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POP EYE

COOLED BRITANNIA: The cancellation of the Phoenix Festival--one of the U.K.'s biggest annual music events--has given a serious blow to the nation’s pop scene amid slackening album sales and much debate that the vaunted renaissance of British rock of recent years is over.

Phoenix, scheduled to take place July 16-19 near Stratford-Upon-Avon, was to have included the first live performance by New Order in nearly five years, as well as headline appearances by Prodigy and Ocean Colour Scene, whose “Mosely Shoals” was one of the top-selling albums in England last year. But less than a third of the available 45,000 tickets had been sold when the plug was pulled.

This was the second major fest to be scrapped this year, following Universe, a two-day dance music event that was to have taken place at Knebworth last month, but was canceled after only 9,000 of 40,000 tickets were sold.

These turns match a gloomy view being expressed by some British music industry leaders. Alan McGee, owner of Creation Records, the label that has Oasis, wrote in a recent issue of the music weekly NME that he’s not surprised about the lack of interest in new music.

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“When I ask people what they think of the music scene, they say it’s a dilution of a dilution of a dilution,” he wrote. “There’s nothing at the moment for people to get right behind, so the music industry’s dying on its feet.”


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