Australian stars line up for bushfire victims


June 18, 2010 Updated Mar 14, 2009 at 10:11 AM EDT

* Stars turn out for bushfire victims

* 100,000 at concerts in Sydney and Melbourne

* Special message from William and Harry

(Adds Prince William, Kylie Minogue quotes)

MELBOURNE, March 14 (Reuters) - Some of the biggest names in
Australian music took to the stage on Saturday for the country's
largest-ever fund-raising concert and to show support for
victims of the nation's bushfires.

More than 100,000 people are estimated to have turned out
for the "Sound Relief" concerts, held simultaneously in Sydney
and Melbourne.

The concerts took place as authorities said the last of the
large fires that ravaged Victoria state last month had finally
been brought under control after weeks of fire-fighting efforts.

The bushfires left 210 people dead and 10,000 homeless --
Australia's worst natural disaster in more than a century.

In a special message, Prince William and Prince Harry
expressed sympathy for the victims of the fires.

"For those survivors who have lost someone they love, we can
only imagine what they are going through," Prince William said.
"For them, and for all those left injured and homeless, the
tragedy is far from over."

Australian pop diva Kylie Minogue, who flew in specially for
the event, also added her support following a minute's silence
in memory of the victims.

"I think that the minute's silence probably says more than
any of us could say," Minogue said. "I'm so thankful I can make
it home tonight and share this with all of you."

Among those performing was Australia's environment minister,
Peter Garrett, with his band Midnight Oil, one of three that has
specially reunited just for the event.

Garrett said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had been happy for
him to take part.

"We didn't have to convince the prime minister or anyone
else about us playing," he told a news conference. "I said I'd
love us to get out on the stage together. The boys were ready to
do it, and it was just one of those things that happened very


The event was opened by British pop group Coldplay,
currently on tour in Australia.

Others scheduled to take part included Barry Gibb of the Bee
Gees and Olivia Newton-John.

"I shall be there with wings on my heels to help in any way
I can the victims of this terrible disaster, let's make it count
for all of them," Gibb said in a statement.

Ticket agency Ticketek said the event at Melbourne Cricket
Ground was sold out with 79,000 people paying $75 a ticket,
making it Australia's biggest paid concert, topping the previous
record crowd of nearly 75,000 for Guns n' Roses in 1993.

A crowd of 40,000 was expected at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

"It's just an amazing result," Michael Gudinski of Frontier
Touring Company said in a statement.

"It's truly impressive how much the Australian public has
gotten behind this. It speaks volumes of the passion of our
great country - helping a mate in trouble."

Other bands reuniting for the day include Split Enz, and
Hunters and Collectors.

The Melbourne line-up also included U.S. singer Jack
Johnson, Augie March, Gabriella Cilmi, Kasey Chambers and Shane
Nicholson with Troy Cassar-Daley, Liam Finn, Paul Kelly,
Wolfmother and Bliss N Eso with Paris Wells.

The Sydney concert featured The Presets, Josh Pyke, Eskimo
Joe, The Hoodoo Gurus, Jet, Icehouse, Little Birdy, You Am I and
the Midnight Juggernauts.

All profits from the Melbourne show will go to the Red Cross
Victorian Bushfire Appeal to help victims of the fires while the
Sydney funds will be split between the bushfire appeal and a
fund for flood victims in Queensland.
(Additional reporting by Belinda Goldsmith; Editing by Giles

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