08/06/2006 11:00PM

Rolling Stones to play concert at Churchill


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Rolling Stones will bring their worldwide "A Bigger Bang" concert tour next month to the home of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs.

Churchill officials announced Monday that the legendary rock group will perform the evening of Sept. 29, and that about 50,000 tickets will be sold. Churchill is one of several historic sports venues the group will visit this fall.

Many musical groups have performed in the Churchill infield, but the setup for the Stones will be far different than for previous acts. Most notably, the concert stage will be situated on a large concrete pad situated just inside the turf-course rail between the eighth pole and sixteenth pole and will face the grandstand, where most of the crowd will be seated. There also will be a limited amount of seating around the stage in the infield. Previous acts have played to smaller, self-contained infield crowds.

Churchill spokesman John Asher said the Stones concert has been in the works since last fall, when tour promoters contacted the track, but details were not finalized until late last week.

Tour promoter Mike Evans said in a news release that Churchill will be "the most unique venue in which the Rolling Stones will perform this season." Evans is senior vice president of sports and entertainment for Philadelphia-based SMG, the entertainment agency promoting the tour.

Other widely recognized sports venues that will host the Stones this fall include Soldier Field, Dodger Stadium, Giants Stadium, and the Sun Bowl. The tour starts Sept. 20 at Gillette Field near Boston.

The Stones will be preceded at their Churchill concert at 6 p.m. Eastern by an opening act yet to be announced, with the main act beginning at 8.

The concert comes the night before the annual Kentucky Cup series at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. A sizable percentage of Kentucky Cup runners historically ship from Churchill to Turfway on race morning. Horsemen's concerns about the noise that will be generated by the concert were addressed by Churchill president Steve Sexton at a Monday meeting at the track, with the most notable issue being that "no pyrotechnics will be used" during the concert, said Asher.

Asher added that Churchill and the concert promoter have gone to great lengths to assure that issues concerning parking, lighting, and crowd control will be adequately addressed.

Ticket sales begin Monday, Aug. 14, at 10 a.m. Eastern, with prices ranging from $60 to $300 Tickets are available through TicketMaster, the website www.livenation.com, and through various phone listings, including (502) 361-3100. Churchill is emphasizing that tickets are not available through the track.

The Stones last played Louisville in 1989 at the old Cardinal Stadium.