The Verizon Music Festival Kicks Off in New York City on April 29 With Superstar Lineup!

NEW YORK - Get ready New York: The Verizon Music Festival is back in town and is hotter than ever, with a lineup featuring unprecedented star power and multi-platinum-selling and Grammy-Award-winning headliners.

On April 29, the best selling female hip-hop star of all time, Missy Elliott, will make her Carnegie Hall debut; on April 30 singer/songwriter sensation Jewel will delight audiences as she lights up the stage at Carnegie Hall; and on May 1 the Copacabana will sizzle with a Latin extravaganza.

Performing solo following her appearance as part of the nationwide Verizon Ladies First Tour will be hip-hop luminary Missy Elliott. Blazing new trails on every one of her albums since her 1997 smash debut, "Supa Dupa Fly," Elliott is still tearing up the charts with her fifth album in six years, "This Is Not a Test." In addition to receiving two Grammy awards, Rolling Stone has named her Best Female Hip Hop Artist of the Year twice within the past five years, and she has twice ranked as Billboard's number one year-end female hip hop star. Her 2002 release, "Under Construction," made Elliott the best-selling female hip-hop star of all time with over 11 million units sold worldwide. Her April 29 performance at Carnegie Hall will be a career first for the charismatic superstar.

Opening up for Elliott will be sultry R&B vocalist Tweet whose debut, "Southern Hummingbird," featured production by Timbaland and vocals by Elliott. The lead single, "Oops (Oh My)," became an overnight hit and set the stage for the neo-soul songstress to earn gold-selling status. Her eagerly anticipated sophomore release, "It's Me Again," is due in-stores this summer.

It's back to Carnegie Hall on April 30 when multi-platinum singer/songwriter Jewel will deliver an elegant and engaging performance with her trademark crystalline voice and musical authenticity. The versatile young artist just released her fifth career album, "0304," which saw Jewel exploring new territory by giving her earnest, folksy songs a pop sheen and some dance beats. Since recording her first album nearly a decade ago, Jewel enjoys a rare career longevity among her generation of artists. Her four albums to date have sold 25 million copies worldwide.

On May 1, the legendary Copacabana nightclub will be turning up the heat when some of the biggest names in Latin entertainment treat fans to a night of spicy rhythms and fiery beats. Performing that evening will be bilingual Latin rapper Tego Calderon, whose unique sound is a lively blend of hip-hop with various ethnic rhythms including Afro-Cuban, salsa, reggae and Dominican merengue. The Puerto Rican MC's strong rhyming skills draw on influences ranging from Rubén Blades to Beanie Sigel and have won great him critical praise.

Opening for Calderon will be Willie Colón, one of the pioneers of Latin-American music, whose contributions helped define the sound of Salsa. A trombone player, composer, producer and bandleader, Colón has created more than 40 productions that have sold more than 30 million records worldwide. In addition to winning a Grammy award for his widely praised album, "Canciones del Solar de Los Aburridos," he has also garnered 11 Grammy nominations, 15 gold and five platinum records, and has collaborated with such musical greats as the Fania All Stars, Héctor LaVoe, Rubén Blades, David Byrne and Celia Cruz.

The 2004 Verizon Music Festival will continue to excite audiences in Tampa from May 15-23 and in Los Angeles from July 22-25. Performances will be held in a variety of venues ranging from premier concert halls, to intimate clubs and outdoor sites. Among the celebrated artists who have participated in past performances of the Verizon Music Festival are: Norah Jones, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Erykah Badu, Smokey Robinson, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Joe Cocker, Aimee Mann, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.

Complete artist lineups and ticket information for the Verizon Music Festival will be announced shortly. For more information on the 2004 Verizon Music Festival, music lovers can call 212-501-1390.

A Fortune 20 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services, with approximately $68 billion in annual revenues. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. Verizon's international presence includes wireline and wireless communications operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.