Flirtin' with Disaster?

Braxton Whitley is having a rough time producing his Southern Classic Music Fest. The former electrician contracted to hire the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Molly Hatchet, and Blackfoot for a May 11 concert at the 1500-capacity Show Palace in Oceanside.

The problem: the bands' manager/agent says the show "...is not going to happen." Steve Green of Boca Raton, Florida, says he received $10,000 of an expected $30,000 deposit from Whitley; Green says the two agreed on $60,000 for the package and that $30,000 represents the customary 50 percent deposit that promoters pay agents.

Last Tuesday, Whitley said, "I've got a contract that says I've paid those people everything, and I don't owe them a dime until five minutes before they play at 7 p.m. on May 11, when I owe them the rest."

A local promoter who has bought acts of this type says the band lineup is worth nowhere near $60,000.

"That dude got prison-raped," says the promoter. "The Atlanta Rhythm Section can't sell any hard tickets. They are an act that plays at [county] fairs. They get about $3500. Molly Hatchet is worth, like, $2500.... And Blackfoot, I never even heard of them."

Manager Green points out that prices for bands vary.

"You can't compare what they might get at a House of Blues with what they might get at a special event. There are a lot of variables, like venue size, ticket price, and where the band is when you want to book them."

Whitley, who moved to San Diego from Charlotte, North Carolina, five years ago, says he is prepared "to file an injunction" and sue Green if the bands don't show up. "I'm a peace-loving man, but I've also been a professional kick boxer. I am nice until it's time to not be nice."

Last week, House of Blues San Diego announced Molly Hatchet and Blackfoot had been booked to play May 11. As of Friday, Whitley was still selling tickets through his website.

Green said even though two of the bands were able to secure a gig at another local venue, he would not be returning the $10,000 deposit to Whitley. "That money all goes to the bands. Plus, we have hired an attorney in L.A. to go after the other $50,000." Calls to Whitley were not returned.

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