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TOUR UPDATES: Labatt Blues Outfitters Tour America … And Much More!

Labatt Blue, the #1 Canadian import in America, will kick off a 19-week Labatt Blue Outfitters Tour on May 26, 2002 at the 2nd Annual Chippewa Street Block Party (Buffalo, NY), celebrating the official start of summer with the California band GoldFinger. Complete with a Canadian-style Labatt Blue Lodge and Labatt Blue Light Deck, the Labatt Blue Outfitters Tour will travel the Northeast and Midwest sections of the United States to the region's hottest outdoor events and festivals.

"Nothing says 'summer' like sitting outside on a beautiful deck enjoying a cold Labatt Blue or Blue Light," said Devin Kelly, brand director for the Canadian Brands at Labatt USA. "The Labatt Blue Outfitters tour brings summer hours to cities and towns throughout the Midwest and Northeast and will allow our beer drinkers to celebrate their summer in style."

The centerpiece of the tour is the Labatt Blue Summer Lodge, a self- contained custom-made 40-foot event trailer. The Lodge features a full-size bar with draft capability, an indoor fireplace, and multiple TV's with satellite access to dozens of world sporting events. The Lodge also features the Labatt Blue Light Deck, a 40 x 24 foot party deck with Adirondack-style chairs, outdoor tables as well as a rooftop deck. The Deck provides a stage for activities and games as well as audio capabilities for bands, DJs, and radio remotes. Customized banners and flags, neon signs and other decor items create an "instant" summer festival atmosphere.

The tour will make its way across the Northeast and Midwest stopping at events in Illinois, New York, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. In addition to the tour's launch in Buffalo at the Chippewa Street Block Party (May 26), the Labatt Blue Outfitters Tour stops include proprietary events as well as regional events and festivals. Highlights include the Dave Mason Concert at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Champion, PA, near Pittsburgh (June 8), Taste of Buffalo (July 4th weekend), Cleveland Grand Prix (July 11 – 14), and The World's Largest Deck Party in Detroit (August 22 – 25).

Smooth running requires road support. To that end, the tour has five full-time dedicated staffers traveling with the Labatt Blue Outfitters Tour. They'll manage the expected and the unexpected, assisting in promotional execution at every stop. Tour support includes plenty of advance promotion in local media, signage and on-premise promotions, all designed to lead loyal Labatt Blue and Blue Light consumers to the "ultimate brand experience."

Kevin McCarthy will headline this year's Labatt Blue Outfitters Tour throughout the summer. This year, the Lodge has added an additional element to the tour that will enable Labatt Blue's brand management team to interact with loyal consumers. Using state-of-the-art technology housed in an interactive kiosk and mobile hand-held units, the Outfitters Tour staff will sign up customers to receive an exclusive Labatt Blue Card. The Labatt Blue Card features member benefits such as a customized pin number, email alerts, Blue Bonus items and specials available only to card holders. After the event, Labatt Blue Card holders can receive instant access to contests, promotions, giveaways and more. The kiosk also offers unique "digital postcard" capabilities, so Lodge visitors can pose for a picture and then forward it by email to friends and family.

Lynyrd Skynyrd Takes on New Bassist

NEW HOPE, MS (AP) — Southern rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd has hired a replacement for bassist Leon Wilkeson, who died in his sleep last summer near Jacksonville at the age of 49. Bassist Wayne Evans said he was touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd last year, and Wilkeson taught him all his parts.

Lynyrd Skynyrd has embarked on their summer tour this week. Evans said it's the greatest experience, to be part of one of the few southern rock bands he liked as a kid. He calls himself not only a band member, but also a fan. He will be tipping his hat to Wilkeson during the tour. He had a picture of Wilkeson painted on a guitar face, which will be used as a prop during Skynyrd concerts.

The Southern rock band was formed in the Jacksonville, Fla. area in 1964 and are known for their 1974 single "Sweet Home Alabama."

Dark Star Orchestra Really Recreates The Grateful Dead

Dark Star Orchestra is not just a Grateful Dead cover band. It really recreates the Dead by playing exactly the same set of one of the Dead's 2,314 classic concerts down to the same set order replete with the same breaks and intermissions, similar placement of microphones on stage and even the same guitars and amplifiers from the same era. DSO does not tell the fanatic Dead audience which show it is recreating until after the performance. Since DSO has already played 654 different Dead shows, they are good for at least 1,660 concerts.

Dark Star recently performed at the Dead's old stomping grounds, The Warfield Theater in San Francisco, and the Dead's Bob Weir not only took in his first Dark Star show but also sat in for nearly an hour. DSO's "pseudo" Weir, Rob Eaton, sat out. His reasoning: There could not be two Bob Weir's on stage at the same time.

Radio City Entertainment Adds Four Markets For Xmas Show

Radio City Entertainment has added four markets to The Radio City Christmas Spectacular for a total of 10 markets, including seven simultaneously. The new cities are Dallas, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Phoenix in addition to New York, Branson, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Nashville.

The Spectacular is celebrating its 69th season in New York, ninth in Branson, sixth in Detroit and Chicago and second in Nashville and Cleveland.

Last year, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular attracted almost 2 million.

The 2002 schedule:

Branson (Grand Palace, October 31-December 8)
New York (Radio City Music Hall, November 8-January 5)

Dallas (Next Stage at Grand Prairie, November 14-December 8)

Indianapolis (Murat Theatre, November 15-December 8)

Nashville (Grand Ole Opry House, November 21-December 29)

Detroit (Fox Theatre, November 29-December 28)

Chicago (Rosemont Theatre, November 29-December 29)

Cleveland (State Theatre at Playhouse Square Center, December 12-29)

Phoenix (Dodge, December 13-19)

Minneapolis (Orpheum Theatre, December 13-January 5)

R&B Singer Tweet's Concerts Canceled

NEW YORK (AP) — She may sing about touching herself, but apparently music fans weren't exactly feeling Tweet.

The newcomer was to be on tour this week with Glenn Lewis, but the concert series has been canceled. reports nearly all of the dates have been canceled. The label isn't saying why the tour was canceled. However, MTV says a check of the venues where the tour was to stop indicated fans were taking a "hands off" approach to ticket sales.

Label representatives say the tour will be rescheduled, though no specific dates have been set. The original tour was to make stops in Washington, Philadelphia, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta and Chicago.