Durham paid $37,000 for failed booking of popular singer Monica at Bimbé festival, I-Team discovers

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Friday, May 24, 2024
Durham paid $37K to book Monica for Bimbé: I-Team
Documents obtained by the ABC11 I-Team show Durham paid the vendor in charge of booking Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival headliners $37,000.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Documents obtained by the ABC11 I-Team show Durham paid the vendor in charge of booking Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival headliners $45,000.

That revelation comes days after Monica, the musical act touted as the headliner for the festival, failed to show up. She took to social media saying she was never contacted or contracted to perform at Bimbe.

Chris Weeks is listed as the vendor on the documents. He told ABC11 that he expects the city will get all of the $37,000 back by tomorrow.

He said the confusion that caused Monica to no-show was between her booking agent and her. He said he and city were all on the same page and went through the same process they've done in the past.

The contract obtained by the ABC11 I-Team details an initial deposit of $20,000 plus two additional payments of $8,500 in both March and April. That money was paid to the vendor in charge of booking Monica for the festival.

After the performance, another $8,000 was also supposed to be paid. The original contract lists the headliners as "Amerie" and "Monica."

In the contract, it says Durham city officials are due a full refund if "the artist/producer fails to perform." An amendment to the contract removes Amerie from the promise and leaves only Monica.

WATCH | Singer Monica disputes claim she was to perform at Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival

Disappointed fans of Monica wondered what was going on after she posted an IG video that she would not be performing at the 2024 Bimbe' cultural fesival.

Durham City Hall said it received confirmation from the booking agent on January 19 and February 9 that Monica would perform at the festival.

"We are deeply disappointed with this turn of events and are working fervently to determine how this happened. We sincerely apologize to guests who attend Bimbe and enjoy our festival."

Under Investigation

Durham's Mayor Leonardo Williams is aware of the situation and spoke to ABC11 on Monday about what happened.

"There was a drop in communication there. For her not to know at all that we are under contractual agreements that she would be there, someone may or may not be telling the truth here," he said. "I know that we aren't lying."

He said they had a contract.

"Our attorneys vetted it," Williams said. "We went through the whole process like we normally do, like we've done over 54 years. We are trying to find out where that ball was dropped between our representatives and her representatives."

He said, "We are getting every brown penny back" of a down payment that was part of that contractual agreement he mentioned.

Previously, when we requested an interview Saturday about the situation, we got texts from Williams that read, "I just got word that the matter is under investigation, and I've been asked to hold off on public comment. There may be potential criminal activity."

Bimbé is a free festival that celebrates African and African American heritage, arts and traditions, will still proceed as planned, with a lineup of regional performers.