Jackson tribute show goes on despite setbacks

Thu Oct 6, 2011 6:41am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - A Michael Jackson tribute concert will go ahead this weekend in Wales despite squabbling among the late singer's siblings, a backlash from fans, a headline act withdrawing at late notice and tickets still unsold.

Chris Hunt, head of Global Live Events which is staging the Saturday "Michael Forever" gig in Cardiff, admitted that preparations had been challenging, but blamed "misinformation" for some of the negative headlines.

"I've never been in a situation in my entire career like it where so many false rumors emerged as if from nowhere," Hunt told Reuters in a telephone interview.

He denied reports that the promoters had fallen out with Jackson's estate and said that any large family like that of the "King of Pop" was bound to have disagreements, particularly one that lived in the bright media glare.

"It's going to be a huge and spectacular event," Hunt said of the gig at the Millennium Stadium, where there will be room for over 60,000 people.

Taking part in the concert will be Jackson's brothers Marlon, Tito and Jackie and his sister La Toya, who will be performing live in public for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Also expected to be present are his mother Katherine, three children and several other close family members.

Brothers Jermaine and Randy, however, criticized the tribute because it coincided with the involuntary manslaughter trial in Los Angeles of Jackson's doctor. Janet Jackson has declined to take part citing the same reason.   Continued...