The Rolling Stones, from left, Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, and Ron Wood. Photo: AP
- Rolling Stones postpone Australian tour
- Frontier tip the Stones to reschedule for later in the year
- Mick Jagger 'devastated' at girlfriend L'Wren Scott's death
Canberra could be jumpin' to the iconic rock tunes of the Rolling Stones, with the ACT Government launching an audacious bid to bring the legendary band to the national capital.
However, the Canberra Liberals are questioning if the move is just a bid by ACT Tourism Minister, Treasurer and Rolling Stones fan Andrew Barr to get himself a backstage pass to the gig. They are also calling for a business case on any potential investment.
Flight crew are seen boarding the Aeronexus Corporation's - Boeing 767 used by the Rolling Stones for pre-flight checks at Perth international airport. Photo: Getty Images
The ACT Government has confirmed it will make contact with the band's Australian tour promoter Frontier Touring about the possibility of the Stones adding Canberra to its revised schedule later this year.
The Rolling Stones postponed their Australian tour after the death of frontman Mick Jagger's partner L'Wren Scott earlier this week.
Federation Mall looms as the most likely venue for a Canberra concert, while Canberra Stadium is another option.
Mick Jagger and L'Wren Scott.
When asked if the ACT Government would pay to bring the band to Canberra, a spokesman said that "at this stage it's merely an expression of interest, negotiations would take place further down the track."
The South Australian government paid the band $450,000 to open the revamped Adelaide Oval but it is understood that money will be returned.
Mr Barr, a self-described "Rolling Stones fanatic", said the opportunity to host a band this calibre was too good to pass up.
"There's an outside chance, we don't go into it with any expectation that we'd be guaranteed success, but there's no harm in making that approach,'' Mr Barr said.
"When the tour was first announced we made an approach to see what would be required to bring one of the concerts to Canberra and the indications were a venue with capacity of [at least] 20,000.
"It seems to rule out Canberra Stadium, it'd be pretty hard to get that many people in a concert configuration, but we can certainly put it forward as a potential option.
"The other one would be Federation Mall, where we know we have staged major concerts associated with Australia Day that would have that capacity.
"Given the reported challenges around venue availability and the potential for an October-November tour to have a little bit more time than the March-April one that was originally proposed, we would certainly make contact again with the Frontier Touring Group to put forward a proposition.''
ACT Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson said while Mr Barr was a big fan of the band, he shouldn't be using his position so "essentially he can get to watch the Rolling Stones near his home".
“What I would say to Andrew is you can’t always get what you want but if you try real hard you can get what you need. What the people of Canberra need is a Treasurer focused on delivering better local services and reducing their cost of living,” he said.
Mr Hanson said ratepayers' money being spent on music events could only be justified if there was a "sound business case" outlining the economic benefit of a concert in the ACT.
“I doubt any of that work has been done, and I think this is more about Andrew Barr wanting to promote himself and follow his own fanaticisms, rather than any genuine view about what’s a good business case or what’s best for the city of Canberra,” he said.
He said Mr Barr had also pushed for AFL matches in Canberra at a cost of about $23 million over ten years, when local sporting clubs and other groups were left without adequate funding.
The Rolling Stones were scheduled to play at Perth Arena (March 19), Adelaide Oval (March 22), Sydney's Allphones Arena (March 25), Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena (March 28), Macedon Ranges at Hanging Rock (March 30), the Brisbane Entertainment Centre (April 2) and Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium (April 5).
They have announced that they intend to return to Australia and New Zealand later this year, but haven't set any new dates.
Canberra Stadium's capacity for a concert is about 16,000 people.
The Rolling Stones would be one of the biggest acts to set foot in Canberra in the city's history alongside AC/DC and Elton John.
Mr Barr said the tourism benefits of having the Rolling Stones play in Canberra would be substantial, with visitors expected from inter-state and overseas.
"Given the concerts at the other venues sold out in 10 minutes, that there would be demand within Canberra and from surrounding states and possibly from overseas as well in the south Pacific and south-east Asia,'' Mr Barr said.
"It's one of the biggest events in the world, hosting a Rolling Stones concert.
"It's certainly worth trying and we'll be making that approach.
"We've had Elton John a couple of times, Dire Straits has played at Canberra Stadium, AC/DC has played at Exhibition Park, there have been some big-name acts.
''It would be a wonderful opportunity and there would be no harm in asking.''