It’s long been rumored that Australian promoter Paul Dainty and U.K. entrepreneur Richard Branson of Virgin Group fame would partner on any live Stones anniversary shows. And so they are – under the banner of Virgin Live.
So far, four shows have been announced but there is heavy speculation there may be more to come. Legendary battles have been fought among promoters for the right to present the “World’s Greatest Rock ‘N’ Roll Band,” and the formation of a partnership just to win the 50th anniversary shows would not be surprising.
But it’s clear that Virgin Live was not formed solely to present the Stones, as was initially suspected. Dainty said as much, but no more, in his statement announcing the Stones gigs.
“There will be a lot more to say about Virgin Live soon but, for now, it’s all about the Stones…,” was Dainty’s tease.
But if one reads between the lines of Branson’s statement to the press announcing the tour, it’s clear the Stones tour is not a one-off, and Virgin Live may be gearing up to join Live Nation and AEG in the global marketplace for the long haul.
“In the future, Virgin Live plans to make a real difference to how fans experience, interact and enjoy live events – Virgin Live gigs will be truly people-driven,” Branson said. “It’s great to join forces with Dainty Group to launch Virgin Live with The Rolling Stones 50th anniversary shows.”
Dainty, of course, has a long history of concert promoting and with the Stones. But Branson is no stranger to the live music world either, and was at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., with Seth Hurwitz and Co. the weekend before the announcement for the fourth Virgin Mobile FreeFest.
His Virgin-branded music festivals continue to be global fixtures, outliving Virgin Records, another Branson music venture. So the pairing of billionaire Branson with Dainty is much more than as a source of funding.
Neither Dainty nor Branson was immediately available to discuss the future of Virgin Live, but Dainty did tell Pollstar that “yes, Virgin Live means a new Global touring company. A formal announcement on this is to follow in coming days.”