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Wednesday, 5 September, 2001, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
Big names snub Farm Aid
Coldplay
Coldplay: Picked up two Brit awards this year
The biggest names in UK music have refused to appear at a benefit gig for farmers hit by the foot-and-mouth crisis.

U2, Robbie Williams and Oasis are among the acts who turned down the request to headline Farm Aid, which will be held in Cardiff on 27 October.


They've only got to roll up in their transit van and play for an hour... it's not a very tall order

Michael Eavis
Farm Aid organiser
The all-day event, set up by farmer and Glastonbury festival organiser Michael Eavis, will feature Coldplay, Toploader and Reef and raise money for six charities.

Mr Eavis criticised the stars who refused to appear, saying it was "not a very tall order" and they were too concerned about money to help such causes.

"The big headlining bands haven't come on board readily," he told BBC News Online.

Michael Eavis
Michael Eavis held the launch in a London gallery
"They don't really see it as their problem. They don't identify with small farmers' problems. They've got loads of money."

Mr Eavis is a full-time dairy farmer, and has organised the Glastonbury festival on his Somerset farmland for the last 30 years.

He approached six of the biggest artists in the country to perform at Farm Aid, including Oasis, he said.

"I would have like to have had the Oasis brothers. It's up to them, but I don't really think it's a lot to ask for.

Ash
Ash: Rock band have recently made a come-back
"They've only got to roll up in their transit van and play for an hour, and they enjoy doing it anyway. It's not a very tall order.

"But that's not the way they look at it."

Other bands who have agreed to appear include Ash and Morcheeba, with about four or five more bands to be added to the bill.

Mr Eavis said he expected to raise more than 500,000 from ticket sales, which will be held at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, with money from TV revenue and donations to be added on top of that.

Toploader
Toploader have enjoyed chart success
Mr Eavis did not stage a Glastonbury festival this year, and said he decided to organise Farm Aid because he has seen hardships facing farmers and rural communities at first hand.

"The whole industry is very demoralised at the moment, so we need a very morale-raising concert," he said.

"Hopefully we will raise funds as well and draw attention to the problems farmers are facing."

He described the foot-and-mouth crisis as "the straw that broke the camel's back" after BSE and other problems facing the industry.

'Struggling'

"Farmers have got a bad press. People think they all get huge subsidies and ride round in four-wheel-drive vehicles, but I know many farmers who can't even afford a car.

"We should remember that thousands of farmers out there are really struggling, they look after the countryside and do a great job but they are finding it almost impossible to earn a living."

Mr Eavis launched the concert at a London gallery, which is holding an exhibition of the UK countryside to raise money for the cause.

The show is expected to attract more than 50,000 fans. Tickets, costing 25, will go on sale next week.

The charities that will benefit are the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Fund, the Addington Fund, the Farm Crisis Network, the Rural Stress Information Network, the Samaritans and the RSPCA.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Farm Aid's Michael Eavis
"I think we'll get enough bands to make it stick"
BBC News Online's Ian Youngs
speaks to Ian Bell from farming charity the Addington Fund
See also:

25 May 01 | Music
Farm Aid 'set for October'
02 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Brits winners' sales soar
25 May 00 | New Music Releases
CD Review: Toploader
23 May 01 | Wales
Stadium could host Farm Aid gig
27 Jun 01 | Wales
Cardiff: Capital of concerts
04 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Glastonbury 2001 cancelled
28 Jun 99 | Glastonbury 1999
Eavis' labour of love
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