Westlife has added still more dates to its U.K. tour, with the total number of arena shows now standing at 25, which is equivalent to nearly 200,000 tickets sold a year in advance.

Dates have been added at all venues. Wembley Arena and Glasgow SECC top the league with five shows apiece, and Manchester Evening News Arena and Birmingham NEC are catching up with a fourth show due to go on sale this week.

Westlife’s tour is promoted by Triple A and booked by Solo (not booked and promoted by Solo as previously reported). It is likely to stretch to at least 40 shows, which will give fellow popsters Steps (also promoted by Triple A) a run for their money in the race to notch up the biggest arena tour on record.

By the end of this year, Steps will have played 50 arenas and Triple A is due to go on sale with the act’s first open-air dates. This summer, Steps will play the Route of Kings seated, open-air arena in Hyde Park, London, and also Cardiff Castle.


Beth Orton‘s forthcoming tour of Ireland has been canceled after the singer was advised by doctors to take at least two months off. The singer has Crohn’s Disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation in the small intestine, and doctors have advised a regime of rest and diet. The five-date tour was due to start April 27 in Cork and finish in Belfast May 3.


The annual Berlin Love Parade looks set to export its message of world harmony to a techno beat this year. The dance party, which attracts more than 1 million people to dance through the streets of Berlin every summer, will also take place in Vienna and Leeds.

The Berlin and Leeds Love parades will take place July 8 and the Vienna Love Parade will take place July 1.


Trouble broke out at a concert last month by Spanish anarchist group La Polla in Buenos Aires. Some 170 youths were arrested and two police officers injured in the riots on the outskirts of the Argentine city. The band from Spain’s Basque region is known for its anti-establishment lyrics.

According to reports by the Agencia EFE SA, the trouble broke out in the early hours of April 22, when 400 fans were prevented from entering the club where La Polla was playing. The club was packed with 500 fans and police were forced to intervene to disperse the rioters who were causing trouble outside.

Each time the band has played Argentina, its visits have been marked by violence, arrests and injuries, the report said.


Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture and Information is implementing new measures to keep tabs on live performances.

According to the IPS-Inter Press Service, the new legislation will require all singers, dancers and musicians to obtain a permit before performing live. The controversial new laws will test all entertainers on vocal abilities, music theory, morals and adherence to Communist Party principles.

A five-year permit will be granted to those who pass; those who fail will be given a six-month permit. The permits stipulate that performances in remote areas must be done for free. The new laws also prohibit lip-synching and the amendment of lyrics during performances.

Some academics were pleased with the new regulations, arguing they will improve the quality of Vietnam’s music scene.

Meanwhile, some artists were less than thrilled. “It is ridiculous to force veteran singers to undergo examinations to gain an operation permit,” pop singer Phuong Thanh told IPS.

Others, however were ambivalent, agreeing with academics that the measures will bring some order to what has been described as a “chaotic” music industry.

Piracy and corrupt promoters have been blamed for some of the industry’s problems. Piracy has been a particular bone of contention for artists, who must rely on concert appearances, instead of CD sales, as their major revenue source.

Vietnam is yet to sign the International Copyright Agreement.


Smash Japan, organiser of the legendary Fuji Rock Festival, continues to add a slew of artists to this year’s lineup. Returning to last year’s location at Naeba, some 100 miles outside Tokyo, the highly anticipated music fest is set to take place July 28-30.

Joining a schedule that already includes British punk/jungle masterminds Asian Dub Foundation, Run DMC, Sonic Youth, and Primal Scream are Eagle-Eye Cherry, drum ‘n’ bass artist Roni Size, and Stereolab. The promoter promises even more additions over the coming months.