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First Base is the equivalent of an 'Editorial'. It is the opportunity for S & A to provide comment and provoke discussion on topical issues relating to leisure and tourism. This will be provided each month and we would welcome your feedback on the matters raised.

First Base 14: Rocking all over the world – rock bands and stadia events

Date: 27/7/2004

In the month that Bob Dylan plays Stirling Castle, Van Morrison appears at Warwick Castle, and Tom Jones returns again to the green, green, grass of Cardiff Castle.

It looks as if interesting heritage settings with audiences of 7,000 – 10,000 are popular for artist, audience and promoter. Significantly, it is yesterday's stars that are now in record demand, touring and selling albums. In 'The Observer' 10 June 2001 the 'king of rock promotion', Mel Bush is quoted as saying, "People like The Eagles, Elton John, and The Rolling Stones have all stood the test of time because they make great music".... so too Santana, Roxy Music, and Neil Young all of whom are currently on World Tours.
In terms of demand it is these legends of rock music that can still fill a 40,000 sports stadium ... for example, The Eagles play Hampden Park, Scotland's National Stadium at the end of July. With the exception of Robbie Williams, the Stereophonics and the Manic Street Preachers few contemporary bands have this drawing power.

The absence of new bands with the potential to command 40,000 crowds, together with the realisation that the likes of Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, and the bands mentioned earlier are unlikely to be touring for many more years, is sending a shiver through the corridors of those managing modern stadia. In the 3 July edition of Soccer Business Daily ( an article by John Hutcherson reflected upon the challenges facing Stadium Australia and Stade des France in booking events, especially non-sporting events. His article questions a number of the assumptions upon which business plans are predicated when developing major new sports facilities.

This is the theme of a recent article by Stevens & Associates in the recent edition of 'Leisure Management' (Volume 21 Number 6). Entitled 'Successful Stadia' we examine the business planning for a number of facilities including the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg and The Reebok Stadium in Bolton (see


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