J. Lo faces possible lawsuit from Cyprus hotel

Jenny from the Block might lose some of those killer rocks she’s got. A luxury hotel in northern Cyprus is threatening to sue Jennifer Lopez for $40 million after the pop star canceled a concert there, citing political reasons, according to Sky News.

Lopez was scheduled to perform at the Cratos Premium hotel on July 24, but backed out after the booking “outraged Greek Cypriots in the south of the island nation.” Apparently, J.Lo’s appearance triggered fury among Greeks who felt her concert gave legitimacy to northern Cyprus. The protesters sent thousands of notes and letters to J.Lo and her representation, causing the singer to back out of the show.

A spokesperson for J.Lo told celebrity gossip website TMZ:

“Jennifer Lopez would never knowingly support any state, country, institution or regime that was associated with any form of human rights abuse. “After a full review of the relevant circumstances in Cyprus, it was the decision of management to withdraw from the appearance. This was a team decision that reflects our sensitivity to the political realities of the region.”

J.Lo can still salvage the relationship with Cyprus, though. The hotel owner said the lawsuit will be dropped if Lopez reconfirms her concert at the hotel.

Listen up: America’s top 10 outdoor concert venues

Outdoor arenas, beach-side stages, amphitheaters under the stars – the sounds of summer are everywhere, you just have to buy a ticket. So where do you go to hear the best music and see the best concerts? Next time you want a little groove in your summer night, take a trip to one of the top outdoor music venues in America and enjoy the sounds of summer.

Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, New York.
The primary summer stop for every major act in the New York Metropolitan area. Everyone from Phish to Rush has rocked the beach. The stage is surrounded by the open water of New York‘s Great South Bay. Boats often cruise close for a listen.

The Greek Theatre, Berkeley, California. The “home field” of the good ol’ Grateful Dead is in California. Stunning acoustics, the mellowest, intimate crowds and that unique University vibe – it’s on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. Home to the annual Berkeley Jazz Festival.

The Gorge Amphitheater, George, Washington. Perfectly situated over the Columbia River, The Gorge Amphitheater in Washington is widely regarded as the most inviting outdoor venue in the country. Scenery, sound and weather are routinely picture perfect. Pearl Jam recorded their monstrous box set here.

Buckeye Lake Music Center, Hebron, Ohio. Thanks to a steep open-air “mountainside”, a rainy night turns this Oregon Ohio concert venue into a true mudslide/madhouse. Spacious camping and tailgating scenes outside make this venue a total summer free-for-all.Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga, New York. Security is mellow here and the scene outside is always friendly. The venue itself features a well covered and expansive pavilion with open lawn seating behind it. Frequenters include James Taylor, Carly Simon and Carole King.

Summerstage, Central Park, New York City. “Hot town, summer in the city…” A truly intimate outdoor venue, if there is such a thing. Tucked away in a corner of the park on the Upper East Side, surrounded by trees and wonderful breezes is Summerstage in New York City. Once the gig ends, you can spill out into the streets of the greatest city in the world to keep the party going.

Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, Maryland. Wide open green spaces, surrounded on all sides by breezy trees and forest of the most pristine variety. The venue itself is small but has great acoustics. For sonic reference, dig The Jerry Garcia Band’s recorded and released performance.

Alpine Valley Music Theater, East Troy, Wisconsin
. Wisconsin in the summertime equals bright sun, low humidity, and clean air, which makes for an awesome evening under the stars at Alpine Valley. Every major rock act you can think of swings through during the summer, including Dave Matthews, who has long considered it his favorite place to play.

Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison, Colorado. The mecca of American outdoor music, this venue is embedded in multi-hued mountains and stone monoliths, surrounded by breathtaking views of..well…the red rocks of Colorado. It’s acoustically perfect and a majestic experience. U2’s legendary documented performance still sets the standard.

Drew Moss is a Seed.com contributor.

Universal Orlando announces summer concert series

Train (“Drops of Jupiter”), Rob Thomas (Matchbox 20) and Counting Crows (“Round Here”) will perform on Saturday nights this summer at Universal Orlando Resort.

It’s the second year for the Summer Concert Series, with seven concerts planned on Saturday nights between June 12 and July 17.

The concerts happen inside the Universal Studios Florida theme park, and they are free with theme park admission.

There’s some great balance in the list of artists performing. Several decades of stardom are represented, which should draw in folks of all ages. (This 30-something will definitely be there on July 17!) Here is the full lineup:

  • June 12, Train
  • June 19, Pitbull
  • June 26, Earth, Wind and Fire
  • July 3, Pat Benatar and REO Speewagon
  • July 10, Rob Thomas
  • July 17, Counting Crows

Universal Orlando has one of the best outdoor concert venues at any theme park, anywhere. Music Plaza opened last year right in front of the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster.

West Fest: 40th Anniversary of Woodstock is FREE!

