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TOURING & FESTIVAL NEWS: Third Bonnaroo Music Festival Set For June 11-13

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – Superfly Productions and A.C. Entertainment have set the dates for the third annual Bonnaroo Music Festival for June 11 – 13. The three-day camping and music festival will once again be held on the same pristine, 600-acre farm in Manchester, TN, 60 miles southeast of Nashville.

Festival organizers reconfirm their commitment to the task of making each Bonnaroo a unique experience while retaining the core concepts. With a focus on spontaneity and live performance prowess, Bonnaroo is a one-of-a-kind event, where top-quality artists from a range of genres perform freewheeling sets for unwaveringly supportive crowds. “Artists and fans have made Bonnaroo a very special event,” says Superfly’s Jonathan Mayers, “and we are going to continue to provide the right elements to produce a music experience of the highest quality.”

A creative and cultural mega-success, Bonnaroo has featured everything from cutting edge DJs and hip-hop artists to gospel music and indie rock, in addition to beloved roots rock artists such as The Dead, Widespread Panic, and the Allman Brothers Band. Bonnaroo also features a host of activities and festival extras to enhance the experience. Past attractions include artist interviews and workshops, a sonic village, a brewer’s festival tent, and a 24-hour cinema tent, along with visual design elements such as a lighted fountain, barricades covered with artful murals, and giant bobble heads created by cutting edge artists. Boasting a wildly dedicated fan base, Bonnaroo 2002 and 2003 sold 70,000 and 80,000 tickets respectively in a matter of days, with no traditional advertising and only a small portion of acts and attractions announced. Organizers are expecting the same enthusiastic turnout in 2004.

The Bonnaroo Music Festival has spawned a series of corollary media products, including three volumes of live CDs, and two DVD documentaries featuring live footage from the 2002 and 2003 festivals. Released by Sanctuary Records Group and produced by John Alagia (Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, Blue Man Group), the 2003 CD, is a follow-up to last year’s Live From the Bonnaroo Music Festival double-disc CD, and the Bonnaroo, Vol. 2 single-disc. The 2003 Bonnaroo documentary DVD, 270 Miles From Graceland, features live festival performances, along with artist, fan, and staff interviews. Produced by pop music photographer/documentarian Danny Clinch (the official photographer of the 2002 and 2003 Bonnaroo photo galleries), the DVD follows up the Live From Bonnaroo 2002 DVD. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Music Midtown Sets Festival Date

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – The 11th annual Music Midtown music festival in Atlanta, that annually draws 300,000 fans to the city and the top names in talent, is set for April 30-May 2.

Tickets go on sale in March with three-day passes to the festival for $45. Single day passes will also be made available. The Festival grounds will once again be situated in the heart of Midtown Atlanta and will encompass 40 plus acres and multiple stages.

Among those performing last year were Ashanti, Bob Dylan, Cracker, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Def Leppard, Godsmack, Live, Steve Winwood and Tony Bennett, among numerous others.

The festival is produced by Alex Cooley and Peter Conlon, founders of concert promotion firm, Concert Southern, which is now a part of Clear Channel Entertainment. — Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

Apalachee Blues Society To Hold 10th Freedom Blues Festival January 15-18

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – The Apalachee Blues Society's 10th Annual Freedom Blues Festival in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will be held January 15 – 18 in Tallahassee, FL, at the Bradfordville Blues Club. The festival opens with a Blues in History program called Children of the Blues. Led by the Tallahassee Blues Review Band featuring "Sir" Charles Atkins, Jon Copps and Randall (Big Daddy) Webster, this blues education evening is produced with a grant from the Florida Humanities Council and is free and open to the public.

Festival headliners are Bobby Rush, featured in the recent PBS Blues series, Pam Laws, E.C. Scott, the Lee Boys, Delta Moon, Eddie Kirkland, Kelly Richey and more. — Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Mr. Bojangles: The Ultimate Entertainer To Tour Casinos

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – In early 2004, the year that marks Sammy Davis Jr.'s 75th anniversary in show business, a new show is opening, entitled "Mr. Bojangles: The Ultimate Entertainer," that will showcase Davis' many talents. The producers are looking for two explosively talented performers to portray Sammy Davis Jr.; performers who can sing, dance, act and do impersonations, all at the same time! The show will open in early 2004 and will tour major casinos across the country.

"The show will focus on Sammy's triumph over his own doubts and fears, and will recreate the once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing Sammy live," says Gerry Dedera, the show's director. "Casting is a challenge. These are big shoes to fill."

