Billboard Bits: Hip-Hop Festival, Adkins, Thorogood

News on Hip-Hop Festival, Adkins, Thorogood

Russell SimmonsRussell Simmons is organizing what he is dubbing the "Woodstock of hip-hop," to be staged in conjunction with the second Hip-Hop Summit. The Urban Hip-Hop Music Festival will be held April 12 at Atlanta's Turner Field and is expected to feature the biggest names in the genre over the course of two days. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to charity.

"Just as music played an important role in the changing of our culture after the original Woodstock, we are again at a turning point where music -- specifically hip-hop -- will have a role in shaping our future," Simmons said in a statement. "It's time to take that responsibility seriously."

On April 11, Simmons will gather hip-hop artists and label executives for a summit at Morehouse College. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan delivered the keynote address at a similar summit last February in Beverly Hills, Calif.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Trace AdkinsTrace Adkins recently completed a 28-day alcohol rehabilitation program at the Nashville treatment center Cumberland Heights. According to a statement, the country artist voluntarily entered into the program during the holiday season.

"The program was an extremely positive experience for me," Adkins said in the statement. "This is something I needed to do for myself, my family, and my career. I feel the best I've felt in years -- both physically and mentally. I'm focused and ready for the new year and the challenges that lie ahead."

Adkins had spent the majority of the last year on tour, including three shows over the Thanksgiving holiday performed for U.S. troops stationed in the Persian Gulf. His roadwork came in support of his 2001 Capitol Nashville album "Chrome," which debuted at No. 4 on Billboard's Top Country albums chart and No. 59 on The Billboard 200.

With the program behind him, Adkins will once again hit the road, beginning tomorrow (Jan. 23) in Milwaukee. The artist has dates scattered across the next several months, including stops at county fairs in Florida, Iowa, Missouri, and Ohio. For Adkins' full itinerary, visit his official Web site.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

George ThorogoodVeteran rockers George Thorogood and the Destroyers will issue a new album, "Ride 'til I Die," March 24 through Eagle Records. The band will precede the release of its 11th album, and first for Eagle, with a U.S. tour that will kick off March 14-15 in Lake Tahoe, Nev.

The album's title reflects Thorogood's attitude about performing. "I'm having a better time now than ever before," he said in a release. "I may be 50, but I'm still kickin' it and don't even want to think about stopping."

Thorogood's last studio album was the 1999 CMC set "Half a Boy, Half a Man." In 2000, Capitol released a two-disc "Anthology" set.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.