Monday 11 December 2017

Stock, Aitken and waterlogged: Kylie concert cancelled

Anthony Barnes

ORGANISERS have cancelled a major outdoor show starring Kylie Minogue celebrating the music of Pete Waterman as a result of ongoing poor weather just hours before it was due to take place.

The Hit Factory concert, also starring Jason Donovan and Steps, was due to be staged in London's Hyde Park tomorrow.

Promoters spent hours trying to get the site into a fit state for the show after the ground was churned up by heavy rainfall and visitors to last weekend's Wireless concerts.

But they have now pulled the plug on the show after their efforts failed to get the royal park into shape and the site was declared "unfit" this morning.

"The potential risk to staff and music fans was too great for the event to go ahead," organisers said today.

But they say other planned shows starring Bruce Springsteen and Madonna will go ahead unaffected.

The show has been yet another casualty of the weather that has brought disruption across the UK. Last month the rainfall caused chaos at the Isle Of Wight Festival when visitors struggled to gain access to the rain-sodden site, causing traffic gridlock.

The Hit Factory show - featuring many of the acts producer Waterman had catapulted to fame - was due to reunite Minogue and Donovan, performing their chart-topping hit Especially For You.

Along with his production team of Mike Stock and Matt Aitken, Waterman and his PWL record label were responsible for launching dozens of careers, and their bouncy pop tracks were almost instantly recognisable.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of PWL, which was Minogue's recording home in the early days of her career.

Promoter Live Nation and The Royal Parks, which operates the site, said they "sincerely regret the disappointment caused by this cancellation".

They added that safety of customers, performers and production staff was "of utmost importance and the decision was made unanimously".

Ground staff had been shovelling chippings on to the area, which had hosted performances by Rihanna and Drake over the weekend, but ran out of time.

Fans are being advised to seek refunds from the place they bought tickets, although those who purchased through Ticketmaster and See Tickets are being promised automatic refunds.

John Probyn, chief operating officer of Live Nation, said: "The moment the Wireless Festival ended, we put in place a massive plan to prepare the site for tomorrow.

"Eight thousand cubic metres of wood chip is currently being put in place, and over the past 24 hours crews have started to make the site safe for our customers.

"Despite best efforts, time has beaten us, but I want to reassure that Hard Rock Calling concerts with Soundgarden, Bruce Springsteen and Paul Simon, plus Madonna on 17 July and the BT London Live Opening Ceremony Celebration concert and the events will go ahead."

Manager of Hyde Park Steve Edwards said: "Wood chip is being laid on the concert site as part of plans to ensure concertgoers can be welcomed back as soon as possible.

"We are confident that the action being taken will enable Hard Rock Calling and the remainder of the summer concert series to go ahead as planned."

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