Billboard Bits: SARS Benefit, Bon Jovi, Weller, Edgefest

News on SARS Benefit, Bon Jovi, Weller, Edgefest

StonesMore last-minute changes have been made to the Molson Canadian Rocks for Toronto concert, set for Wednesday (July 30). Originally slated to begin at 1:30 p.m., the show at Downsview Park will now start at noon to provide more time for artists scheduled and possible surprise appearances. The Rolling Stones will conclude their set at 11 p.m.

Certain restrictions for the concert have also been eased. Fans are now permitted to bring blankets and disposable cameras to the show, but umbrellas and strollers are forbidden. Tickets for the concert will not be sold after 6 p.m. the day of the show.

Although nothing is confirmed, there has been speculation that Paul McCartney and Christina Aguilera, who is touring with confirmed performer Justin Timberlake, will appear. "We're hearing the same rumors. I have no idea," Riley O'Connor of promoter House of Blues told the Toronto Sun. "I've done a lot of concerts in the last 30 years. I've had special guests drop in, just show up on the night of the show while the band's on stage."

-- Jason MacNeil, Toronto

JoviBon Jovi will split four concerts on its ongoing tour into half acoustic/half electric affairs. The group seemingly enjoyed the format while performing in Germany last month and played another show in that fashion last weekend in Minneapolis.

The four shows where Bon Jovi will play acoustic/electric are July 24 in Burgettstown, Pa.; July 29 in Columbus, Ohio; July 30 in Noblesville, Ind.; and Aug. 1 in Cincinnati.

The band, which plays Philadelphia tomorrow (July 26), is on tour through an Aug. 7-8 stand at New Jersey's Giants Stadium. The Goo Goo Dolls are opening all but the final shows, which will feature Jason Mraz and Pete Yorn.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

PaulVeteran U.K. rock artist Paul Weller has signed a multi-album worldwide deal with V2 Records,
Billboard Bulletin reports. His first album on the label will likely be released next April. Weller will tour the U.K. beginning Dec. 5 in Bristol.

"There were two established acts that I had always wanted to sign," said V2 chairman Richard Branson in a statement. "I managed to fulfill my dreams with the Rolling Stones after some 20 years of trying. Paul Weller, who we signed today, may have taken a little longer, but it is all the more satisfying as a result. Everybody at V2 is over the moon to be working with him."

Weller was previously signed to Independiente, which in 2002 released his No. 1 U.K. album "Illumination." That set was issued by Yep Roc in North America.

-- Juliana Koranteng, London

HipThe Tragically Hip, Our Lady Peace, Stereophonics and Sloan are confirmed to play Edgefest 2003, slated for Sept. 6. The concert will be held at Molson Park in Barrie, Ontario, and is reportedly the last live music event to be held at site. More acts will be added to the bill; tickets go on sale tomorrow (July 26) through Ticketmaster.

-- Jason MacNeil, Toronto