Toxic weather moves free Britney Spears performance in San Francisco

| March 24, 2011

Sunday’s free performance by Britney Spears will probably change venues from the middle of Castro Street to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, due to nasty weather.

Although details remain to be confirmed, Supervisor Scott Wiener said producers with the ABC program “Good Morning America” contacted city permit employees and told them to pull the plug.

The development is a disappointment for fans of the pop icon, but might be welcome news for Castro merchants worried about a loss of business.

“There’s certainly a diversity of viewpoints about the event,” Wiener said. “Some people love it, some people hate it; but you can’t control Mother Nature.”

Wiener said he is confident the performance will remain free to an undetermined number of fans, although those details appear to be in flux.

An ABC press release provided no cost details but said the event will now be ticketed by Ticketmaster. The release said to visit ABCNews.com/gma at 9 a.m. today for more details.

The sun could still shine at noon Sunday, but ABC evidently didn’t want to risk it, since stage setup was planned for Saturday. Jason Villalobos, a Castro resident whose roof was to be used as a camera platform, said ABC officials seemed concerned about rain injuring Spears, who will be wearing high heels, or several stilt-walkers set to join her on stage.

Villalobos said he had to cancel a planned rooftop party.

“All the drag queens in The City were going to be there,” he said. “It was going to be an exclusive invite-only thing, a big drag queen-hipster to-do.”

Weiner said ABC producers might still feature Britney interacting with Castro residents, as previously planned for the piece expected to air Tuesday on “Good Morning America.”

“It’s a great way to promote the neighborhood,” he said.

Villalobos kvetched that Spears’ attempt to court a gay audience was a “totally transparent effort to get the gays back from [Lady] Gaga.”

Even so, people were excited, he said.

“Because we’re gay and we like to dance,” he said. “And we like the attention.”

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

Concert crossroads

Britney Spears’ appearance Sunday is moving:

Old New
Venue Street stage outside Castro Theatre Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
Time Noon Sunday Noon Sunday
Capacity Unlimited 7,000
Cost Free Unknown

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