The owner of the music venue where Oliver Anthony was scheduled to play in Knoxville, Tenn., later this month wants country fans to understand what went wrong.

Chuck Ward, owner of Cotton Eyed Joe, sent a statement to media on Friday (Sept. 15), alleging that Anthony and his team broke a verbal agreement.

  • Anthony was schedule to play Cotton Eyed Joe on Sept. 27.
  • On Sept. 11, he pushed a video to social media telling fans not buy tickets.
  • The show was quickly canceled, and the "Rich Men North of Richmond" singer re-booked for Sept. 29 at the Knoxville Convention Center.

Related: Oliver Anthony Tour Dates [Updated]

Ward's statement contradicts Anthony's claim that his booking agent agreed to the show without knowing how much tickets and meet-and-greet passes would cost. That agent, Brian Prentice, "verbally stated Anthony requested $120,000 in compensation, plus two nights hotel accommodations," the statement reads.

Additionally, Prentice verbally agreed that Anthony would participate in a meet-and-greet prior to the concert. Cotton Eyed Joe suggested a ticket price of $99 per ticket for the concert and a concert/meet-and-greet combo ticket at a price of $199 per ticket. Prentice verbally agreed to both the concert ticket and the concert/meet-and-greet combo ticket prices and asked for Cotton Eyed Joe to produce a formal agreement.

Ward's full statement lists the dates of each conversation with Prentice. He says the initial agreement came on Sept. 6, and then on Sept. 9, Prentice called saying that the executed contract was forthcoming and Cotton Eyed Joe should announce the concert. The venue did that one day later, then on Sept. 11, everything blew up.

Anthony, the club owner says, took to social media before anyone from his team let the venue management know there was a problem.

"It wasn’t until after the media frenzy ensued that Cotton Eyed Joe received a phone call from Prentice expressing concern for the prices that had been previously agreed to, verbally," Ward writes, adding that had things been handled more professionally, a compromise could have been reached.

"Ultimately, on September 11, 2023, Prentice notified Cotton Eyed Joe of Anthony’s decision to end the discussions and cancel the September 27, 2023 event."

A since-deleted post on Cotton Eyed Joe's Facebook page said the 1,500 person venue would break even on the night and also takes responsibility for canceling the show. Anthony says his booking agent is a full-time plumber whom he hopes to hire as his booking agent.

"I am so sorry about all of this," Anthony writes to caption his video. "I will do better next time. We are still learning."

10 Artists We Totally Underestimated

Oliver Anthony is country music's newest underdog, but he's just next in line on a list of hitmakers that fans, the media and the music industry scoffed at.

This list of 10 artists we underestimated includes at least five legitimate superstars with dozens of No. 1 hits, two American Idol finalists and country music's first real viral sensation. Each has proven themselves worthy in ways nobody saw coming.

The Best Oliver Anthony Songs — His Entire Catalog, Ranked

A chronological listen of Oliver Anthony's songs shows a longterm effort to massage the themes present in "Rich Men of North Richmond." Fans will also find he's capable of so much more than being a blue collar folk hero.

The best Oliver Anthony songs are dynamic and complete. They also hold true to the buoyant optimism he speaks of during candid conversations on his YouTube page. Hope isn't always present, however — tracks released in late summer 2022 find the Virginia-raised singer on a dark path, singing of heartbreak and suicide. You can hear and see (if there's video) the strains of life across his face.

Taste of Country ranked all 16 songs Anthony has released so far. Most are cell phone recordings, but we didn't hold a lack of production quality against him. Instead, each song is rated based on strength of message, originality and overall appeal. "Rich Men ..." ranks third, which is not a criticism of his debut hit as much as it is praise of two other mostly unheard-of songs.

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