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Last Updated: Monday, 3 January, 2005, 15:27 GMT
Stadium 'to stage tsunami gig'
Wales' Millennium Stadium
The stadium's pitch will be returned in three weeks' time
Cardiff's Millennium Stadium is trying to stage a 'Live Aid' style concert to raise more than 1m for the Asian tsunami disaster appeal.

Stadium bosses are in talks with some of the UK's top performers to mount the charity gig on 22 January.

They believe the event to aid the victims of the tsunami disaster on Boxing Day could raise more than 1m.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan has welcomed the plan and called for a "Welsh Bob Geldof" to get involved.

But they are working against a tight deadline to get the massive charity gig organised in under three weeks.

"It's going to be tight," said stadium manager Paul Sergeant, adding a team of people from the stadium was working over the bank holiday to try to get the concert plan off the ground.

Stereophonics
The Stereophonics have played the stadium before

"The pitch comes back into the stadium on the 24th [of January]. We won't be able to stage anything after that until the summer.

As well as a sporting icon, the stadium right in the centre of Cardiff has fast become a top venue for bands in its short history.

Wales' own Stereophonics and Manic Street Preachers are among the giants to have played there.

Talks were going on with "A list acts" including some from Wales to support the concert, said Mr Sergeant, although he refused to name possible acts.

"We would like to do something to help the disaster effort because we have got in Wales the biggest indoor venue in Europe.

"The public response to the disaster has been incredible and we would very much like to put our weight behind those efforts and raise another 1m or more.

All it needed was two or three acts to sign up and the "whole thing would snowball," added Mr Sergeant, who had experience of mounting two similar charity concerts when he was manager at Wembley stadium.

Rhodri Morgan
Rhodri Morgan has already commended a concert plan

Welsh Rugby Union group chief executive David Moffett had also become involved in the talks to stage the concert.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan has already given his backing to a Welsh "Band Aid" proposed by Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Mike German at the weekend.

Mr Morgan said he was "hopeful" the "ambitious" Welsh concert would happen and that it would be a "wonderful kick-off" for Cardiff's centenary celebrations in 2005.

"What you need (is) voluntary sector leadership. You need a Welsh Bob Geldof to come forward from the music industry to say.'OK, I know these people. I'll ring them to say ' Look, we have got to pitch in here because the scale of this global disaster is so big'

The assembly government would "smooth the path" to the concert's success, added the first minister, with all bureaucratic obstacles being cleared.

Mr Sergeant said he would also be delighted to hear from any other potential corporate partners for the charity event.

"What happened on Boxing Day in south east Asia is the biggest natural disaster anyone in the world today has ever seen," said Mr Sergeant.

"If we can get everything together this month then the people of Wales will get the chance to make a major contribution to helping the people whose lives have been so devastated."

Another organisation just set up, Tsunami Relief Cymru, is also hoping to hold a concert for the relief effort at the Millennium Stadium in June.




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