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Stone Music Festival: "Headline artists have been contracted and paid in full."

By Nick Milligan for the Maitland Mercury

Stone Music Festival's promoters have responded to speculation about the genuineness of their planned two-day arena event.

The festival's announcement, which leaked online late Saturday night, took the entertainment media by surprise. Only two months away, on Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21, the large scale extravaganza boasts a line-up featuring international headliners Van Halen, Billy Joel, Richie Ramone, Buckcherry, Lifehouse and supergroup Kings of Chaos. Australian bands The Superjesus, The Living End and The Baby Animals were added to the event's website yesterday afternoon.

But the lack of public  knowledge about promoters Platinum Entertainment, and the company's founder Richard Cartwright, created online discussion about whether Stone Music Festival was the real deal.

Veteran promoter Andrew McManus, of McManus Entertainment, who is bringing Guns N' Roses, Kiss, The Darkness and Motley Crue to Australia this year, made comments on Facebook yesterday morning that suggested punters should be suspicious of the event.

UPDATE: Andrew McManus' Facebook comments have been redacted.

"No artists involved with the Stone Music Festival are involved with Mr. McManus," the response said. It also stressed that there was "absolutely no truth" in the suggestion of an upcoming 60 Minutes segment about the festival, and that the event was organised by an experienced team.

"Although having over 30 years experience in the music industry at the highest level, an event of this magnitude is the largest that Richard Cartwright has been personally involved with," it said. "However, Richard makes up only a component of the broader group staging the festival. The broader group have been involved with a multitude of sports, music and entertainment transactions globally and this is one of the largest music events anyone has put together in Australia. Headline artists have been contracted and paid in full. All funding required for this event is committed and in the event disbursement account. It would be prudent for Mr. McManus to check his facts before making such erroneous and public statements."

The response added that more acts would be announced shortly for the Stone Music Festival bill.

"We plan to make a further announcement of more internationals and the local artists in the next few days," it  said. "There will be no other Australian appearances by Billy Joel or Van Halen."

The response from the publicist also clarified that the event's link with the cult Australian film Stone was in homage only.

"Stone Music Festival takes its name from the 70s film Stone," the response said. "Richard Cartwright has exclusive rights to produce a new film adapted from the original production as well as rights to the original film and a planned director's cut that will coincide with the festival. The festival has a brand alliance but no common ownership structure with the film productions."

Tickets to Stone Music Festival are now available via a limited presale through Showbiz, and are on sale to the general public on Thursday through Ticketek.

Head to www.stonemusicfest.com for more information.

By Nick Milligan for the Maitland Mercury

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