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Volume 6 No. 212

Events and Attractions

The sound of rock music is "becoming as big a part of a day out at Britain’s horseraces as the sound of galloping hooves," according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The country’s Jockey Club, which operates 15 leading racecourses, "has set itself the ambition of becoming an out-and-out concert promoter to generate extra revenue." Attendances at a number of meetings at several Jockey Club-operated courses "have been transformed by music nights tagged on to the end of a day’s racing." A run-of-the-mill Friday at Newmarket, for example, might attract 4,000 customers -- but "add on a rock concert on another Friday meeting at the Suffolk course and attendance shoots up to 20,000." So "on the back of a buoyant 2013," when it staged 25 music nights with 200,000 visitors who jigged about to acts such as Kaiser Chiefs, McFly and Labrinth, the Jockey Club is "now gearing up to expand its music concert repertoire" (FT, 1/7). MUSIC WEEK's Rhian Jones reported the venture is titled "Jockey Club Live," and has been set up with music promoter Andrew Wilkinson and advertising and media exec Simon Halden. Plans also include expanding the number of gigs at racecourses, including staging them on non-race days (MUSIC WEEK, 1/8).

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond "dismissed warnings from his predecessor as first minister, Jack McConnell, that this summer's Commonwealth Games could be politicised by the Scottish independence referendum," according to Severin Carrell of the London GUARDIAN. Salmond said that it was "nonsensical" to suggest that "the 2014 Games in Glasgow, staged only eight weeks before the referendum" on Sept. 18, would be "overshadowed by campaigning after McConnell called for a political 'truce' during the Games." Salmond added that the event was "too significant for that to happen." Salmond: "[The Games] are going to be the most enormous success for Scotland. It's right and proper that people will debate politics, but the idea that politics will overshadow the Games is nonsensical." McConnell said that there "ought to be a two-week rest by both campaigns during the Games." McConnell, who said that there was "genuine concern" among competitors, cultural performers and Games officials "about dangers for the event," said, "Campaign relentlessly between now and then, and of course afterwards. But for that two-week period, let's concentrate on Glasgow and Scotland and winning some Gold Medals for Scotland" (GUARDIAN, 1/8).

The indigenous Bolivian communities that threatened to block the path of the Dakar Rally have suspended their planned blockade. The communities had originally said that they would "prevent the Dakar Rally's motorcycle and quad categories from crossing the southeast region of the country during the seventh and eighth stages on Sunday and Monday" (EP, 1/8). ... Swiss national football team coach Ottmar Hitzfeld called Manaus being one of 12 of Brazil's 2014 World Cup host sites "almost irresponsible." Hitzfeld: "It seems almost irresponsible to me to have to play football in a place in the middle of the Amazon jungle. I believe the reason for this decision was commercial" (EFE, 1/8).