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(Credit: Rounder Records)


Jonathan Richman impersonator scams Olympia music festival


The Olympia Film Society has fallen prey to “an elaborate booking scam”, in which somebody impersonating Jonathan Richman booked the artist to play the LoveOly Summer Fest in Olympia, Washington. Neither the real Richman nor his booking agent knew anything about the scheduled headline performance until press officials started getting in touch to request interviews. Unfortunately for fans, Richman has since cancelled the concert.

As The Olympian reported, the scam was exposed when the podcast host Mark Markle Morrison attempted to contact Richman’s events publicist, Debbie Gulyas, hoping to obtain an interview with the singer-songwriter and ex-Modern Lovers frontman. The request came much to the surprise of Gulyas, who was deeply “confused”, as she’d heard nothing of the concert until receiving Morrison’s email.

But the news came as even more of a surprise to The Olympia Film Society, which books acts for weekly concerts throughout the summer. The society had no idea the person calling them was not Richman, and by the time Debbie Gulyas called out the scammers, the artist had already been booked to headline the festival on August 28th.

In a statement, Audrey Henley, the festival’s executive director, wrote: “We are shocked that this happened. 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.”

Thankfully, the real Richman saw the humour in the situation. In a statement of his own, he wrote: “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”. However, Richman also explained his frustration, writing: “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!”

It has been reported that The Olympia Police Department is currently investigating the scam.