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Lionel Richie, Diana Ross to headline new Live Nation fest

Lionel Richie and Diana Ross will headline the inaugural Fool In Love festival, produced by Live Nation and Redrock Entertainment.

The debut instalment promises to deliver “legendary performances from pop, soul, and R&B greats” including Santana, Al Green, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, The Isley Brothers, Charlie Wilson, Eric Burdon & The Animals, The O’Jays, The Jacksons and many more.

The one-day event will take place on 31 August at Hollywood Park on the grounds adjacent to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

Santana, Al Green, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, The Isley Brothers will perform

Spanning nearly 300 acres, Hollywood Park is the largest urban mixed-use development under construction in the western United States.

Also slated to perform at the park are Smokey Robinson, Dionne Warwick, the Stylistics, the Chi-Lites, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Zapp, Kool & the Gang, Rose Royce and Morris Day & the Time.

War, the Spinners, the Whispers, Durand Jones & the Indications, Barbara Mason, Mayer Hawthorne, the Delfonics, the Stylistics, Los Lobos, Stevie B, Heatwave, the Bar Kays feat. Larry Dodson, Cameo, Shalamar, S.O.S. Band, Dazz Band, the Legendary Blue Notes, Bloodstone, Frankie J, Con Funk Shun, the Pointer Sisters, the Mary Jane Girls and many more are also on the bill.

GA, GA+, VIP and Platinum tickets will be available with layaway payment plans starting at US$19.99 down.


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BBC reveals most-viewed Glastonbury sets

Sets by Paul McCartney and Diana Ross drew the biggest UK TV audiences at this year’s Glastonbury festival, the BBC has revealed.

McCartney’s Saturday night Pyramid Stage headline performance saw him joined by surprise guests Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl, in addition to performing a virtual duet with John Lennon.

The former Beatle’s near three-hour set averaged 2.7 million viewers on BBC One and peaked at 3.9m, while Ross’ 75-minute Sunday legend slot had an average audience of 3.1m, peaking at 3.8m.

According to Broadcast, the broadcaster’s coverage of the festival’s Friday night, which saw 20-year-old Billie Eilish becoming Glastonbury’s youngest ever headliner, attracted 1.2m. Its Sunday evening coverage averaged 1.4m prior to Kendrick Lamar’s headline appearance, which garnered 570,000 viewers.

“The BBC provided the ultimate armchair experience of the world’s best-loved festival”

The BBC has also confirmed record breaking figures across its digital platforms for its coverage of the 2022 festival.

Content was streamed 34.1m times on BBC iPlayer, including 23m streams live – the highest on record for a BBC programme brand – and was played 2.3m times on BBC Sounds.

Streams rocketed 116% on BBC iPlayer and 205% on BBC Sounds from the most recent festival in 2019, up from 15.8m and 765,000 respectively.

“The BBC provided the ultimate armchair experience of the world’s best-loved festival this weekend with a dedicated Glastonbury channel on BBC iPlayer, 6 Music’s All Day Glastonbury coverage, performances from the biggest artists on demand on BBC Sounds and over 35 hours of coverage across our TV channels,” says BBC director of music Lorna Clarke.

There were secret sets by the likes of Jack White and George Ezra

Other acts at the 210,000-cap 22-26 June extravaganza included Crowded House, Lorde, Pet Shop Boys, Sam Fender, Megan thee Stallion, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Olivia Rodrigo, Little Simz, Wolf Alice, Glass Animals, Burna Boy, Arlo Parks, Haim, Blossoms, Sigrid, Girl in Red, Charli XCX, Celeste, Wolf Alice, Fontaines DC, Foals, Idles and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. There were also secret sets by the likes of Jack White and George Ezra.

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis paid tribute to the festival’s long-serving commercial director Robert Richards, who died aged 65 following a short illness, in this year’s official programme.

“I’ll miss him so much,” wrote Eavis. “He should have worked for years and years but he was sadly taken before his time. I am very sad and upset to lose this remarkable man.”

