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Music industry should support Manchester attack families, mayor says

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Andy Burnham, pictured speaking at the arena reopening concert in September

Music stars have been urged to “forever support” the families of the Manchester Arena victims and agree to a concert being organised by one of the fathers.

Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said the music world can send a message that it will “stand united against terrorism”.

Andrew Roussos, whose eight-year-old daughter Saffie died in the attack, has appealed to Ed Sheeran, Coldplay and U2 to play at a concert in her memory.

So far no acts have been announced for the gig in Manchester on 19 August.

Mr Burnham has supported Mr Roussos’s plans for the event, which has been scheduled to take place at the Old Trafford cricket ground.

“I would echo his call for artists to get involved and to make this a thing that is a positive that comes out of the terrible tragedy that happened,” he said.

The mayor added: “There are demands on stars to perform everywhere and they’ve got busy schedules and we all understand that, and Andrew understands that as well.”

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Media captionEight-year-old Saffie Roussos was one of 22 people killed in the Manchester arena attack.

But he drew parallels with the response from footballers after 96 Liverpool fans died at Hillsborough in 1989. Manager Sir Kenny Dalglish helped ensure the club was represented at all of the fans’ funerals and attended many in person.

He said: “In the same way that Hillsborough was a football tragedy and the football family came together to support the families then, you could say that what happened at Manchester Arena was a tragedy that did hit the music industry and the lifeblood of the music industry, which is the people that buy recordings and go to live performances.

“My call would be to the industry collectively to forever support the families that lost their loved ones, but also to use their power to send a message around the world that terrorism will never be allowed to drain the passion, the love, the energy out of the music industry, and that we’re going to stand united against terrorism.

“I think it would be great if the industry could pick up that call.”

It has been a month since Andrew Roussos made his public appeal for stars to appear at a “modern-day Live Aid”.

“I want to celebrate my daughter, she was full of life and she loved music,” he said.

He also wants the concert to raise funds for the victims of future terrorist attacks. So far, James McVey from The Vamps has said he is “trying my best” to help.

An array of stars, including Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Take That and Katy Perry, did appear at the One Love concert soon after the Manchester attack.

Mr Burnham was speaking at the launch event for a review of opportunities for up-and-coming artists in what he described as Britain’s “capital of music”.

He said: “It’s a much harder world I think for young bands and performers to make their way and I want an infrastructure in place in this city that brings on the next generation of Mancunian talent.”

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