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Tuesday, May 25, 1999 Published at 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK


Anti-royal rockers snub Welsh concert

Manic Street Preachers: They feel the monarchy is outdated

The BBC's Steve Evans: "It seems young Wales was invited, but didn't want to perform"
The Manic Street Preachers have refused to play a gala concert to celebrate the opening of the Welsh Assembly because of the Queen's presence.

The Manics had been asked to perform at Wednesday evening's concert in Cardiff, which will feature established performers Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey and Sir Harry Secombe performing in front of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.

But the band, who come from the Gwent town of Blackwood, say they regard the monarchy as an outdated institution.

Manics spokeswoman Terri Hall said: "They would not play in front of the monarchy. It is probably a political thing as well as a personal thing, but they just did not want to play in front of the Royal Family."

The BBC's Wyre Davies reports on preparations for this historic concert
The event, dubbed Voices of A Nation, is being organised by the BBC. It is understood attempts were made to re-arrange the show's programme so the band did not have to perform in front of the Queen.

Play by bassist's brother

[ image: The concert celebrates the opening of the Welsh Assembly]
The concert celebrates the opening of the Welsh Assembly
However, the concert will feature a play written by bassist Nicky Wire's brother Patrick Jones, set to music by the band's singer James Dean Bradfield. It will attack the past treatment of Wales by London politicians.

Other performers at the show include Shakin' Stevens, Bonnie Tyler, 1980s band The Alarm, and teenage singer Charlotte Church.

The Velvet Underground's John Cale will also be there as will the actor Jonathan Pryce. The Manics' rock contemporaries, the Stereophonics, and Sir Anthony Hopkins have recorded special messages.

The finale will include Sir Harry Secombe, Max Boyce and Michael Ball joining the whole company to sing the Catatonia song International Velvet, with its chorus: "Every day when I wake up, I thank the Lord I'm Welsh."

Earlier this year the Manic Street Preachers won the award for best British band at the Brit awards. Despite hitting mainstream success in recent years, the group have never been afraid to create controversy.

The B-side to their recent single You Stole The Sun From My Heart, Socialist Serenade, castigated the Labour government's education policies. The group also attacked Prime Minister Tony Blair in a television documentary.

Mr Blair will join the Queen at the Cardiff Bay show, along with heads of state from around the world.

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