Glastonbury’s scheduled 50th anniversary 2020 edition and 2021 event were both cancelled due to the pandemic. The BAFTA Award-winning Live at Worthy Farm ticketed livestream was staged last year in its place.

The past weekend is believed to have been the UK’s biggest ever for live music, with more than one million people attending concerts.


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All-star billing for Queen’s platinum jubilee concert

Queen, Diana Ross and Elton John are among the artists slated to perform at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee concert.

Duran Duran, Craig David, Eurovision singer Sam Ryder, Ella Eyre, Elbow, Alicia Keys, Hans Zimmer, Mabel, Jax Jones, Celeste, Andrea Bocelli, Sigala and Nile Rodgers will also appear in front of Buckingham Palace in London.

The Platinum Party at the Palace will be watched by 22,000 people live and will be broadcast on BBC One on 4 June.

Queen guitarist Brian May will return, 20 years after he famously performed on the palace roof for the Golden Jubilee.

The legendary pop group and their frontman Lambert will open the concert to mark the monarch’s 70 years on the throne.

Ross said she was “absolutely delighted to receive an invitation to perform on such a momentous and historic occasion”

The show will be closed by veteran soul singer Ross, who said she was “absolutely delighted to receive an invitation to perform on such a momentous and historic occasion”.

Sir Elton John will take part too, although his performance will be pre-recorded because he is currently on a European tour.

The two-and-a-half-hour Platinum concert will feature three stages and 3D projections across the face of the palace.

A ballot for 5,000 tickets opened in March; some tickets will also be handed out to selected charities.

Other events will include a carnival pageant on the streets of London, featuring performances by Ed Sheeran and Sir Cliff Richard.

Platinum Party at the Palace


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Nile Rodgers steals the show at ILMC 34

Nile Rodgers brought the house down at ILMC 34, regaling the (Late) Breakfast Meeting with tales of his work with legends such as David Bowie, Prince and Diana Ross.

The Chic co-founder even squeezed in a shout out to his promoter, Live Nation’s Phil Bowdery, during yesterday’s 90-minute chat with former Dire Straits manager and raconteur Ed Bicknell.

The multi-award winning, genre-defying musician, whose career stretches over five decades, has written, produced and performed on albums that have sold over 500 million units worldwide, and 75 million singles. In 2018, he co-founded Hipgnosis Songs with manager Merck Mercuriadis.

“No one in the club was talking to him, because he didn’t look like David Bowie”

Here is a selection of some of his best anecdotes from yesterday’s interview…

David Bowie & Billy Idol

“David had just been dropped from his record label. I was about to get dropped from mine. The day that we met, we met early in the morning. I thought that I had driven up to this brand new after hours club in New York, called The Continental, with Billy Idol. But, in fact, what happened is I had driven there with someone else, but Billy was right there at the front door. Billy and I loved each other, we partied all the time. We walk in the club and Billy goes, ‘Bloody hell, that’s David fucking Bowie!’ And as he says ‘Bowie’, he barfs, because he had been putting down the sauce all night.”

David Bowie

“At that point, I had seen David. It was so strange because no one in the club was talking to him, because he didn’t look like David Bowie. It was the beginning of the metrosexual look, and he was dressed in a suit while everybody else was all club kitted out. He was the only one that looked like he ran Exxon or something. It was so weird, he was completely by himself. We start talking, and right away, it flipped from us talking about pop music to jazz. I now find out that David Bowie is a complete jazz freak, as a matter of fact, an aficionado. So now we’re trying to out-jazz each other. We’re going for the most underground avant-garde shit ever, it’s like we were playing poker. We’re just going on and on and on and on and on. And it was like no one else in the world existed. We found our thing, and we talked for hours and hours. At some point, he must have asked me for my phone number. A couple of weeks had gone by and my house was being rebuilt, and one of the workers said to me, ‘Hey, Mr Rodgers, some fucking guy keeps calling up every day saying he’s David Bowie.’ I said, ‘Well what did you do?’ He said, ‘I hung up on the cocksucker!’ I said, ‘The next time that cocksucker calls, could you give me the phone? That is David Bowie!’ Anyway, I finally take the call. He and I laugh and we joke. And it was magic, it was so magical because he got dropped. I was getting dropped. By the time we decide that decide we’re going to make this record [Let’s Dance] together, it was just the two of us against the world.”

