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Elton John World News: An Update on The Wembley Extravaganza

An Update on The Wembley Extravaganza-- Posted by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Monday 27 November 2006 @ 17:37 - GMT

Yesterday it was announnced that Princes William and Harry plan to commemorate their late mother with a massive pop concert in the summer.

 The July 1st show--which Elton is expected to take part in--would be one of the first events held at the new Wembley Stadium.

The venue, according to the Evening Standard, should be finished in June 2007. It is costing £757million - double the initial estimate - and 15 months past its original deadline.

It is understood that William and Harry hope that by celebrating their mum's life on what would have been her 46th birthday, the sting will be taken out of August 31 - the date on which she died in Paris. What's more, next year is the tenth anniversary of her death.

An official announcement is due to be made on December 12, but plans for the concert were set in motion during the summer after a series of discussions with their Private Secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, in which the pair expressed a desire to honour their mother's life and continue the legacy of her charitable work.

One well-placed source said: 'The Princes are very excited about it.

'They are very hands on, organising and helping to select their favourite bands. It is going to cause a stir. This is a major new happening with regard to the Princes' emerging public profile.'

The list of artists being approached reflects the tastes of the Princes as well as that of the former Lady Diana Spencer. Besides, Elton, they include the Killers, Pharrell, Beyonce, Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Sting.

They are being approached through their managers rather than record companies, and are being asked to waive their fee for the concert. It is thought that at least a portion of the proceeds would go help fight AIDS in Africa.

The young men's plans are understood to have the full backing of Prince Charles and the proposed show is being viewed by some as a natural successor to Charles's hugely successful Party in the Park.

Launched in 1998, that annual rock concert has raised millions for the Prince's Trust but was cancelled last year to make way for Live 8 and did not take place this year amid reports that the event was failing to attract big names.

Officials at Clarence House are said to be involved in negotiating the logistics of the four-hour musical extravaganza at Wembley.

They are working in conjunction with Florida-based events firm Live Nation, a company that has a solid track record and has helped stage many of the Prince's Trust's Hyde Park concerts. It is also used to dealing with the sort of fierce bidding for worldwide media rights that such an event is bound to attract.

Paddy Harverson, Charles's communications secretary, said: ''A number of ideas are being looked at for next year but for the time being no confirmation has been made. I wouldn't want to go into any more detail because discussions are ongoing.''

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