U.K. logs on for Live 8 tix

Over 1 mil texts received by 6 p.m.

LONDON — Demand for tickets for the U.K. leg of Bob Geldof’s Live 8 free concerts proved colossal when they went up for grabs in a text message lottery Monday.

Organizers had received more than a million texts by 6 p.m. Computers will randomly allocate the 150,000 free tickets for the Hyde Park event featuring Coldplay, Keane, Robbie Williams and Joss Stone when lines close June 12.

Texts are charged at $2.80 a pop, and mobile phone operator O2 has pledged to take no more than its costs. The first $5.3 million generated by the showpiece event will go to the Prince’s Trust, which reskedded its annual Party in the Park pop shindig to accommodate Geldof. Further profits will be plowed into staging the star-studded awareness-raising events.

The positive response from the U.K. public is a boost for antipoverty campaigner Geldof, who has received some fierce criticism from varying sources since the May 31 launch of Live 8.

Arrangements for the French leg of the Live 8 concerts appear to have hit the skids. Despite Geldof having lined up French legend Johnny Hallyday to topline, Paris bureaucrats have refused permission for the concert to be staged in the Champs de Mars grounds of the Eiffel Tower. Officials outlawed the concerts and rally — estimated to attract 50,000 revelers — due to security concerns.

Ticketing arrangements for the Paris, Philadelphia, Berlin and Rome gigs have not been announced.

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