“There’s no Prince. We finish the song and I see him running away”


“The first time I played with him was here in London, at some little joint in Camden. I walk in and all I hear is Prince go something like, ‘Oh my God, Nile Rodgers.’ He was playing guitar, he and [Ronnie] Wood. I walk up on stage, he gives me the guitar and he sits down on the keyboards and starts calling out R&B tunes. Poor Woody, who is a sweetheart, didn’t know any of these songs. So Prince and I are all into it, but Woody’s looking for the key and looking for the groove. We finished the first song and I said, ‘I think you should sit down now,’ and it was all cool. It was all love, because we were having the time of our lives. So Ron sits down and then Prince and I… I don’t even know how long we played. The next day I bought every rose in London, and [Prince] told me that when he got back to his room, it was filled with thousands of purple roses. I guess I went overboard, I was so happy with that jam.”

Prince (Part II)

“Years later, we’re playing down in Turks and Caicos where I have a home. Prince has one there too because when he found out that I was building a recording studio, he said, ‘Really? Okay, I’m going to move to Turks and Caicos!’ I never built the recording studio, I’ve got a little writers’ room, but Prince moves down there. We’re doing a concert and Prince happens to be on the island. He comes over and he says, ‘Yo, can I play Let’s Dance with you guys?’ ‘Hell, yes, of course, bro!’ We get to the middle of the show where we do Let’s Dance and I say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, a really great friend of mine and a really great artist – Prince!’ And we go into the song, but there’s no Prince. We finish the song and I see him running away. I’m like, ‘What the hell?’ A year later, we were playing in New Orleans at the Essence Festival to 70,000 people. He says to me, ‘Hey Nile, can I come out and play Let’s Dance with you?’ ‘Of course Prince, but I’m not falling for it this time.’ So we set up his gear, we play Let’s Dance and we get to the part where we have the whole audience jumping up and down. In the middle of the jump sequence, we heard this roar. And I look to my left, and there’s Prince with one hand in the air jumping up and down with his guitar strapped on. He’s soloing his ass off and he’s killing it. We’re jamming together and it was amazing, it was like my heart was flying. I happened to post a picture of Prince jumping up and down with me and I’m waiting for how long it’s going to take for him to pull it down. [But] Prince reposts the picture. And this is exactly what it says. No words. And I feel like a gazillion dollars. I never had another encounter with him. I never called him and thanked him. I never did anything because he wound up passing away fairly soon after that event. But it was amazing. When you’re a live musician, everything is about playing, giving back and sharing. That’s the shit I live for.”

“We had to fight every step of the way to give her the biggest album of her life”

Diana Ross

“Every song I’ve ever written is based on a non-fiction event, and then we use fictional elements to help complete the story. One night, I’m club hopping and I go to this transvestite club because they have the best music, they don’t have to worry about the Top 40 records, they can play all the records that they think that the crowd is going to be down with. I go to the bathroom. I’m standing there at this trough and on either side of me are at least five Diane Ross impersonators, and a light bulb goes off in my head – I’ve got to write a song about the queer community’s love of Diana Ross. So I call [Chic co-founder Bernard Edwards] and I say, ‘Bro, write down, “I’m coming out,” because I’m gonna stay up, I’m gonna get drunk and I’m gonna forget this. Imagine that she walks out on stage and the first words out of her mouth are, “I’m coming out.” We’re gonna sell a million records just to the queer community alone!’ The next day, he comes in the studio and we put together I’m Coming Out. Today, to you guys that probably just sounds like a pop record. But when we wrote that, [Motown founder] Berry Gordy was furious. He was like, ‘Whoa, this is not a Diana Ross record.’ After months of lawsuits and this and that, they decided to put it out. The biggest record of Diana Ross’s life is the album Diana. We had to fight, fight, fight, fight, every step of the way, to give her the biggest album of her life, and I’m so proud that we had that fight. I’m Coming Out has historically meant something to the LGBTQ+ community, which is exactly how I got the idea that first place.”

