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Sting Concert Goes Down Well, Though Few Can Attend

By IWPR
A concert given by British rock star Sting was a hit with fans in Uzbekistan, although with tickets at over 200 US dollars a time, most had to watch it on screens set up outside the venue.



The October 17 event was part of an arts festival run by the Culture and Arts Forum of Uzbekistan, which is run by President Islam Karimov’s daughter Gulnara. The organisation says the profits will go to charity causes and grants.



Fans gathered in the square outside the Navoi Theatre sang along as they watched Sting’s performance on giant monitors a, some climbing up lampposts for a better view.



Tashkent rarely sees performers of this stature, so many doubted Sting would actually come when they first got wind of the concert.



"I didn't believe Sting would come," said Madina, one of the fans watching her idol on the screens. "He did come after all, and that’s great."



Sergei, another member of the audience, said, "I thought it was a publicity stunt – they’d hype it up and then they’d just say he was ill and couldn’t make it.”



Another fan said he never doubted the concert would take place given that Gulnara Karimova’s arts forum had previously brought in other big names like Julio Iglesias and Status Quo, and could not afford to fail.



(NBCentralAsia is an IWPR-funded project to create a multilingual news analysis and comment service for Central Asia, drawing on the expertise of a broad range of political observers across the region. The project ran from August 2006 to September 2007, covering all five regional states. With new funding, the service has resumed, covering Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.)