Co-Executive Producer Jimmy Richards has formed JTR Entertainment and is collaborating with Davis' widow, Altovise Davis, who was married to the versatile entertainer for 20 years and is the owner of the Sammy Davis Jr. Estate. Co-Executive producer Barrett LaRoda, who manages the Sammy Davis Jr. Estate, says, "Jimmy Richards has captured the feel good essence and energy of a Sammy Davis Jr. performance."

Mike Lewis at Calico Music, who worked with Sammy, will arrange the score.
"It will be the complete Sammy experience, and will tour with a dazzling showcase collection of Sammy's personal artifacts," says Richards.

Davis had a string of recording hits, including "Candy Man," "I've Gotta Be Me," "Mr. Bojangles," and "What Kind of Fool Am I?" Two new biographies of Davis have just been published and a feature film, based on his best-selling autobiography, "Yes I Can," is also in the works. Davis died in 1990. –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

Contact JTR Entertainment at 323-651-9300.

Rock Cruise For Charity Sets Sail On May 15

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo along with a lineup of classic rock legends join the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) and Cruising for a Cause (CFAC) for a weeklong Caribbean cruise to raise much-needed awareness and funds to combat childhood hunger in America. The 8 day / 7 night Caribbean voyage aboard Holland America's new vista class ship the Zuiderdam will launch on May 15 from Ft. Lauderdale, cruising to Key West, Cozumel, Georgetown and Half Moon Cay.

Scheduled to perform during six nights of concerts are: Kansas, Paul Rodgers of Bad Company, Grand Funk Railroad,
Mickey Thomas of Starship and Friends, featuring Mike Reno of Loverboy, Bobby Kimball of Toto and Jimi Jamison of Survivor. In addition to the nightly performances, many of the musicians have recorded public service announcements to bring attention to this hidden crisis.

Hunger threatens the health, education and future of more than 13 million children in America. Compelling evidence shows that even brief periods of hunger for a child can permanently retard physical growth and brain development.

"As parents, it is difficult to imagine that so many children in our own country are not getting the basic nutrition they need to feed their bodies and minds," says Benatar who, along with husband Neil Giraldo, serve as EIF ambassadors for the cruise.

"We're thrilled to join so many of our friends in the music industry for this special cruise event," says Giraldo. "With Cruising for a Cause, the Entertainment Industry Foundation wants to create an experience where people can enjoy themselves while feeling good about making a difference for children."

In total, CFAC hopes to raise $750,000 for EIF's Hunger Free America program which is dedicated to making childhood hunger a national priority, focusing on school meal programs within the public school system, and raising necessary funds to feed at-risk families. CFAC will donate $400 from each purchased cruise fare to the hunger initiative. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Ray Charles Plans Show After Sick Leave

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ray Charles says he'll return to the stage in March after recovering from hip replacement surgery.

His March 2 concert at New York City's Lincoln Center will be his first performance in eight months.

"I am absolutely thrilled at the prospect of going back to work before the public I love," Charles, 73, said in a statement Wednesday. "Music and performing are in my blood. I need them like oxygen."

Charles last performed in July, but acute discomfort in his left hip forced the singer-pianist to cancel his remaining 2003 tour dates. It was the first time Charles canceled a tour in 53 years.

He is undergoing physical therapy at his Beverly Hills home and recording a duets album with several musicians, including Norah Jones, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt and Willie Nelson, spokesman Jerry Digney said.

A movie based on his life story, "Unchain My Heart: The Ray Charles Story," starring Jamie Foxx, has finished filming.


On the Net:

Janet Jackson to Perform at Super Bowl

NEW YORK (AP) — Janet Jackson will be the featured performer during the halftime show at the Super Bowl on Feb. 1 in Houston.

Other performers will be announced later.

The show will be produced by MTV, which also produced the show for the 2001 game.

"There is no bigger spectacle than the Super Bowl," said Jackson said. "It's a unique and exciting experience that I have looked forward to for many years."

The halftime show is sponsored by AOL.

Kenny Chesney To Have Many Tour Mates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Kenny Chesney knows how to keep from feeling a comedown, after touring with Keith Urban and Dierks Bentley. They'll accompany the first leg of his "Guitars, Tiki Bars and Whole Lotta Love Tour," and he'll fill the second leg of dates with Rascal Flatts and popster Uncle Kracker.

That's not as big a stretch as you might first think. Uncle Kracker and Chesney do a duet on Chesney's upcoming CD, the title track, "When The Sun Goes Down." And Chesney knows that Rascal Flatts aren't afraid to have a good time, they were honky-tonking with Brooks and Dunn after every show last year.

