By Humphrey Carter PALMA

SATURDAY, September 4 may seem months away but next week, preparations on transforming the ONO Stadium into the scenario for one of the biggest and most spectacular musical extravaganzas in Europe this summer will get under way.

Swede Onni Nordstrom, a former ice hockey champion in the USA and Canada who has more than 40 years experience in promoting and representing some of the top musical artists and acts in the world, is the man behind the Andrea Bocelli and Elton John concert which is going to be held at the soccer stadium and yesterday he said he is convinced that the 34'000 tickets, which go on sale next week, will sell out.

Nordstrom has lived in some of the most beautiful and luxurious destinations in the world but after Monte Carlo and Denmark, which included regular holidays to Majorca with his wife and children, a year ago they decided to set up home on the island which, according to Nordstrom, “can not be beaten anywhere on earth. “And, when times are hard, like they are now, music can help lift people's spirits and I wanted to try and help lift the gloom over Majorca, promote the island and boost its tourism. “This is a purely private venture. I don't want public funding but if I can help Majorca and the Balearics improve tourism or global exposure, I will in any way. “I'm doing this out of the goodness of my heart, my love for the island not for money. “I've been going to watch Mallorca play at the half empty Ono Stadium and I eventually decided that it would be a great venue for the double concert. “And I know it is the first event of this kind the stadium has staged. “It did not really take me long to work out a deal with club owner Mateo Alemany, but the key to all these events is securing the artists first. “I personally called Elton John, who is a business friend of mine, we've worked together before, and asked him if he would like to do the concert in Majorca. “He didn't think twice before accepting despite the fact he should have been on a break during his world tour at his home in Nice. “I got the same response when I called Bocelli. They both loved the idea. “And I think that's why no one has ever staged any event of this kind in Majorca before. “You need to secure the artists first and, thanks to all my contacts and years in the business, that was easy for me and there will be more to come next year if this first concert proves a success. “Some one had to take the first step and we have. “It's also being promoted and packages sold across Europe,” Norstrom added yesterday. And he explained just what a night it is going to be.

World-leading tenor Bocelli will begin the evening at around 7.30pm and perform a two hour set with the backing of the 76-piece Balearic Symphony Orchestra, the 40-strong Balearic University Choir and two top sopranos which he himself is organising.

Then, after the spectacular sets have been completely rearranged in a record time of around 45-minutes Elton John and The Elton John band, which will be flying in from the States, will perform a set of the very best of Elton which will last at least another two hours.

Ticket prices will range from 55 to 150 euros and all will be seated. “The whole experience is going to last over five hours, people don't want to be standing that long. “If they want to dance later, they can, but first they'll want to sit back and enjoy the perfect wonderful sound of Bocelli,” Nordstrom said.