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Rolling Stones tour reschedule faces cricket, AFL woes

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Rescheduling the Rolling Stones tour isn't going to be easy, fast or inexpensive for the band or its promoter, Frontier Touring. In fact, in the words of a rival promoter, trying to make it work may well prove to be “a nightmare”.

With the tour postponed rather than cancelled outright, in the wake of the death of lead singer Mick Jagger's partner L'Wren Scott, it is expected that the veteran English rock band will return, probably later this year. Juggling where, when and at whose convenience those shows will be held, however, is already proving taxing.

The original tour, which was due to begin Wednesday night in Perth, had a state government-backed outdoor show as its centrepiece. That show was due to take place at the refurbished Adelaide Oval on Saturday.

The CEO of the Adelaide Oval, Andrew Daniels, said, however, that a return by the Rolling Stones would not be possible for at least five months, and even then, only as long as it didn't interfere with the next cricket season.

"[An immediate return] would not be possible for the Adelaide Oval because it's fully booked until September," said Mr Daniels. "Absolutely nothing could happen until after the AFL season."


With the oval in high demand at weekends by the city's two AFL teams, a mid-week show would be impossible, Mr Daniels said, because of the eight days required to build and then dismantle the stage and facilities. This raises the possibility of transferring the Adelaide shows indoors but for the 51,000 ticket-holders to be accommodated indoors would require at least two and maybe three nights and that may be too difficult to manage.

Then there is the reported $450,000 contribution by the South Australian government for the concert to be specifically held at the cricket ground, a sum which an incoming government may demand be repaid.

So if the show stays outside the next issue is the weather, with Mr Daniels adding that “we wouldn't normally stage a big outdoor show in winter", a similar sentiment to that expressed by the Macedon Ranges shire council, responsible for the tour's other outdoor show, at Hanging Rock in Victoria. Shire mayor Roger Jukes said that “obviously our preference would be to hold the concert during the warmer months of the year”.

While the rest of the Australian tour was scheduled for indoor venues, these have their own complications, not least that a likely northern summer tour by the Rolling Stones may block out several potential months.

Bookings listed for Sydney's Allphones Arena, Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena and both the Perth and Brisbane entertainment centres show that while May is reasonably busy for concerts and special events, June, July and August have large swathes of open dates at all the centres.

A return in late September, October or into November, however, will see the Stones clash with major national tours by Robbie Williams, Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry, all of whom will be playing the same rooms.

Promoter AJ Maddah, who recently toured the Big Day Out festival across Australia, said the “nightmare” scenario of multi-million dollar expense was because “we are talking venues that were set up, production that would be in trucks and in motion around the country, crew flights, accommodation, dozens of vehicles and drivers in each city, catering companies in various stages of setting up and pre-production… right down to thousands and thousands of T-shirts printed with cancelled dates on the back”.

So far ticket-holders have been advised to keep a hold of their tickets and await new dates or new arrangements. Even without a cancellation, changes in venues and dates may lead to demands for refunds on ticket purchases. But purchasers will still face being out of pocket for other expenses, such as flights and accommodation.