Festival of Freddie events marks Mercury anniversary

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The Independent Culture

Fans around the world were this weekend preparing to mark what would have been the 60th birthday of late Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.

Concerts, exhibitions and parties are being held to coincide with Tuesday's anniversary for the flamboyant singer whose death in 1991 was one of the most high-profile Aids deaths of the time. It led to him becoming a focus for fundraising activities to combat the disease.

Yesterday, Mercury's mother Jer Bulsara and his sister Kashmira Cooke visited the site of a new art installation which has been unveiled in the Place du Marché in Montreux - where Mercury had a home - to mark the occasion. Other events will take place in Cape Town, Cologne, Vienna and Tokyo over the next few days.

In London, Mercury's former bandmates, the guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor, will be taking part in a fundraising performance of the Queen musical We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre in London, also on Tuesday. Birthday presents will be collected and later auctioned in aid of The Mercury Phoenix Trust, the Aids charity set up by the remaining members of Queen and their manager, Jim Beach, to fight the virus.

The death of the Zanzibar-born singer, whose biggest hits included "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "We Are the Champions", will also be marked with the release of a CD and a DVD.

Also in London will be a 60th-anniversary photographic exhibition featuring images of Mercury from public and private collections, at the Proud Central Gallery.