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2/7/2005 (updated 2/25/2005)

Queen courts music biz at Palace

07 February 2005 - 14:01:48

The Queen is opening the doors of Buckingham Palace to the music industry for the first time, with an event to celebrate its contribution to British culture. Up to 600 musicians and industry figures will attend the reception given by Her Majesty and The Duke of Edinburgh on March 1, representing the first time the Queen has recognised the music industry en masse. It will be the latest in a series of themed events staged by the Palace since 2003, with previous receptions having celebrated pioneers, women of achievement and British designers. Buckingham Palace declines to comment on the list of invitees due to data protection issues, but representatives of the majors and the key trade bodies, as well as independent figures such as Beggars Group's Martin Mills, Mute founder Daniel Miller and Aim's Alison Wenham are known to have been invited. Those who have already responded include Eric Clapton, Sir Tim Rice, Terry Wogan and a London Underground busker named Angelina Kalahari. The early-evening reception takes place in the Buckingham Palace state rooms, after a day in which young musicians will perform for the Queen and Prince Philip and 200 inner city schoolchildren from five London boroughs. The Queen will be briefed on the achievements of her guests before being led through the state rooms. "The Queen and the royal party will process through the rooms meeting people," says a Buckingham Palace spokeswoman. "It is sort of like a giant walkabout." Although sections of the industry have staged events for Tory party grandees and represented themselves at the Labour Party conference in recent months, the idea to honour British music came from within the Queen's Household. Invitations went out in late January, at the end of a three-month process in which selected industry figures were invited to nominate individuals they believed to be worthy of recognition. "The idea stemmed from here and then we went out and talked to all sorts of different people," says the Buckingham Palace spokesperson. "We talked to the different Government departments and large industry bodies and asked them to put names forward."

The emphasis is on rewarding those who have contributed to the music business down the years, as well as those who play a leading role today. "It is pitched as a recognition of the contribution the music industry makes to Britain," says the spokesperson.

Aim was selected as one of the trade bodies asked to contribute names. "There will be people who have really trail-blazed the independent business," says CEO and chairman Alison Wenham. "People who really have put a stamp on what independence means through the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties and are still going." "To be acknowledged as an industry, from buskers to billionaires, is a pretty grand gesture," she adds.



Photo courtesy of The Royal Collection 2005, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II