Orlando Music Festival producer pleads not guilty to fraud charges

James Walker Watson arrested in May

James Walker Watson, Jr., speaks to News 6 reporter Erik Sandoval at the Central Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando. (Erik Sandoval, Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The executive producer of the canceled Orlando Music Festival has pleaded not guilty to wire fraud charges in Texas.

James Walker Watson was arrested in May, just weeks before the Orlando Music Festival was set to take place at the Central Florida Fairgrounds.

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Watson stands accused of bilking investors out of more than $3 million when he organized the Southfork Music Festival just outside Dallas.

Watson was denied bond by a federal magistrate when he was arrested, and he was returned to the custody of U.S. Marshals at his arraignment, this week.

The judge set a preliminary trial date of October 7.

To date, none of the ticket holders for the Orlando Music Festival has received a refund from the festival.

Festival organizers sent an email to ticket holders last week, insisting refunds were coming, but “protocols” needed to be followed. They did not clarify what those protocols were when News 6 asked for clarification.

FBI investigators told News 6 they want to speak to anyone who may have invested money with Watson in his Texas music festival or the event that was canceled in Orlando.

Contact can be made by contacting ic3.gov, tips.fbi.gov or 800-CALL-FBI.

About the Author:

Erik Sandoval joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2013 and became an Investigator in 2020. During his time at News 6, Erik has covered several major stories, including the 2016 Presidential campaign. He was also one of the first reporters live on the air at the Pulse Nightclub shooting.