BritBus is back for fifth go-round

American act will tour with U.K. bands

NEW YORK -- BritBus, a sponsored tour by established U.K. musicians, announced Monday that it is returning for its fifth year in 2009.

The tour traditionally plays U.S. college campuses in such big cities as New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle. New for the coming year, five or six U.S. bands will vie for a slot on the 10-city tour in an online competition. In addition, the tour is expanding to India and Australia, and native acts will play with the U.K. bands in those territories.

Two yet-undetermined U.K. bands will play with five or six American bands in the U.S. They will travel from city to city in a 1973 bus. Previous U.K. participants have included the Kaiser Chiefs, Katie Melua and Paul Oakenfold.

Sponsors so far include Virgin Atlantic and Gibson Guitar. James Craven, CEO of London-based All Terrain Music Rights, which owns the BritBus, said the competition hopes to continue its expansion by entering the Chinese and Japanese markets in 2010.