Jackson fans say tribute concert "doomed to fail"

LOS ANGELES Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:34pm BST

Pop star Michael Jackson performs during his second concert in Israel in this September 21, 1993 file photo. Michael Jackson, 50, died in Los Angeles on June 25, 2009 after rehearsing for a series of 50 concerts in London. REUTERS/Havakuk Levison

Pop star Michael Jackson performs during his second concert in Israel in this September 21, 1993 file photo. Michael Jackson, 50, died in Los Angeles on June 25, 2009 after rehearsing for a series of 50 concerts in London.

Credit: Reuters/Havakuk Levison

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A group of 35 Michael Jackson fan clubs have joined forces to lobby for the cancellation of a Michael Jackson tribute concert, saying the October event is "doomed to fail".

In an open letter to organizers Global Live Events, the fan clubs representing thousands of die-hard Jackson followers in Europe, Australia, China and Russia, said they had multiple concerns with the October8 event in Wales.

These ranged from confusion over charitable donations to the timing of the concert during the scheduled involuntary manslaughter trial in Los Angeles of the singer's doctor.

Organizers on Monday announced that Beyonce would sing one song via satellite at the "Michael Forever Tribute." Other headliners include Christina Aguilera, Smokey Robinson and Cee Lo Green who are due to perform a Jackson hit along with their own songs. Ticket prices range from 55 to 240 pounds.

Last week, organizers were forced to oust rock band Kiss from the line-up after Jackson fans recalled that frontman Gene Simmons called the "Thriller" singer a child molester last year.

Jackson, who died in Los Angeles in June 2009 at age 50, was acquitted of all charges in a 2005 child sex abuse trial.

"From the timing of this tribute...to the ticketing prices, to the obscurity over what charities will be receiving the donation, to the no-guarantee policy of performers, the addition of Gene Simmons and dishonouring, thus tarnishing Michael Jackson's legacy was simply the last straw," said the letter from the 80,000 strong members of MJJ Community, and more than 30 other fan clubs.

"Please understand that this concert is doomed to fail now...Do the right thing for Michael Jackson and cancel this tribute," said the letter, posted on the Fans against Michael Forever Tribute Facebook page.

"There has been one catastrophic mistake after another. We don't feel like it's the tribute he (Jackson) deserves," MJJ Community founder Gary Taylor told Reuters.

Global Live Events did not return calls for comment on Monday.

Attorneys for Jackson's estate also expressed concerns last week about the planned concert, which is supported by the singer's mother Katherine and several of her children, but not by Jackson brothers Jermaine and Randy Jackson.

Organizers said last week they had pledged $100,000 (60,772 pounds) of their own money to establish a trust fund for Jackson's three children and that ticket revenue "is going, at least in part" to the trust fund and to a Los Angeles Aids charity and the Princes Trust which helps youth job training and education in the UK.

Fans were encouraged to register in advance for tickets online and make a charity pledge. Organizers have not said how many people registered and how many tickets are left for public sale, which starts on Wednesday. The stadium in Wales holds about 75,000 people and the concert is due to be broadcast around the world on pay television and in movie theatres.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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