Hold the front page! No sooner had it appeared as if a second U2 show at County Meath’s 80,000-capacity Slane Castle looked to be a forlorn hope, intervention from Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and Environment Minister Noel Dempsey means disappointed fans may well have a chance to see the band.

The first show sold out in 45 minutes and the state of the laws that licence the country’s shows means there simply isn’t time to add a second August date, but Ahern and Dempsey intend to fast-track a change in the law that would make a second show possible.

In a joint statement, they said they’ll introduce as a priority measure a new licensing system that would shorten the decision-making process.

Many disappointed fans had queued for 24 hours to buy their tickets and the police were called to calm down furious scenes when some refused to disperse.

According to The Irish Times, a lot of them felt their efforts were thwarted because the majority of tickets were sold on the Internet and telephone, but Justin Green of promoter MCD denied that was the case.

He explained, “We had 65 outlets where tickets could be bought over the counter and all went on sale simultaneously. Of the 80,000 tickets available, we know that at least 70 percent were bought over the counter.”

Balkan States

Although Albanian separatists have stepped up their terrorist activities in neighbouring Macedonia, the region’s major concert promoters feel there’s very little chance of the violence developing into a crisis that will spread throughout the Balkan States.

As the Macedonian government pours in more troops and weapons to counter the Albanian rebel insurgence, local promoter Oliver Belopeta is the only person who feels he is in any imminent danger of cancelling shows. He has promoted Skopje’s annual jazz festival for more than 20 years and also has an Orbital show scheduled for mid-June.

Belopeta is understandably weary of the area’s ongoing troubles and told Pollstar, “There’s no Milosevic anymore, so there’s no real need for these problems. The rebels want a larger Albania and that means taking parts of Macedonia and Serbia, although the Albanians are already well-represented in the governments of both countries.

“I will speak to Orbital over the next couple of days. I want to reassure them because I understand that nobody likes to appear in a country that appears unstable.”

Nick Hobbs of Charmenko, which has Sneaker Pimps scheduled for Ljubljana in April and Living Colour in Slovenia in July, sees little chance of the problem spreading throughout the area.

He said, “So much has happened there in the last 10 years that we’ve sort of become used to it. At the moment, it’s just in Albania and Macedonia, and neither are on the major concert circuit. As far as neighbouring countries are concerned, the problems in what was Yugoslavia never affected the markets in Greece and Bulgaria.” Igor Vidmar of Slovenia’s Ropot Promotions, which has Nick Cave booked for early June, is another to say there’s no impact on shows in his country, although he added, “It further delays the re-establishment of a touring link with Greece through Macedonia, so let’s hope this is the last episode of a long and unfortunate saga.”


Having already pleased heavy rock fans by confirming that Guns N’ Roses and Tool will appear at this year’s event, the 70,000-capacity Roskilde Festival has produced quite a coup by announcing that the June 28 to July 1 event will also be the only European festival appearance for Robbie Williams this year.


The Esparrago Rock 2001 festival is shaping up to be a great event with the recent additions to its lineup. Last month’s announcement of Ozomatli, Fishbone, and Aterciopelados, among others was received with great enthusiasm.

Beck and Placebo were announced to play the event with Beck headlining on July 14 and Placebo still to be confirmed for one of the two festival days, the 14th or 15th.

The festival, taking place in Jerez in the south of Spain, also has Asian Dub Foundation and Spanish female rapper Mala Rodriguez on the bill. Promoter Munster Touring expects to have more than 40 groups on the bill.

In related news, Placebo will visit Spain in late March hitting Bilbao on the 23rd and Barcelona on the 27th, this time with promoter Dr. Music.


Another batch of acts have been confirmed for the Fuji Rock Festival in July. On March 16, Alanis Morissette, Ani DiFranco, Echo & the Bunnymen, New Order, powderfinger, and Ron Sexsmith were added to the dozen or so artists already signed up.

The participation of Morissette, DiFranco, and the already announced Rickie Lee Jones means that there will be at least two more foreign female solo artists at this year’s festival than there were last year.