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Michael Forever Tribute Concert: Will Tickets Go On Sale? Will the Gig Go Ahead?

Friday, 19 August 2011 Written by Elliott Batte
Michael Jackson Forever Tribute Concert: Will the Gig Go Ahead?

The situation with the Michael Jackson tribute concert ‘Michael Forever’ has finally reached a boiling point with fans, and many are now calling for the gig, set to take place on October 8th at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, to be cancelled.

The concert has been dogged with criticism from all quarters. The timing of the event came under scrutiny from Michael’s brothers Jermaine and Randy Jackson, which was always going to result in some of the most militant of MJ fans refusing to attend and boycotting the event. Following blunder after blunder including the announcement of KISS being added and consequently removed from the line-up, as well as a very misleading charity donation scheme, it looks like the only fans who will be buying tickets will be JLS, Craig David and Christina Aguilera fans – great, but nothing to do with the main man himself. This concert currently looks more like T4 On The Beach than a tribute to the King of Pop.

Sharing that thought is the largest online Michael Jackson fan forum, which boasts thousands of members. The community site put out a statement this week saying that they didn’t support the concert, and they “urged” fans to boycott the gig. With such a large section of fans already turning on the organisers of the show, and the largest fan forum telling MJ lovers to boycott it, who is actually going to turn up?

The event’s official Facebook page won’t be bringing many more fans... it has around 3800 members - a good 68,000 short of the 72,000 tickets due to go on sale for the gig, with a large chunk of those 3800 people there solely to condemn and dispute the gig with the helpless admins. The registration process, bought in to give fans a “fairer chance” of getting hold of tickets, seem like overkill right now. Unfortunately for the promoters, tickets for Michael Forever seem to be about as desirable as a street riot.

ImageIn fact, the process of getting tickets has been so poorly advertised and handled, that it’s caused the registration period to be extended yet another 72 hours – days after they were initially forced to postpone the registration by a few days after the organisers failed to tell anyone who would actually be performing. Not to mention the fact that no-one really wants to spend a Kings Ransom to see another glorified X Factor lineup, jiggling around on stage for 4 hours.

And, as if the fans not supporting the concert wasn’t enough, Michael’s estate have also publicly made it known that they aren’t supporting the show either. They even published an open letter they wrote to Global Live Events for all to see, confirming that the organisers couldn’t use Michael’s name, image, songs or property during the event, which certainly puts any live global TV rights and merchandising in to serious doubt.

Now, I’m not an event organiser myself, but I know I’d have a tough time putting on a Michael Jackson tribute show without being able to even use his name, image, likeness or songs during the event. This is probably why the concert is called ‘Michael Forever’ – it doesn’t contain his full name because the organisers didn’t have the rights to use it. In fact, none of the official pages or sites for the show uses his full name or image. Don’t expect to get your hands on any event merchandise with the Michael Jackson name or Michael’s image on either.

So who DOES support Michael Forever? The supporters of the gig within the Jackson family are Katherine, Michael’s 81 year old mother, and a selection of Michael’s siblings – notably La Toya Jackson, Michael’s sister. She is a founder of a US-based media company called Ja-Tail – the company employs Paul Ring as President of Ja-Tail Interactive, and VP of the group’s Business Development. This is according to the Ja Tail website - (jatail.com/paul-ring). For those of you who don’t know, Paul Ring is also the US director of Global Live Events, the organiser of the concert. Could this be why La Toya is supporting the Michael Forever event? It has huge profit potential if it’s done right, as we pointed out in our previous feature.

And money is what the Jackson family need if reports are to be believed – the famous musical family are said to be in massive debt. Michael was believed to have died with over $400million debt, and although he continued to make millions of dollars after his passing, his family didn’t. Rumours are that some of the Jackson family now have normal, day-to-day jobs. Apparently, Tito Jackson plays shows with his blues band for just $500 a show, while Jackie set-up an Internet clothing business that unfortunately didn’t work out, and he’s struggled with money ever since. There are reports that Jermaine declared bankruptcy in 1995 and hasn’t earned significantly since then. Katherine Jackson, probably the biggest supporter of the show, has already received $100,000 payments in the form of trust funds for Michael's three children.

Putting all this together, it seems as though the Jackson family are simply in need of a huge pay day – and Michael Forever certainly has the potential to generate a ‘huge pay day’.

Putting the fans, the estate and the family aside, the concert still isn’t appealing to the general public. The line-up generally consists of UK talent show winners, obscure bands and has-beens - like a glorified X-Factor winner’s show. I didn’t know Michael personally, and again I’m no event organiser, but I am certainly confused at the addition of names like 90’s pop-group 3T, American rock band Alien Ant Farm, and Craig David (who hasn’t really done much since the days of ‘Rise and Fall’). No prizes for guessing how Tito Jackson's sons 3T got on the bill. And apparently, if you’ve been on a UK talent show, you’re almost guaranteed a spot headlining the Michael Forever concert – JLS, Alexandra Burke, Diversity and Leona Lewis will all be performing there too, and I’m 90% sure Michael or the majority of his family will have never heard of JLS or Alexandra Burke. Even the actual big names, like Christina Aguilera, and less so Smokey Robinson and Cee Lo Green, have relatively no allegiance to Michael Jackson, they don’t represent anything about him and, in the words of Global Live Events themselves, this concert is supposed to “remind everyone just how amazing a talent Jackson was.” Then again, they also described the gig as “the biggest and best concert in the world”.

When you look at all of the facts and take everything in to consideration, it’s more than fair that the fans aren’t happy with the promoters or the concert. What could have been spectacular now seems like a damp squib. Poorly executed and without the necessary support from the estate needed to make it a success. A quote from the promoters ticket registration terms and conditions says “Tickets for the Concert are expected to sell out very soon after they are put on sale.” However, it’s possibly more likely that tickets won’t see the light of day and the concert won’t even go ahead.

And with ticket prices ranging from £55 for restricted view upper tier seats, to £240 for the best seats in the venue, this may be good enough reason, during tough economical times, for many fans to reluctantly stay away from the event.

Will you be buying tickets for the gig? Can you even afford to go? Or will you be boycotting the show? Let us know your opinions on the Michael Forever concert in the comments below.

(Addendum) Originating and based in Cardiff, Stereoboard would love to see the event go ahead, but with the support of the Michael Jackson estate, with proceeds going to charity, and with the spectacular line-up that was originally promised. This would be worth the price of the tickets, and whether or not this is THE definitive tribute event for the late King of Pop remains to be seen.

Official Michael Forever Facebook Page - www.facebook.com/M4Tribute

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