Pop's aristocracy but no punk at Queen's concert

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The Independent Culture

Two concerts, one pop and one classical, are to be held in the gardens of Buckingham Palace in June to celebrate the Queen's golden jubilee, it was announced yesterday.

Two concerts, one pop and one classical, are to be held in the gardens of Buckingham Palace in June to celebrate the Queen's golden jubilee, it was announced yesterday.

Every person in the 12,000-strong audience at each concert will receive a picnic hamper with a half bottle of champagne. Tickets will be free and will be allocated in a ballot. People can apply over the phone or the internet but the allocation will ensure a spread of concert-goers from around the country, with only a certain number of tickets given to each county.

Yesterday's line up featured a spread of big names from the Queen's reign, though the musically "forgotten years" before the rock 'n' roll explosion in the late Fifties have not so far been represented.

The later years are, however, with a spread of big names from the Sixties to the present day, including a Beatle, a Beach Boy and several Atomic Kittens. Sir Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson will be joined by Eric Clapton, Tom Jones and Sir Elton John among the rock aristocracy.

Even the "house band" that will accompany most of the acts has Phil Collins on drums. Will Young, the winner of ITV'sPop Idol competition, will also perform.

There is an absence of Britpop and punk but the list is not yet finalised and more names are promised over the coming months. It is a pretty safe bet the likes of Cliff Richard, Mick Jagger, David Bowie and, probably, Madonna will appear.

The classical concert, which takes place on Saturday, 1 June, two days before the rock concert, will feature Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Rostropovich, Ronberto Alagna and Angela Gheorgiou. Again, more names are expected to be added.

The Queen and members of the Royal Family, including princes William and Harry, will attend. It is the first time that Buckingham Palace has been used for such an event.

Giant screens will relay the action to Green Park, Trafalgar Square and other locations. The BBC will broadcast the even live worldwide. At a press launch in Buckingham Palace yesterday, Sir George Martin, the former record producer who is creative consultant for the concerts, said: "The artists represent the greatest composers and performers of their generation."

Sir Michael Peat, Keeper of the Privy Purse, said: "The palace will be decked out in its party mode and gear." He faced a barrage of questions from reporters about the event. Would the teenage princes William and Harry be attending? "They are very much looking forward to the event," he said. Could soft drugs be a problem among the crowd at the pop concert? "I don't think we have particular concerns in that area," he replied in a practised diplomatic tone.

Applications for tickets can be made by calling 0900 1952 2002 and at internet site, www.bbc.co.uk/queensconcerts.

Through the decades: Stars not appearing for the Queen

Tony Bennett (Fifties)

Still going strong but represents the "forgotten years" of the Queen's reign. The pre-rock'n'roll Fifties are seen as musically incorrect.

Keith Richards (Sixties)

The only surviving Sixties legend who managed to grow old disgracefully, Keef is not on the list of artists. He might be persuaded by June, but Royal gigs aren't his scene, man.

The Sex Pistols (Seventies)

Johnny Rotten would surely reform the band for such an occasion. But Mr Rotten has not been asked. His lyric "God Save the Queen, It's A Fascist Regime" might not be in the spirit of the occasion.

Duran Duran (Eighties)

The band were the toast of the Thatcher decade. Their absence is not due to fear that they might misbehave. It is simply because the Queen has better taste.

Robbie Williams (Nineties and Noughties)

Britain's biggest pop star of the moment is conspicuously absent from the list.

He has told the Palace he cannot make the event because he is "sorting out personal problems".

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