If you missed Woodstock forty years ago, or feel that counterculture may have passed you by, the West Fest: 40th Anniversary of Woodstock festival is a place to catch up.

At Golden Gate Park in San Francisco this Sunday, Oct. 25th, counter culture is using its voice again–big time.

From 9 a.m to 6 p.m, hundreds of San Francisco-based musicians, Beat Generation poets, anti-war speakers, members of the Free Speech Movement, members of the Green Movement and others are joining forces to celebrate California’s trend-setting role in the counterculture movement.

As part of the venue, 3,000 musicians will play Jimmy Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” at the same time in an effort to break the world record for the largest guitar ensemble.

Several of the musicians are from groups that might sound familiar, i.e., Starship, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, Greg Allman’s Band, and the Byrds. To be clear–this doesn’t mean these bands will appear, but people who are from these groups will be performing.

As the West Fest page of the Woodstock Story website points out, the San Francisco area is where the Free Speech Movement, Free Love Movement, Farm Workers Movement, Women’s Movement, Gay Rights Movement, and the Sexual Revolution first took hold.

Whether you’re a counterculture type or not, West Fest sounds like an event not to miss if you’re within shouting distance of San Francisco. Couldn’t you use a bit of peace, love and good cheer?

As a plus, unlike 40 years ago, the weather on Sunday in San Francisco is supposed to be sublime. How does mostly sunny and a high of 75 degrees sound?

During three days of the four-day Woodstock concert, it mostly rained.

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly place to stay in San Francisco, check out The Good Hotel.

Surviving Chicago’s Market Days festival

This Saturday and Sunday, Chicago welcomes the largest street festival in the Midwest, Northalsted Market Days. It’s a two-day free-for-all of over 400 vendors, 40 concerts and drag shows, street food, booze . . . and lots and lots of half-naked men.

You see, Market Days takes place in Boystown, a stretch of Halsted Street in the Lakeview neighborhood that is home to the majority of the city’s gay bars and adult shops (plus plenty of trendy restaurants and unique boutiques for any orientation) and many of its gay residents. While the festival isn’t adults-only, you’ll definitely see some things you might have a hard time explaining to your kids (“Mommy, what’s a speculum?”).

While Market Days is predominantly a party – you’ll see more champagne-slushy stands and margarita vendors than anything else – it’s also a chance to support the local community. The money raised from the voluntary $7 donation goes to support the Northalsted Merchants Association that represents the local business owners. They also profit greatly from the event in the form of extra business during Market Days, both at their restaurants and at booths they operate at the fest. Need a new “special toy”, some knock-off designer sunglasses, a hammock for your backyard, a set of “pitcher” and “catcher” t-shirts, or maybe just an arm full of used books? Market Days has you covered with it’s eclectic collection of vendors. You’ll also find giveaways and contests; last year a friend of mine won two sets of round-trip tickets from Travelocity’s “cash-grab” booth.

If you get tired of sipping frozen cocktails, sampling from food stalls, checking out the merchandise and just taking in some of the more outlandish outfits (or lack thereof) worn by the crowd, you can head over to the concert stage where performers like En Vogue and Jody Watley will entertain, along with some local Chicago bands. For that you’ll have to pony up a bit more though. Wristbands to see the stage run from $30-$50 each.

Given the huge crowds and sensory overload you’ll experience at Market Days, the first time can be a bit overwhelming. Here are a few tips for survival.

Bring cash. In addition to the $7 donation fee, you’ll need it for any purchase you make from a vendor. There are ATM machines located around the route, but they often run out of money over the weekend.

Bring toilet paper and hand sanitizer. A few hundred thousand drunk people can really take their toll on the porta-potties. Come prepared. Most establishments along the route will not let you use their facilities unless you buy something.

Bring snacks and water. You aren’t supposed to bring booze into the fest (though it’s easy enough to sneak in) but you can bring in some water to stay hydrated and some healthy snacks to keep your strength up.

Wear closed-toe shoes. Especially as the night wears on, your chances of getting stepped on (or worse, stepping in something unsavory) increase.

Bring your cell phone if you plan to meet up with friends and make a plan to meet just inside or outside one of the entrances. Make a plan for if you get separated too. It’s easy to get distracted and wander off from your group.

Bring a camera. You’ll want to document this. Trust me.

Dress to impress. If you’re looking for a hook up, bring your A-game. You’ll have lots of competition. From skinny young guys in nothing but a pair of speedos and some feathery angel wings to older “bears” in full-on leather, you’ll see it all and if you want to stand out, you’ll need to make an effort.

Take public transportation. If you plan on drinking, and even if you don’t, taking the El (Belmont Red Line) or bus is the way to go. Cops are out in full force looking for drunk drivers, and parking around the fest is nearly impossible anyways.

Come with an open mind. Market Days is a party for sure. But it’s also a celebration, of love and acceptance. Everyone is happy and friendly. Whether you are gay or straight, male or female, you’ll be approached or maybe even propositioned, but either way you’ll have a great time.