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Last Updated: Friday, 21 January, 2005, 02:32 GMT
Tsunami concert's final countdown
Millennium Stadium stage

Preparations are being finalised at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium for a fund-raising concert to help those affected by Asia's tsunami disaster.

The number of people known to have died in the Boxing Day disaster has now reached 220,000.

The Cardiff event is set to be Britain's biggest charity concert since Live Aid 20 years ago.

Katherine Jenkins will open the seven hour concert with Amazing Grace and be followed on stage by Keane.

The organisers say a full running order will be available on the event's website from 0900 GMT on Saturday.

Tickets were snapped up within three days of going on sale.

Cables stretching 12km have been unravelled, 500 lights arranged, eight tonnes of video screens assembled and nine tonnes of speakers set up.

Katherine Jenkins
Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins at the Millennium Stadium

Tops of the Pops' presenter Fearne Cotton has also been announced as co-host with Radio 1 DJ Edith Bowman.

Eight home-grown acts are on the concert billing, including Charlotte Church, Aled Jones, Manic Street Preachers, Feeder and Newport rappers Goldie Lookin' Chain. Ex-Westlife singer Brian McFadden joined the line-up on Thursday.

Two of the collective, Eggsy and Adam Hussain, told BBC Wales they felt "honoured" to be taking part.

"It's not about GLC," they said, although it was "cool" to be able to play on "local turf".

Danny McNamara, singer with Embrace, who are appearing on the bill, said: "Like everyone over Christmas I saw the images on the screen and was horrified.

"There's no question about whether we wanted to do it or not - it's an honour to be involved."

Feeder drummer Mark Richardson added: "I've done a few gigs there (at the Millennium Stadium) and it's always a special atmosphere.

"I'm really pleased we are in a position to be able to do something."

And Craig David, who is also appearing on the bill, said: "I think it's amazing how many tickets were sold in a short period of time and the support by all the artists who are performing I think is a beautiful thing.

"It shows in times of tragedy we can pull together."

The idea of staging a concert to help victims of the Boxing Day tsunami emerged just three weeks ago.

Stage in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff
A team of 12 workers has built the stage

Stadium bosses raced to get the event organised ahead of the start of the international rugby season for which a pitch has to be laid in the city centre venue.

Within days, a number of performers had agreed to take part and the concert was confirmed.

"Having 24 bands in one day does create a whole set of issues, particularly as far as room is concerned," said site manager Jane Kelly.

Gates at the stadium will open around 1400 GMT on Saturday, with performances throughout the day until 2230 GMT.

The concert will be shown live by BBC Wales on S4C from 1500 GMT and parts of the event will also be live on BBC1 and BBC2, and Radio 2. It will also be available on interactive TV and on the web.

Travellers can call Connect 2 Cardiff on 029 2087 2087 or log onto www.traffic-wales.com.


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