Leading article: Band on the run

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The Independent Online

Any busker could have told them. The height of the rush hour is just about the worst time to get an attentive audience. Yes, there are loads of people about, but most of them are too focused, in too much of a hurry or too anxious to insulate themselves from the rest of the hustling humanity around them to want to be bothered with music.

You can see why the organisers chose the revamped St Pancras International station as the venue for a six-week summer music festival. More than a million people cross its concourse every week. In an age of ever-dropping CD sales and, most recently, a fall-off in live ticket sales too, one of Britain's busiest railway stations must have seemed like a way of reaching far more people than the biggest summer music festival. And without the accompanying mud.

But will anyone have the time to listen? Perhaps it depends on what the bands play. Something upbeat might encourage the crowds to keep moving. A ballad should slow people down. But that could cause bottlenecks and irritation to the bewildered on-pushers behind. Perhaps the less busy lunchtime sessions will prove more successful than those between 6 and 7pm. But it could well be that bands who are hopeful now will end up playing a forlorn tune.