It may not be the Greatest Show On Earth, but BBC Radio 1 Live, which unfolds Sunday
in Cardiff, Wales, will be the largest tented concert in Europe -- literally, rock 'n' roll under
the Big Top.
Headliners Manic Street Preachers and Hurricane #1, along with Republica, Robbie
Williams, Ash, Divine Comedy and the Shirehorses -- most of whom are on the radio
station's A-list -- will strut their stuff in front of 10,000 fans at the sold-out show.
Concert officials said that if it were not for the big top, the crowd could have been much
"We had to limit tickets to the capacity of the tent," Radio 1 spokesman Paul Simpson
said. "It is the biggest in Europe." Simpson said that 30 requests had been received for
each of the tickets. The tickets were made available to listeners through a Radio 1
hotline, which was open on Fridays only. All 10,000 tickets had been sent out by the end
of the second Friday that tickets were offered.
James Foster from Wolverhampton, England, was one of the fans trying to get through on
the phone lines -- and among the lucky ones who placed an order. "I tried for ages to get
through, and I was really very pleased to get tickets," Foster said. "I know a few people
who called too late."
Foster said that he is planning to travel almost 100 miles to Cardiff to see his favorite
band. "I think the Manic Street Preachers are just amazing," he said. "In fact, I can't
believe I'm actually going to see them live!"
While September is usually considered to be past the close of the summer festival
season in the U.K., Simpson claimed that the spirit of the gig won't be dampened
because of the event's timing. "This gig is like a late extension to the summer," Simpson
said. "Not only the fans, but the artists are really looking forward to it."
One of those enthusiastic performers is Williams, formerly a member of boy-band Take
That. Williams is one of the primary draws for many fans attending the mini-festival. He
achieved considerable success in the U.K. after the band split and is promoting a
forthcoming U.K. album release on Chrysalis Records.
"It's just a really good live-music event -- a chance for Robbie to play to over 10,000
people. Radio 1 Live should have a really good atmosphere," said an anonymous
representative for Chrysalis. "Playing live for Robbie is like a payback to everyone who's
supported him by buying his records."
The Radio 1 Live tent will be situated in Cooper's Field in Cardiff on Sunday. Tickets are
now sold out, although Radio 1 is continuing to hold competitions for VIP passes.