Van Halen and Billy Joel will headline the new two-day Stone Music Festival in Sydney this April.
Other international acts confirmed for the April 20 and 21 fest at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium include Buckcherry, Richie Ramone, Lifehouse and so-called “supergroup” Kings of Chaos.
Australian fans of Van Halen have waited a long time for this news. The group hasn’t toured these parts since 1998, and certainly never with David Lee Roth on the mic.
Van Halen had been announced to the bill for the one-off September 2011 Soundwave Revolution tour, though the show was scuppered when a deal with the rockers couldn’t be nailed down. Plans for a subsequent tour of Australia were wrecked when guitarist Eddie Van Halen underwent emergency surgery in 2012 -- a trying year which saw his group also scrap 30 U.S. dates. The four-piece’s most recent album “A Different Kind Of Truth” had opened at No. 4 on the ARIA albums chart in early 2012.
Billy Joel has racked-up many frequent flyer points to Australia. He last played here in December 2008 for Frontier Touring Company, one of six treks he’s made here since the 1980s for the Melbourne-based promoter.
Single day tickets for Stone start at Australian $179 ($184) and rise up the scale to Australian $429 ($442) for the two-day “platinum zone” package. For an extra Australian $30 ($31), organizers are offering a “Stone Run” package which includes a shirt and a DVD of the 1974 biker film “Stone,” which gives the event its name.
The news of the festival itself came as a surprise, and it dropped on a Sunday. Australia’s festivals market is already crowded, even saturated. Though it hasn’t deterred a handful of new arrivals from testing the waters this season. All Tomorrows Parties brought its sister two-day I’ll Be Your Mirror event to Melbourne for the first time this weekend, while Nas has unveiled a new hip hop show, Australian Movement Festival. Stone Music Festival’s late April slot means it arrives outside Australia’s busy summer period.
The two-day Stone show is promoted by Ardline Media and Platinum Entertainment. It's unconnected with the Stone Day (formerly Stone Fest), the longest-running festival in the nation's capital, Canberra.