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Fans gather for Michael Jackson tribute concert
Question of the Day
“Everything we’ve done has been governed by one criterion _ would Michael have done it this way, would he approve, would he like it?” said Hunt, chief executive of Global Live Events. “We’re trying to do something worthy of one of the greatest showmen of modern times.”
Several fan groups around the world have criticized the event, not just for its timing, but for ticket prices that started at about $100 and for what some regard as an out-of-the-way location in Cardiff, 150 miles (240 kilometers) west of London.
Organizers also outraged many fans by inviting the rock band Kiss, whose bassist Gene Simmons told a magazine last year that there was “no doubt in my mind” that Jackson, who was acquitted of molestation charges in 2005, had abused children.
The invitation was hastily rescinded, but many fans remain angry.
“The fans are not happy that the Jackson estate is not involved,” said Wesley Noorhoff, president of a Dutch Michael Jackson fan club. “It seemed like they wanted to build a concert soon, to get money.
Hunt insisted the show would be a success. He said more than 40,000 tickets had been sold by Friday, and he was confident of reaching the venue’s 50,000 capacity.
Some of the proceeds will go to the AIDS Project Los Angeles and Prince’s Trust charities, and a portion will be placed in a trust fund for Jackson’s children, though organizers did not give an exact breakdown.
Hunt said 13 Jackson family members were scheduled to attend the concert, many of them appearing onstage.
“It’s a family’s tribute to their own,” he said. “I’m expecting it to be a hugely emotional evening.”
“I want the world to understand that my brother was more than just an entertainer,” he said. “There was a human side to him as well.”
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