Chesney's tour kicks off March 17 in Houston. Chesney's CD "When The Sun Goes Down" hits stores early next month.

Meanwhile, the Rascal Flatts "I Melt Tour" kicks off in two weeks, on Jan. 22 in Kalamazoo, Mich. The guys say Jay DeMarcus' spring wedding date to Allison Alderson is a secret, but they're fitting in two days off among the tour dates, currently scheduled through March 20.

DeMarcus jokes that although their CMT Most Wanted Live headline tour last fall was sponsored by Crest White Strips and Huggies, those sponsors won't be showing up at the wedding. But he adds that he's planning on "all the Coors Light you can drink at the reception afterward." The "Melt Tour" will be sponsored by Coors Light.

Mad Booking & Events Looking For Atlanta And Nashville Acts

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – Mad Booking & Events is currently accepting submissions from Atlanta and Nashville area artists to perform at its weekly concert series, Aquafina On The Bricks in Atlanta, and Nashville's Dancin' in the District.

Now into its fourth season, Aquafina On The Bricks runs May 28-August 20, on Friday nights downtown at Centennial Olympic Park. Some of the artists gracing the stage have included Goo Goo Dolls, Lifehouse, Better Than Ezra, Jason Mraz, Third Eye Blind, Wyclef Jean and Uncle Kracker.

Nashville's 12th annual Dancin’ In The District, runs June 17-September 2 on Thursday nights at a new location, Nashville Coliseum, to accommodate its growing fan base. Last year 40 bands ranging from rock to reggae performed.

Interested bands should send a current band photo, band biography and demo on compact disc to:
Mad Booking & Events, Inc.
Attn: Tania Taschereau
644 Stone St., Ste. 3
Atlanta, GA 30318.

No phone calls. Deadline for submission is February 13.– Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

Fuse To Presents A Perfect Circle's 2004 US Headlining Tour

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – A Perfect Circle has chosen Fuse, the only viewer driven, all-music network, to be the exclusive television media partner for the band's 2004 U.S. headline tour kicking off March 18 in Salt Lake City, UT. Exclusively presented by Fuse in conjunction with local promoters, A Perfect Circle takes a giant step with their first major market headlining U.S. arena tour. Grounded in Fuse's commitment to music and fan feedback, the multifaceted partnership will feature on-air and online interactive elements, including artist-dedicated sites, viewer contests and streamed interviews.

A Perfect Circle's co-founder, writer and producer Billy Howerdel said, "We're excited to have Fuse behind us for our upcoming US tour. The network's pro-active interaction with the fans will make the live experience for us even more exciting."

"Partnering with A Perfect Circle's first major market headlining tour brings Fuse's commitment to music alive for the fans," said Marc Juris, President of Fuse. "Few artists have the power to connect with their audiences as deeply as A Perfect Circle, and Fuse is proud to help bring their stand-out performances to legions of music lovers in the upcoming months."

"By sponsoring A Perfect Circle's 2004 US tour, Fuse underscores its promise to rule-breaking, innovative strategic partnerships that support critical artists not generally supported by the mainstream," said Mary Corigliano, vice president of Marketing at Fuse. "This tour is about ultimately giving music fans experiences and opportunities they cannot get anywhere else." –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

GlobalFEST Sells Out at The Public Theater/Joe's Pub

(CelebrityAccess News Service) — Since 9/11, dozens of articles have run in major newspapers about the difficulty of foreign artists gaining entry for concert tours in the U.S. A handful of key, grassroots activists in the world music field are now taking things into their own hands to break down barriers for artists touring the USA and Canada, and to raise the profile of world music within the touring market.

The result is GlobalFEST; a one-night fête modeled after other popular music industry events that draw in players from the Performing Arts industry and the public at large. As part of the Arts Presenters Annual Conference, GlobalFEST will present short performances of sixteen artists from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas on three stages at The Public Theater, including Joe's Pub, over a six-hour period on January 10. Performances will run from 8 p.m. to approximately 1:30 a.m., with a DJ party continuing until closing time at 4:00 a.m. The event sold-out in advance with all-night passes at $40.

