Michael Jackson gig organiser defends Cardiff tribute

24/08/11

Michael Jackson

The organiser of the Michael Jackson tribute concert is defending the event saying that they have the "overwhelming majority" of his family behind them.

It's after opposition from Jermaine and Randy Jackson, who say the concert shouldn't go ahead because it will clash with Conrad Murray's trial.

Michael Jackson's former doctor is accused of involuntary manslaughter.

"There's nothing in this. It's not something to get excited about," said Chris Hunt from Global Live Events.

"The notion that an event which reminds people just how fantastic Michael Jackson was, what a loss he was to the world he is, what a great singer, a great performer he was, should be inappropriate - it doesn't compute, it doesn't make sense."

'Proper tribute'

Jermaine and Randy Jackson also say Global Live has "mishandled" the booking as well as "misjudging" the event's timing.

Rock band Kiss were dropped from the bill after over comments made by Gene Simmons. During a magazine interview last year the bassist said Michael Jackson was a child abuser.

I think what's happened is that there's been a campaign, which some of them have listened to and haven't heard our responses to it yet
Chris Hunt's response to fans

The singer was cleared of child molestation in 2005.

Chris Hunt says all the criticism about the concert is understandable but wrong.

"They were saying that it was a pity that there had not been a big scale, proper tribute to Michael.

"We began to think, 'Why don't we try and do one.' LaToya was the lead one but there were other family members around as well.

"There are two that aren't so happy. I don't wish to be ungenerous to anyone. I have the greatest respect for Jermaine, who I've met a number of times.

"He did a couple of times announce that he was going to organise a concert like this and then wasn't unable to do so. So I suppose it's a little understandable."

'No worries'

A coalition of 35 fan communities has since written an open letter to the concert organisers asking for the event to be cancelled.

But Chris Hunt says they haven't heard all the facts.

Michael Jackson
Image caption Michael Jackson was preparing for a series of UK gigs when he died in 2009

"We have the greatest respect for the fans," he said. "We've been listening to the fans.

"I think what's happened is that there's been a campaign, which some of them have listened to and haven't heard our responses to it yet.

"This concert will sell out either very quickly or quickly. We have no worries about it at all."

The Michael Forever concert takes place at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 8 October.

Artists confirmed to be taking part include Christina Aguilera, Leona Lewis, Cee Lo Green, JLS, Alexandra Burke and Beyonce, who will perform via satellite.

Speaking to Newsbeat about the controversy surrounding the concert, Alexandra Burke said: "I definitely think it should go ahead, but it's not up to me. I think the family should decide amongst themselves."

She added: "I've got three weeks of rehearsals booked in [for the concert] because I'm trying to make sure I do these songs justice."

Michael Jackson died in June 2009 aged 50 while rehearsing for his This Is It UK tour. Conrad Murray has pleaded not guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charge, arguing he did not cause the singer's death.