The Jermaine Jackson-curated Michael Jackson tribute concert in Vienna, Austria, scheduled for September 26th has been canceled after many of the artists who were confirmed by Jermaine to be performing at the event denied they would be attending. According to The Tribute 2010 Website, the concert will instead be pushed to June 2010 in the weeks prior to the one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson's death on June 25th. Additionally, the venue has changed entirely as well, moving from Vienna's Schoenbrunn Palace to London's Wembley Stadium.
Earlier this week, Jackson and fellow organizer Georg Kindel held a of press conference announcing the performers -- which included Akon, Mary J. Blige and Chris Brownâ€"and then in another round of press conferences in London and Berlin, reiterated that, despite Brown and Blige's denials, they would in fact participate. However Jermaine issued a new statement today:
"Many artists and performers who I have spoken to personally told me that it would be a great honor to be part of this memorial concert for my late brother -- an artist who influenced the music world like virtually no other. However, due to the short time frame it was not possible for many of them to change their schedule so that they could be on stage in Vienna on September 26, therefore we decided, after careful consideration, to change the date of the tribute concert to June 2010 -- just a few weeks before the first anniversary of his untimely death. Now we have 8 months to put this monumental show together and not just 8 weeks. Despite the short amount of time we would have been able to stage a great show, in keeping with Michael's high standards, but numerous starts were just not able to change their schedules to make a live appearance at the Vienna event possible."
Just yesterday, Natalie Cole, another of the "confirmed" performers, revealed that she had a prior engagement with the Dalai Lama the night of the September 26th in Tennessee according to the BBC, thus making her appearance in Vienna that night physically impossible. Blige also was booked for a Gucci show in Milan, Italy on September 26th, and Brown never even filed the paperwork necessary as part of his probation to give him permission to leave the United States.
As for the move from a venue of Vienna -- chosen because Michael "loved castles," as Jermaine previously said -- to London's Wembley Stadium, Jermaine added that Wembley is "renowned" and befitting of Michael Jackson's legacy. London was also to be the home of Jackson's This Is It run of concerts at the city's O2 Arena. Plus, after the initial lineup of musicians was announced, the Viennese press labeled the performers "B-list artists," which offended Jermaine. "When artists who have won 8 Grammy Awards and sold millions of records around the world and are able to sell out large stadiums and then called 'B-list artists,' are made fun of and generally disrespected, is something I just cannot understand," Jermaine said. "If these artists are not welcome in Vienna, London is more than happy to have them."
All tickets for the Vienna tribute will be refunded immediately, the press release added. Tickets for the London tribute, which will cost roughly 50 euros, will go on sale once a final date is announced, expected to be before December 1st.
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