Thursday, July 05, 2007

Live Earth dies screaming 2: Hamburg humbug

The apparently self-defeating idea of flying artists halfway around the world to persuade us to cut down on our use of fossil fuels has been defended by Live Earth supporters who insist that it makes sense: having high profile, international stars is essential to draw crowds to the events, and help get the message across.

Only that doesn't turn out to stand up: Sales for the German event in Hamburg have been disappointing precisely because the international names have edged out local acts:

But advance sales have been disappointing elsewhere. In Hamburg, where hip-shaking Colombian sensation Shakira, British songstress Katie Melua and US rapper Snoop Dogg are among the 20 acts, barely more than half the 40,000 tickets had been sold as of the start of July. Insiders blamed the low ticket sales on the absence of a major crowd-pulling German act after Herbert Groenemeyer pulled out. Even the last minute addition of Yusuf Islam, the singer formerly known as Cat Stevens is unlikely to improve things much.

We love Yusuf Islam, and think that the music he's doing now is probably as good as anything he'd produced during his career. But when you're throwing him into the mix as a desperate bulwark against soft ticket numbers, you know you're in trouble.