Intended to be an annual event, GlobalFEST has struck an amazing balance in repertoire and performers, drawing on a broad definition of world music. Artists performing include the hip-hop/rumba beats of Cuban singer Raul Paz (Cuba), Mariza (Portugal), Susheela Raman (Anglo/Indian), Tania Libertad’s (Peru), Forro In The Dark ( Brazil), Cyro Baptista’s Beat the Donkey (Brazil), (Mercan Dede’s Secret Tribe (Turkey), Vusi Mahlasela (South Africa), Emeline Michel (Haiti), Angélique Kidjo (Benin-born Paris/Brooklyn–acoustic set), Savina Yannatou and Primavera en Salonico (Greece), Fddish/Gypsy band Les Yeux Noirs (France), the piano-adapted flamenco of Spain’s Diego Amador (Spain), and Marcel Khalife (Lebanon). Post-GlobeFest music will be supplied by New York’s own DJ collective, GlobeSonic.Not only have GlobalFEST organizers focused on high quality performers and diversity of origin as criteria for artist selection, they have also sought artists appropriate for a variety of performing contexts: concert halls, cabaret settings, dancehalls, and festivals. And to ensure a strong audience and an original feel, they selected both established and emerging artists.

“We were looking for some artists who would be fresh and lesser known even to those actively presenting world music regularly,” explains Bill Bragin, director of Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, and one of three key players behind GlobalFEST. “And then some artists who have played on the established ‘world music’ circuit, but who are primed to move to more ‘general interest’ presenters… ready to move from the five-to-ten-market tours to thirty or forty markets. Also, we needed people with a commitment to touring North America. We are not merely doing this to have an incredible world music festival. We want the performances to lead into touring over the next few years, and to help expand the visibility of world music in general throughout the U.S. and Canada.”

The other two initiators behind the GlobalFEST concept are Isabel Soffer, associate director of NYC’s World Music Institute (WMI); and Maure Aronson, director of World Music, Inc., Boston, which has a similar mission to WMI. The ad hoc trio, who have been key in bringing world music performers to stages in America in recent years and are active in an emerging North American World Music Coalition, have created the event to be a part of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (Arts Presenters) 47th Annual Members Conference, the most important booking event in North America. Arts Presenters is a national service and advocacy organization with more than 1,400 members worldwide dedicated to bringing artists and audiences together. Many of the organizers of America’s performing arts centers and music festivals book much of their annual schedule as a result of showcases and contacts at Arts Presenters.

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy to the U.S. are the principal sponsor of GlobalFEST. With the participation of the French Music Export Office in New York at least five of the featured artists at GlobalFEST will be affiliated with French music labels. “The French Embassy's Cultural Services have participated in the Arts Presenters conference, the largest North American meeting for performing arts professionals, for several years,” said Emmanuel Morlet, the director of the music department of the French Embassy. “In 2004, for the first time, Arts Presenters will celebrate world music by dedicating its opening night and a number of panels to the artists and professionals from this sector. We are proud to participate fully in the support of this event, which carries a much-needed message of cultural diversity.” GlobalFEST is additionally made possible by the support of the participating artists, and their record labels and booking agencies.

Savina Yannatou is appearing with the generous support of the Ministry of Culture in Greece.

DJ Dolores, Diego El Cigala, Kayhan Kalhor, and Rajery had cancelled and were replaced by Diego Amador, Forro in the Dark, and Angélique Kidjo.

GlobeFEST schedule (all shows at The Public Theatre and Joe's Pub)

8 – 8:40 pm Beat the Donkey (Martinson Hall)

8:20 – 9 pm Susheela Raman (Joe's Pub)

8:40 – 9:20 pm Marcel Khalife (Anspacher Theater)

9 – 9:40 pm Raul Paz (Martinson Hall)

9:20 – 10 pm Savina Yannatou (Joe's Pub)

9:40 – 10:20 pm Diego Amador (Anspacher Theater)

10 – 10:40 pm Mercan Dede Secret Tribe (Martinson Hall)

10:20 – 11 pm Vusi Mahlasela (Joe's Pub)

10:40 – 11:20 pm Mariza (Anspacher Theater)

11 – 11:40 pm Forro in the Dark (Martinson Hall)

11:20 – 12 mid Angelique Kidjo (Joe's Pub)

11:40 – 12:20 am Tania Libertad (Anspacher Theater)

12 – 12:40 am Les Yeux Noirs (Martinson Hall)

12:20 – 1 am Emeline Michel (Joe's Pub)

12:40 – 1:20 am Dervish (Anspacher Theater)

1 – 4 am GlobeSonic (Joe's Pub)

All sets are 40 minutes; the event is designed with overlapping performance in three adjoining venues so that attendees may choose to sample all performances or enjoy select sets. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen