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The Globe and Mail

Highly anticipated Lilith tour cutting back

Singer Sarah McLachlan rehearses for her new album and upcoming Lilith concerts in Vancouver.

Lyle Stafford/lyle stafford The Globe and Mail

It was supposed to be a highlight of the summer 2010 concert calendar: the return of Sarah McLachlan's all-female music festival Lilith Fair, rebranded for 2010 as simply Lilith. But with "brutal" ticket sales, more dates are quietly being cut from the tour.

The Globe and Mail has learned from Norah Jones's management that all of her dates - West Palm Beach and Tampa, Fla.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Houston and Dallas - have been cancelled.

"Norah was prepared to do all the Lilith dates she was contracted for and then those dates were cancelled," confirmed her Vancouver-based manager Sam Feldman.

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Ms. Jones was scheduled to perform during the last leg of the tour, between Aug. 10 and Aug. 16.

Meanwhile the venue for another August date - Aug. 14 in Austin, Tex. - is still reading "TBA" on Lilith's website and it's not possible to buy tickets for it.

This is in addition to two dates that have already been officially cancelled by Lilith organizers: The Phoenix show that had been scheduled for early July, and a show in Nashville, that was scheduled to take place on Aug. 7.

Festival co-founder Terry McBride would not confirm on Thursday any cancellations other than those already announced. "We have cancelled nothing at this time," he wrote in an e-mail. "We review our sales on a weekly basis. If we cancel any more, we will announce accordingly."

All five of the concerts Ms. Jones was supposed to play were still listed on the Lilith website as of deadline on Thursday.

During an interview earlier in the week, Mr. McBride, who had announced only the Phoenix cancellation at that point, did say: "Let's put it this way: We've only cancelled one [show] but I'm not saying that we're not going to cancel others."

Three of the five Canadian shows on the tour have been moved to smaller venues. Vancouver's July 1 show planned for Pitt Meadows Airport (capacity up to 25,000) will instead be held at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver (capacity 9,500 to 11,000); Edmonton's June 28 show originally slated for Northlands Spectrum (which would have been configured to hold about 15,000) will instead be held at Rexall Place (capacity 12,500); and Montreal's July 23 show scheduled for the large outdoor Parc Jean-Drapeau was moved to the smaller indoor venue, the Bell Centre (capacity approximately 15,000).

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Mr. McBride said size was only one of the reasons for those changes and he also said there were other factors other than soft ticket sales in the decision to cancel the Phoenix and Arizona shows.

The tour, which costs in the "millions" to mount, (Mr. McBride would not be more specific) was one of the most anticipated of the summer concert season. But the festival has drawn complaints from people about ticket prices, and specials have been offered: such as two-for-one deals and the withdrawal of service charges.

Lilith is scheduled to kick off on Sunday in Calgary.

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