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Friday, 31 December, 1999, 13:24 GMT
Pop stars prepare to party

Mick Hucknall: Simply Red's frontman will be at the Dome

Thousands of people are seeing in the new millennium at concerts and nightclubs across the British Isles - featuring a host of big name bands, singers and DJs.

Into 2000
The most high-profile event is taking place at the Millennium Dome in Greenwich, where Simply Red singer Mick Hucknall, Jools Holland and Stephen Fry are performing for a specially-invited audience including the Queen, Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

But although the events at the Dome are restricted to VIPs and special guests only, there are still plenty of acts performing for the public.

James Dean Bradfield: Victorious homecoming for the Manics
Just over a mile south of the Dome, in the shadow of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, Eurythmics, Simply Red, Martine McCutcheon and Bryan Ferry are performing at a special concert in Greenwich Park.

Bands including Transglobal Underground join DJs such as Patrick Forge at the Freshworld free shows along the River Thames in central London, which are entertaining the thousands waiting for the River of Fire event at midnight.

Scotland's capital is celebrating Old Year's Night in true tartan style - the Bay City Rollers are performing at the city's Hogmany celebrations, their first concert since their acrimonious 1970s split.

Sir Cliff Richard: Leading the Birmingham party
Texas are also playing, and dancers from London's Notting Hill Carnival, a Cuban band and Spanish street theatre are lending a cosmopolitan air to the celebrations.

Cardiff is hosting another of the UK's most high-profile shows - the Manic Street Preachers are playing to 54,000 people at the Welsh capital's new Millennium Stadium.

The show caps off an eventful decade for the band, who started the 1990s as a little-known cult act, and will end the decade as one of the UK's most successful groups at a rapturous homecoming.

Sir Cliff Richard is entertaining an older generation in Birmingham, as he performs for 13,000 people at the National Indoor Arena. Giant screens are also relaying the show to Centenary and Victoria Squares.

Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim: Cream of the crop
Manchester is hosting acts such as M People, and Reef are performing at Castlefield, while a 25-foot high effigy of a "millennium bug" is paraded along the city's canals.

Not to be outdone, Liverpool's Cream nightclub is hosting a massive party at the city's Pier head, featuring appearances from the Stereophonics, Lightning Seeds, Space and Orbital.

Fatboy Slim leads their roster of DJs, performing at Cream events in Cardiff, London and back at Cream's usual home, the Nation club in Liverpool.

The Christians and Echo and the Bunnymen are also performing at a free concert in Liverpool.

Singer Brian Kennedy is performing at Belfast City Hall, leading events in the Northern Ireland capital.

Neil Hannon: Divine Comedy says hello to 2000 in Dublin
He will also head south to Dublin to join The Divine Comedy at an open air concert outside Government Building. During the show, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and Boyzone singer Ronan Keating will light a symbolic candle to start the country's millennium celebrations.

Those planning on staying in have a choice of entertainment, led by BBC One's 28-hour long 2000 Today programme, hosted by Michael Parkinson and Gaby Roslin.

BBC Radio 1 will also help club music fans partying at home - DJ Carl Cox kicked off a series of broadcasts from around the world at 1245 GMT on Friday from Bondi Beach, and will wrap up the stations millennium broadcasts from Hawaii at 0930 GMT on Saturday.

Meanwhile, comedian Griff Rhys Jones is offering his own alternative - his Not The Millennium website.

"Genuine major performing artistes of international stature, including amongst their celebrated number Sir Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd and Bryan Ferry have personally agreed, in written communication, NOT to appear at the Not The Millennium Concert For Peace at London's Famous Hackney Empire on Millennium Night," he writes in a message on the site.

Tickets not to see these acts at a concert which isn't happening cost 6 - with proceeds going to help save the troubled east London theatre.

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See also:
31 Dec 99 |  UK
UK's party of the century
29 Dec 99 |  Entertainment
Hucknall's race against time
02 Dec 99 |  Entertainment
BBC's all-star millennium bash
14 Dec 99 |  Wales
Safety concerns over Manics gig

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