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Sunday, March 1, 1998 Published at 22:31 GMT


'Over-priced' Diana concert tickets go unsold
image: [ Phil Collins doubts Diana would have approved ]
Phil Collins doubts Diana would have approved

Rock star Phil Collins has criticised the price of tickets for a tribute concert to Diana, Princess of Wales, which have failed to sell out as quickly as expected.

Two-thirds of the 15,000 tickets available for the concert - at Althorp, near Northampton, on June 27 - went within three hours of sales lines opening on Saturday.

The organisers had expected the remaining 5,000 to be snapped up on Sunday. But at 5.30pm the Ticketmaster agency said there were still "quite a few" tickets left.

Collins, a friend of Diana, said in a radio interview that the £39.50 ($65) entrance fee should be halved.

[ image: Diana was a keen fan of pop music]
Diana was a keen fan of pop music
He told a television interviewer that he had refused to play at the concert because he did not want to be part of the "feeding frenzy".

"She was a Princess for the people, it would have been nice if they had a ticket price for the people," Collins he said.

"If you're going to go as a couple, it's 80 quid, and a baby-sitter, and petrol - it's a lot of money. Suddenly you're talking about people that are reasonably well off."

He added: "If she'd have been here to talk about it I'm sure she would have said 'Well, yes we can ask for 40 quid, but why don't we ask for 20?'."

Collins refused to take part in the concert despite personal requests from Diana's brother Earl Spencer and tycoon Richard Branson.

"I thought there was an awful feeding frenzy," he said, in a separate interview with Sky television.

[ image: Sir Cliff Richard will headline the concert]
Sir Cliff Richard will headline the concert
"I have my own sadness about it and I don't really want to become part of a feeding frenzy that is all."

Collins, who was heavily involved in the organisation of Band Aid in the 1980s, also refused to contribute to the Diana tribute album.

He said: "I didn't feel that I wanted to get involved in an album and a concert. Let's just get on with our lives and be sad."

The concert will feature: Sir Cliff Richard, Chris de Burgh, Wet Wet Wet, Lesley Garrett, Julian Lloyd Webber, Jimmy Nail and the Chicken Shed Theatre Company. It will be staged in the Deer Park on Earl Spencer's Althorp estate, about a mile from the island where Diana is buried.

The only other ticket oulet apart from Ticketmaster is the Derngate Theatre in Northampton.

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