by: Submitted photo - Singer Paul Rodgers, from the band Bad Company, will be the headliner at the 2005 Collage of Culture May 21.

   Paul Rodgers -- the voice behind the legendary rock band Bad Company -- is scheduled to headline the 2005 Collage of Culture.
   Rodgers is the signature voice of such classic hits as "All Right Now," "Feel Like Making Love" and "Rock Steady" -- and other Bad Company staples of Classic Rock radio.
   Rodgers will be touring as a solo act with a backing band at the time and not with his Bad Company bandmates. Rodgers was also recently tabbed to tour with the band Queen, as a vocalist replacing Freddie Mercury, who died of AIDS in the 1980s. It is hoped that the tours will not conflict.
   According to the Bad Company official Web site, the Queen tour is scheduled to end in Wembley, England on May 11. Rodgers is contracted for the Collage on May 21.
   Jefferson County Chamber Director Parrish Van Wert said that the Collage organization has verified with the Rodgers management that he will uphold his solo contract dates.
   The 12th annual Collage, set for May 21, will mark a new era for the festival; for one, it will be held at the fairgrounds instead of Friendship Park.
   Due to electrical power and some other issues, "the old site would not be able to hold the Collage as planned this year," said Van Wert. With the school district's Friendship Park a target of potential for development, Van Wert said a new venue would be needed soon anyway.
   At the fairgrounds, the live music and dance aspects of the Collage will continue to be outside. Fairgrounds buildings will be used for various indoor Collage activities and programs.
   Another big change will be the cost to see the headliner. As last year, the Collage will still charge a $5 entrance fee for the daylong event. However, the grounds will be cleared during the hour before the evening concert. Tickets for the Paul Rodgers concert will be $18 for general admission, $25 for VIP seating.
   Those who purchase a concert ticket will be allowed into the Collage all day without having to pay an additional $5. The concert tickets will be sold through the Ticketmaster system, prior to the event, and not at the door. People will be able to purchase the tickets on line or at Ticketmaster outlets.
   "We're looking for ways to take the Collage up to the next level," said Van Wert. "We felt we needed an act to draw people from outside the area to showcade our city, yet maintain the smalltown festival part of the Collage that it was born to be."
   Van Wert said he's hoping the concert will draw between 6,000 and 8,000 people.
   The Collage began in 1994 as a way to celebrate Jefferson County's cultural diversity. The daylong festival of music, dance, art, food and hot-air balloons has become a signature event for the county.
   Past headliners have included country stars Brad Paisley and Rick Trevino, the band Quarterflash, and former Jefferson Starship vocalist Mickey Thomas.
   Further details on the 12th Collage of Culture will be forthcoming. However, at this early stage, organizers are excited over landing Rodgers.
   After coming to prominence as the vocalist behind the band Free, which produced the classic "All Right Now," Rodgers and his new band, Bad Company, became the first act signed by Led Zeppelin's Swan Song Records, in 1973. Through his career, Rodgers has sold 125 million sold records, and has cut 28 albums.
   A show by Rodgers will certainly be filled with songs '70s rocks fans know by heart, like "Can't Get Enough (of Your Love)," "Shooting Star," "Rock and Roll Fantasy," "Ready for Love," "Rock Steady," and many more.
   Having the Madras date on the Bad Company's Web site has already started interest in Collage from outside the area, for instance, Portland, said Van Wert.
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