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Wednesday, 23 May, 2001, 20:52 GMT 21:52 UK
Stadium could host Farm Aid gig
Sir Paul McCartney
Sir Paul McCartney is thought to have been approached
The organiser of the Glastonbury Festival is planning a pop festival in Wales to raise money for farmers across the UK hard-hit by foot-and-mouth and other crises.

Concert supremo and dairy farmer Michael Eavis wants to hold the event - dubbed Farm Aid - in Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 8 September.

Some of the biggest names in pop are being lined up to appear, with names like Sir Paul McCartney and Madonna being discussed.

Michael Eavis
Glastonbury organiser Michael Eavis

Mr Eavis, who launched the first Glastonbury Festival in 1970, hatched the plan to put on the concert two months ago.

He has spent the last few weeks in secret negotiations with pop groups, liaising with at least 10 major performers.

He hopes that the concert - if given the go-ahead - will fill the gap left by the cancellation of Glastonbury because of safety concerns.

Discussions with the Millennium Stadium are already underway, but there are believed to be concerns about possible damage to the prestigious pitch - which will have been laid readyfor sports matches in September.

Mr Eavis has said he cannot afford to have the pitch taken up and relaid, but has offered to cover the surface instead.

Crisis in Wales
Total confirmed cases UK-wide 1,628 - with 91 in Wales
Powys - 57 cases
Anglesey - 13 cases
Monmouthshire - 16 cases
Caerphilly 1
Rhondda Cynon Taff - 1
Neath Port Talbot -1
Newport - 3

A spokesman for the stadium said: "Some advances have been made. Mr Eavis wants to hold the concert when the pitch will be in and the stadium is in sporting mode, so the only way to do it is to cover the pitch.

"That would be costly and he would have to bear the cost."

If the Millennium Stadium cannot host the event then Mr Eavis plans to try the Milton Keynes Bowl and or the tried-and-tested country house rock venue, Knebworth.

Mr Eavis said he could not yet reveal which bands would be involved, but promised that at least two of them were "prominent" and headlining other events this summer.

He is confident of drawing in other top British artists as the details of the event unfold.

Madonna
Madonna would pull in crowds for the event

Although he is most commonly associated with the world-famous Glastonbury Festival, Mr Eavis is primarily a dairy farmer, with 350 cows in Somerset.

He is consequently extremely concerned about the state of farming in Britain.

He said: "My farm is 25 miles from the nearest outbreak of foot-and-mouth but farming is my life.

"The festival is great fun but my real day job is the dairy farm.

"Farmers have had a hard time over the last three to four years with BSE, foot-and-mouth and the low farmgate prices for products and farmers are really struggling.

"There are lots of suicides and youngsters not going back into farming because of the crisis in the industry at the moment.

"The idea of Farm Aid is to raise awareness of the problems farmers face and also to get the people and organisations, like supermarkets, who affect farmers livelihoods to sit up and listen.

"It will also raise the morale of the farming community - that they will have this event that focuses on them." All the money raised will go to five farming charities.

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24 Apr 01 | Wales
Cardiff pitch to be relaid
26 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Glastonbury in pictures
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