LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) – The organizers of a controversial Michael Jackson Tribute concert said on Tuesday they were going ahead with the event, but they offered disgruntled fans the chance to air their concerns in a global conference call.
“We are 100 percent going ahead. We will continue to announce names for the line-up. We are moving forward and now we will try to address issues that have been raised by fans,” Juliette Harris, a spokeswoman for Global Events Live told Reuters.
Harris said members of verified Jackson fan clubs will be invited to take part in a conference call on Tuesday, Aug. 30, in which promoters of the Oct. 8 tribute in Wales will try to allay their concerns.
Some 35 Jackson fans clubs have called for the tribute concert to the “Thriller” singer to be called off, saying it is “doomed to fail.” They are unhappy with confusion over charitable donations from ticket revenue, the timing of the concert during the involuntary manslaughter trial in Los Angeles of Jackson’s doctor, and the invitation (now withdrawn) to rock band Kiss.
Kiss frontman Gene Simmons has in the past called Jackson a child molester. The pop singer, who died in Los Angeles in June 2009 at age 50, was acquitted of all charges in a 2005 child sex abuse trial.
Attorneys for Jackson’s estate have also expressed concerns about the tribute, which is supported by the singer’s mother Katherine and several of her children, but not by Jackson brothers Jermaine and Randy Jackson.
Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Smokey Robinson, as well as several British acts will perform Jackson songs along with their own material at the tribute. Beyonce will also beam in a cover version of one Jackson hit by satellite.
Harris said many more performers would be announced shortly. She said she had not seen the open letter from the fan clubs but organizers want to respond in next week’s conference call to some of the issues that have surfaced.
Tickets for the show at the 75,000-seat Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, range from 55 pounds to 240 pounds (about $90-$390).