Hong Kong politicians accused the government of false advertising today, a day after it was revealed that the Rolling Stones would not perform in an official post-Sars concert series as had been announced.
Organisers had earlier said the band had committed to play on two dates in November – part of a government-sponsored festival to help Hong Kong refurbish its battered image.
But it was revealed on Friday that the band never signed a deal and negotiations had collapsed.
“The Stones was your ace card. How could you go around touting the band without a contract in hand?” asked independent legislator Audrey Eu at a hearing reviewing the finances of the concert series.
The government has already drawn flak for agreeing to cover around £6 million in losses from the concert series – a burden politicians said was better shouldered by the private sector.
Concert promoters have downplayed the Stones’ absence, saying other top acts will still be performing, including Santana, Jose Carreras and Prince.
But Mike Rowse, head of the sponsoring organisation, admitted the Stones’ absence would significantly reduce revenue from the series.