Up until Friday, August 27th, Modern Lovers singer Jonathan Richman was scheduled to headline LoveOly Summer Fest in Olympia, Washington — or so the organizers thought. As it turns out, the Olympia Film Society fell victim to “an elaborate booking scam” and neither Richman nor his publicist knew anything about the concert until they were contacted for an interview.
As reported by The Olympian, the scam was uncovered when Mark “Markly” Morrison, host of the Low Profile podcast, contacted Richman’s publicist Debbie Gulyas to request an interview with the veteran singer-songwriter. Both Gulyas and Richman were “confused,” as they had no knowledge about his festival appearance until receiving the email.
The Film Society, which books concerts for the weekly festival, had slated Richman to headline on Saturday, August 28th, after receiving a call from someone impersonating him. “We are shocked that this happened,” said the organization’s executive director Audrey Henley in a statement. “We’ve been booking bands for the past 30 years, and this is a first for us. We hope this does not in any way hurt our relationship with the real Jonathan Richman and that he will return to Olympia soon.”
Richman, who has performed in Olympia many times over the past 20 years, took the incident in stride, jokingly giving props to the impersonator in a statement of his own. “Did the guy who called you up manage to imitate my voice pretty good? Cuz if he did, you’ve got to hand it to him, most people can’t do it!” he wrote.
“But seriously now for just a second, I am sad for any disappointments and expenses caused to the Film Society and the fine people of Olympia. Of course I will come back to play for the Olympians!”
According to the organizers, the Olympia Police Department is investigating the scam.