties and had been postponed once before this week's cancellation.

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