Queen guitarist Brian May is one of the artists evacuated...

A fire at Buckingham Palace has forced organisers to evacuate the building and nearby grounds during rehearsals for the huge Golden Jubilee pop concert.

Queen guitarist Brian May was among the evacuees at Buckingham Palace, after fire broke out in the loft of the west terrace. May was told to leave the grounds at about 6.45pm tonight (Sunday, June 2), along with hundreds of workers and other performers, during preparations for Monday’s concert.

The guitarist, who was about to rehearse with singer Joe Cocker, told reporters: “It was all going extremely then everything ground to a halt. We’ve all been herded to this area by the tennis courts. Everyone’s quite calm – it takes as long as it takes.”

He described the scene as an “enormous crowd of extremely famous people all sitting around on the lawn and chatting”. The Fire Brigade has said that the concert can go ahead as planned.

It is not clear which other performers were among the evacuees. Will Young, Ozzy Osbourne and S Club are among the acts due to play on the day.