Phil Bowdery

“He works his butt off. He’s the sweetest, sweetest guy, and we work in a business where I’m fortunate to have worked with some wonderful, charming people. I’d like to say a few things about him because he’s just so awesome. He’s been a part of my life for a number of years now. He’s celebrating his 50th year in the business, which is amazing to me. And I just want to give thanks to him for being one of the loveliest guys I know. Happy 50th Phil, I love you. David [Bowie] always called me ‘Darling’? Well, Phil always calls you ‘love’. I just want to say, ‘Thank you, love,’ to Phil Bowdery.”


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ASM Global to manage Baltimore venue

Venue management giant ASM Global has added Baltimore’s Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric (2,565-cap.) to its expanding portfolio.

The Modell Lyric joins recent ASM additions the Gateshead Quays (12,500-cap.) in the UK the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium (23,000-cap.) in Ohio, USA. ASM Global also holds a 25% stake in Australian stadium operator VenuesLive.

ASM Global, which formed as the result of a mega-merger between AEG Facilities and SMG, has a five-year agreement with the Lyric Foundation for management of the Baltimore venue. An Outback Concerts-promoted Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band show will be the first to take place under ASM’s management on 16 and 17 June 2020.

“We are excited to welcome the Lyric to the ASM Global family of performing arts centres,” says Bob Newman, president and CEO of ASM Global. “We have a long and successful history in Baltimore at the Royal Farms Arena (14,000-cap.) and more recently at MECU Pavilion (4,400-cap.).

“ASM Global understands the Lyric’s vision and mission”

“The Lyric further expands our portfolio in the region and compliments the other two facilities, enabling us to better serve our patrons, promoters and partners in the area.”

“We are happy that our first booking at the Lyric is Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band,” adds Bob Papke, vice president of theatres for ASM Global. “The Modell Lyric is an incredible venue and we look forward to bringing a variety of artists and attractions to the theater.”

John Denick, chair of the Lyric Foundation comments that ASM Global “understand[s] the Lyric’s vision and mission.

“They represent a great opportunity for growth, and we look forward to a long and successful relationship,” says Denick.

The Modell Lyric, a not-for-profit performing arts centre serving the greater Baltimore area, has hosted acts including Aretha Franklin, Robbie Williams, Chris Rock, Diana Ross, Santana and the Grateful Dead.

Tickets for the Ringo Starr show go on sale at 10 a.m. EST today (Friday 15 November) here.


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New Orleans’ Essence draws ‘record’ 4bn impressions

Essence Festival – an annual celebration of African-American music at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (76,468-cap.) in New Orleans – welcomed more than 470,000 attendees to its 24th edition last week, increasing attendance by 25,000 and garnering what organisers call a “record-breaking” four billion impressions on social media.

Complementing a night-time concert series (headliners were Diana Ross, John Legend, Chance the Rapper and Mary J. Blige), the festival once again featured “entertainment, empowerment and cultural experiences” targeted at black Americans, with actress Halle Berry, film director Ava DuVernay, civil-rights campaigner Al Sharpton and spiritual leader Iyanla Vanzant among the more than 100 speakers.

In addition to increasing attendance by ~6%, organisers say posts tagged with the #EssenceFest hashtag drew 4bn+ impressions on social media, with the festival also trending daily on Twitter.

This, say promoters, is a new record – although it should be noted iHeartRadio claimed its 2015 festival generated more than 6.5bn impressions. (New record or not, 4bn social engagements with an arguably fairly niche festival is undeniably impressive.)

Essence Festival is produced by Essence Festivals LLC, a division of Essence Communications (the publisher of the eponymous magazine), and New Orleans-based Solomon Group. Sponsors in 2017 included AT&T, Ford, McDonald’s, Walmart and naming partner Coca-Cola.


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