By Jen Heger – Radar Legal Editor
The Beverly Hills Wine Festival, which is taking place in Beverly Hills at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, had planned a tribute to Whitney Houston, on February 26, which would have included a cognac and champagne tasting, RadarOnline.com is exclusively reporting.
Houston passed away on Saturday afternoon after she was found unconscious and unresponsive in her bathtub at the iconic hotel. The award winning singer was declared dead by paramedics at 3:55 p.m. PST.
According to a press release from event organizers: “Remembering Whitney” was going to “honor our dear friend Whitney Houston” by hosting a show dedicated to “her timeless music and powerful voice.” Ticket prices were expensive, ranging from $150-300. Attendees would have walked a red carpet, and sipped acclaimed champagne, Armand de Brignac, and participated in an intimate cognac tasting.
This event wasn’t sanctioned or approved by the Houston family, and sources close to the situation tell RadarOnline.com that they were disgusted when they learned about the event.
“It was a tacky, and tasteless tribute to Whitney,” a source close to the situation tells RadarOnline.com. “A wine festival honoring Whitney at the hotel where she DIED? Members of Whitney’s inner circle conveyed their concerns to Beverly Hilton Hotel management and they were assured the event would be quashed. There was no way the Beverly Hilton would allow this event to take place at the hotel where Whitney had just died.”
Entertainment was going to include a band founded by Whitney’s mother, Cissy, The Sweet Inspirations. Other groups scheduled were the Agape International Choir, Eddi Wakes and a 17-piece jazz group The Fabulous Esquires Big Band.
The event was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on February 26, and end at 6 p.m. However, the event has now been canceled after event organizers were told there was a conflict with the Beverly Hilton Hotel, which is unspecified.
The Bodyguard star admitted, in several television interviews, to her battle with drugs and alcohol. Houston was drinking heavily in the days before she died, and appeared intoxicated at a nightclub in Hollywood two days before she died.
The funeral for Houston will take place in Newark, New Jersey on Saturday morning.