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O NO; EXCLUSIVE Free concert axed over lack of acts.

Byline: by PAUL MARTIN

IRELAND'S biggest free concert O2 In The Park has been sensationally axed due to a crisis in the pop industry.

The Phoenix Park show attracts 100,000 fans every year but will not go ahead this summer - because there aren't enough Irish pop acts to fill the bill.

The Irish Daily Mirror can reveal promoters have secretly ditched plans for the huge July event which has ran for the past five years.

A showbiz source said last night: "This is a disaster for the pop industry in Ireland. It's a major blow and proof that things are changing.

"There simply aren't enough pop bands in Ireland any more to fill the bill. Everyone is into rock now and the pop industry is losing millions.

"It's an ominous sign for the Irish pop industry which has been on a high for over a decade now.

"It's really disappointing for the fans who snapped up all the free tickets in a matter of hours last year."

The Dublin concert, sponsored by mobile phone giants 02, has attracted huge names over the years including Westlife, Girls Aloud, Blue and Charlotte Church.

But now rock festivals such as Oxegen, Electric Picnic and Slane have taken over as the most popular events.

The insider added: "Irish pop acts from the past such as D-Side, Bellefire and Six are simply no longer around. Other than Westlife there are no big names in the pop industry from Ireland any more.

"Even Samantha Mumba, who used to attend the show nearly every year, is living in Los Angles now and concentrating on making music.

"Ireland was dominating the pop business a few years ago but now, like everywhere else in the world, people are going back to rock."

Show promoters Aiken last night refused to comment on the revelations.

But one record company representative said: "It's true we haven't been asked to provide any acts for the show and nobody else has either. There aren't the number of pop acts, in Ireland or beyond, that there used to be."

showbiz@irishmirror.ie

CAPTION(S):

GONE: Mumba' POPULAR: Church
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 1, 2006
Words:354
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