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Friday, 28 September, 2001, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK
Industry seeks future rock stars
Oasis played In the City as an unsigned band
Oasis played In the City as an unknown band in 1992
The most influential people in the UK music industry will be searching for future rock stars when music conference In The City begins in Manchester on Friday.

In The City, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, is the main industry get-together and sees record company executives debate the future of music and search for new signings among hundreds of bands.

Oasis, Stereophonics, Coldplay and Catatonia are among the groups that have been discovered there in the past.

Tony Wilson
Tony Wilson: Predicts music breakthrough next year
This year, attention will be on up-and-coming UK rock bands who could match the success of American groups like Limp Bizkit, Slipknot and Staind, according to organiser Tony Wilson.

There is a "wide, massive, gaping chasm" that UK rock bands will fill over the next 12 months, he says.

"Most people in the industry now know that the first three young British bands that can play guitars like they mean it will clean up," he says.

About 15 of the 54 unsigned bands to play at the five-day event are rock groups, and there is a special youth metal venue for the first time.

Up to 2,500 delegates from the UK and around the world will travel to Manchester, and the unsigned band nights will be open to the public.

John Lydon has been due to appear
John Lydon has been due to appear
Speakers at In the City are due to include former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham and Bon Jovi and Skid row manager Don McGhee.

But there was doubt over whether former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon will be able to give his scheduled artist interview on Monday after Wilson confessed he had "lost" the singer.

The theme of this year's event is "Year Zero" - because of the assumption that a new musical scene is due to emerge next year.

"I think there's a 13-year cycle in British pop culture," Wilson says. "If there is a 13-year cycle, then 2002 is the year."

The trend has been seen in the breakthrough of underground movements to the mainstream with The Beatles in 1963, punk in 1976 and acid house in 1989, Wilson says.

Steve Coogan
Steve Coogan: Plays Wilson in new film
He was instrumental in the rises of punk and acid house, giving the Sex Pistols' Anarchy in the UK its UK TV premiŔre, running Factory Records and the Hašienda nightclub where bands like the Happy Mondays and the Stone Roses made their names.

He has also revealed that Factory was on the verge of signing Oasis and Pulp before it went bankrupt in 1992.

Oasis played a show with Elastica at the first In the City, in 1992, and were watched by only three people - but those three people were from record companies Warner, Sire and Universal.

'Dreadful' film

"Even if there's only three people, they're the only three people in the world you want to be there at your gig. They're the reason you do it," Wilson says.

Comedian Steve Coogan and film director Michael Winterbottom - who made forthcoming movie 24 Hour Party People about the Manchester scene - will also speak.

Coogan plays Wilson, and the story follows Factory Records and the Hašienda.

Wilson says he thought the first version of the film was "absolutely dreadful" - but that it has improved.

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