Let's Make It a Millennium Night to Remember!; AS THE CELEBRATION OF THE CENTURY DRAWS NEAR ENTERTAINMENT PLANS FOR THE MOMENTOUS OCCASION ARE UNVEILED
Goulden, Barbara, Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
THE big thing about Coventry's 12 hours of top-class millennium celebrations is that they will all be FREE, say the organisers.
Coventry and Warwickshire Promotions, in conjunction with the City Centre Company, has secured core funding from the city council along with huge grants from the regional Millennium Celebrations Fund and the European Union totalling pounds 275,000.
Performers from as far afield as Brazil, Tanzania and Hungary will join the live bands, jugglers, acrobats and even bell ringers helping to welcome the 21st century.
Headline act Ramon Kelvink - who is billed as "One Man, Two Spires...and 30,000 fingers crossed..." has now agreed to perform a total of three shows.
Only one will be the skywalk itself, which has been re-scheduled for 9.20pm.
But Ramon has also agreed to do a "tea-time" show in the city centre at 4pm when he will perform on top of a 40 foot high bouncy pole.
At midnight the oscillating pole - to give it its proper title - will be lengthened to a frightening 50 foot and set up near the cathedral.
Rae Hoole of CWP said: "We want everyone from babies to great-great- grandmothers to have a chance of coming in to town at some point on December 31."
Events will largely centre on the shopping precinct crossroads where the fountain will be covered over to form a stage.
Giant video screens will be set up to exchange messages of goodwill with many of Coventry's 26 twin towns.
Coventry Lord Mayor Cllr Joan Wright is also expected to be present at most of the events which kick-off with Gary Allcock and his All Stars Band and Singers at 11am.
Cllr Joan Wright said: "This is going to be the best live show in the Midlands and I would urge everyone to come along and have a good time.
"I am very pleased the organisers have decided to switch the time of the tightrope walk to 9.20pm because it will mean more families with young children can enjoy the spectacle together.
"There will be fireworks and foodstalls and it looks like it's going to be a fantastic night with something for everyone."
The Birmingham-based forties-style band have backed artists such as Cleo Laine and the late Ronnie Scott and have toured extensively throughout Britain, Europe and America.
At noon it will be time for fifties tribute band Johny and the Zephyrs followed by a re-incarnation of the sixties with The PreFab Four,
who perform Beatles' hit
classics with an uncanny attention to detail.
At 2pm the action switches to two venues with Glam Rock showband Ballroom Glitz on the fountain stage and Hungarian folk violin ensemble Hegedus - from Coventry's twin town in Kecskemet - performing in Broadgate.
Comedy juggler John Teasdale will be part of the Broadgate show on his unicycle and "medicine man" Dave Southall will explain the importance of Ramon's tightrope walk which many city historians see as a piece of unfinished history dating back to 1884 when the legendary Charles Blondin performed at Cheylesmore flower show and asked for permission to cross between the two church spires.
Blondin was refused. …