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Thursday, 6 September, 2001, 18:48 GMT 19:48 UK
Veggies urge 'Farm Aid' boycott
Millennium Stadium
Vegetarian campaigners called on the bands to pull out
A vegetarian pressure group has called on bands and pop fans to boycott the Farm Aid concert due to be held in Cardiff.

Viva! has written to the acts, including Toploader and Coldplay, asking them not to play the gig at the Millennium Stadium on 27 October.

Toploader are confirmed as playing
The organisation has objected to compensation payouts given to disease-hit farmers, whom the concert is expected to raise 500,000 for funds for.

With this year's Glastonbury Festival in Somerset called off due to security concerns, dairy farmer Mr Eavis decided to put on the all-day charity gig instead.

Charities set to benefit include Royal Agricultural Benevolent Fund, the Addington Fund, the Farm Crisis Network, the Rural Stress Information Network, the Samaritans and the RSPCA.

On Wednesday, he confirmed Coldplay, Toploader, Ash, Reef and Morcheeba as some of the acts due to play in Cardiff, and four or five more acts are to be added to the bill.

'Sickening concept'

Viva! senior campaigner Becky Smith said she had written to all of the acts approached to play, including the Manic Street Preachers and the Charlatans.

She said: "Michael Eavis is likening the 'plight' of livestock farmers to starving Ethiopian children by staging this Live Aid-style event.

"It is a sickening concept when you consider that many farmers have actually made healthy profits from the disease.

Their industry is directly responsible for the wholesale destruction of the British countryside

Becky Smith, Viva!
"Farmers brought the disease upon themselves and there is no reason why anyone should feel sorry for them.

"Their industry is directly responsible for the wholesale destruction of the British countryside and the daily abuse of millions of animals - hardly a charitable cause."

She said music fans who feel strongly about the impact of farming should donate their money to other individuals.

The group is set to stage a demonstration outside the Millennium Stadium in protest.

Mr Eavis said he expected to raise money from TV revenues and sponsorship on top of the sale of tickets, which will be available next week for 25.

Ash: Rock band have recently made a come-back
Announcing the acts in London on Wednesday, he said: "The whole industry is very demoralised at the moment, so we need a very morale-raising concert.

"Farmers have got a bad press. People think they all get huge subsidies and ride round in four-wheel-drive vehicles, but I know many farmers who can't even afford a car.

"They look after the countryside and do a great job but they are finding it almost impossible to earn a living."

But the festival organiser hit out at some of the acts on his wish list - including U2, Robbie Williams and Oasis - for not donating some of their time for the event.

BBC Wales's Roger Pinney reports
"It is a sign that the nightmare is ending"
See also:

05 Sep 01 | Music
Big names snub Farm Aid
25 May 01 | Music
Farm Aid 'set for October'
02 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Brits winners' sales soar
25 May 00 | New Music Releases
CD Review: Toploader
23 May 01 | Wales
Stadium could host Farm Aid gig
27 Jun 01 | Wales
Cardiff: Capital of concerts
04 Jan 01 | Entertainment
Glastonbury 2001 cancelled
28 Jun 99 | Glastonbury 1999
Eavis' labour of love
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