LaBelle Breaks Down

Patti LaBelle apologized for her sub-par performance to fans who waited until midnight for her March 25th headline set at Florida’s Riviera Beach Jazz & Blues Festival.

After taking the stage in frigid weather, the Grammy-winning artist struggled to belt out a few notes, told her fans she’d understand if they walked out, then broke down into tears.

“I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life,” LaBelle said. “It’s the worst show I’ve ever done in my life.”

LaBelle explained that she’s nearly 62 and has diabetes and a heart murmur, so the cold weather wasn’t agreeing with her. South Florida reportedly reached record lows that evening, coupled with a brisk ocean breeze.

The performer managed to sing “Lady Marmalade” with some help from the audience, some gospel songs and “On My Own” before calling it a night.

The incident has Riviera Beach city officials questioning event manager Class C-1 Productions about the mishandling of LaBelle’s appearance, which reportedly had been pushed back two hours.

City Manager Bill Wilkins told the Palm Beach Post it was the lengthy tear down and setup time between acts that caused the delay. Mayor Michael Brown called it a “black eye” for the city.

City Council Chairwoman Liz Wade urged critics to not rush to judgment about the festival based on the LaBelle incident. Wade told the Post that concertgoers did not leave the site until LaBelle suggested it to them.

The city council will hold a workshop to evaluate the event including costs and whether to promote in-house or enter into future contracts with promoters, Wade told the paper. Class C-1 is contracted through the next event.

LaBelle was paid $125,000 up front for her appearance, Wilkins told the paper, and said the city will not seek a refund.