This year in celebration of soul icon, James Brown, the historic Miller Theater (the second largest theater behind Atlanta’s Fox Theatre) will be hosting a FREE James Brown Birthday Bash at the theater on Friday, May 3, 2019. That’s right… FREE. The J.A.M.P. band will be featured along with the James Brown Band, special guest Bootsy Collins and a DJ Tribute to Sharon Jones (her birthday is May 4).
James Brown not only left his imprint on the music community when he busted in with the sounds, moves and soul like many had never seen, but he also left a major impression on what he considered his hometown of Augusta, GA and the city continues to celebrate and embrace the soul he left behind.
James Brown grew up in Augusta during the Great Depression and World War II. He overcame poverty and segregation to become an international music icon. Throughout his life, he made many civic, educational, and philanthropic contributions that provided hope and opportunity to those in need.
Here are a few ways Augusta and the community celebrate James Brown:
An exhibit dedicated to the man himself – James Brown Exhibit at The Augusta Museum of History
The museum houses the first and most comprehensive major exhibition dedicated to The Godfather of Soul. The museum director Nancy Glaser and Mr. Brown’s daughter, Deanna Brown Thomas, worked together to tell the story of The Man, The Music and The Legacy of Mr. James Brown through an interactive, visual and musically driven Exhibit.
- An array of costumes and personal artifacts worn by Brown from the 1960s and on
- A King of Soul crown worn by Brown in the 1950s
- Family photos with candid images of Brown and his children, on tour, at home, and during philanthropic activities
- Programs from the three James Brown Memorial Services held in New York, Augusta, and South Carolina
- Audio-visual stations featuring concert performance footage, highlighted tracks and studio recordings
- Excerpts of interviews with individuals who owe influence to Brown.
Plans to expand this popular exhibit are in the works.
A James Brown Statue downtown Augusta
Located on Broad Street, between James Brown Blvd and 8th Street Augusta, GA 30901
The life-size bronze statue of Mr. Brown in downtown Augusta contains the world’s only James Brown CAM which will take your photo and send it to your cell phone within minutes.
The Soul Bar
This downtown nightspot celebrates the rhythm and soul of the larger than life singer and other musical inspirations. Not only do they feature artists consistently who cover Brown’s songs, and tributes to the late and great artist, but the walls are filled with décor celebrating the Godfather of Soul.
Where the music making magic happened! – Imperial Theatre and Bell Auditorium
- Before leaving on world tours, Mr. Brown and his band, the Sound Generals, would rehearse at the Imperial Theatre. It’s also where he held his toy giveaways to needy children at Christmas, a tradition which continues in his honor today.
- James Brown recorded his live album, Sex Machine, at the Bell Auditorium. The James Brown Arena is a popular concert venue named in Mr. Brown’s honor. More than 8,500 fans attended a public funeral at the James Brown Area following the star’s death in 2006.
Street and Local Art
Visitors to the city will notice murals and photos spread amongst the streets, restaurants and local businesses honoring the life of the artist. One local art program, “art the box” was launched to add beauty to the eye sore electricity boxes throughout downtown and many locals took the opportunity to paint visuals of the artist for onlookers to enjoy.
Local Food and Drinks
Get on the Good Foot and stop in to one of these restaurants or breweries that feature dishes to Mr. Brown.
- Riverwatch Brewery – releasing a habanero milk stout named after legendary musician James Brown, called “God Father of Stout” in December/January.
- Savannah River Brewing offers a beer named after James Brown called, “Dynamite.”
- Nacho Mama’s – burrito called “the godfather”
- T-Bonz Restaurant was James Brown favorite restaurant – visitors can make a special request to try one of his favorite dishes and to sit in the booth he sat in when visiting the restaurant.