Saturday, May 12, 2007

Sanity, thy name is Keith Richards?

The Rolling Stones have been trying to schedule their first concert in Serbia for some time. A 2006 date had to be cancelled when Keith Richards famously fell out of a tree in Fiji. During the rescheduled European tour, they were scheduled to play at the Hippodrome racetrack. There are a few (300) horses living in stables at the track, but no problem--organizers said they would just sedate the horses through the concert to keep them calm.

At first, the Stones didn't see any problems with this. Who doesn't need horse tranquilizers to get through a concert? But then some animal rights activists gently pointed out to them that if a potential concert venue is also essentially a home, and if its residents must essentially be drugged into a stupor in order cope with its visitors, perhaps an alternate venue would be more suitable. It's just proper etiquette--like at least offering to stay in a hotel and have dinner in a restaurant when you are visiting friends from out of town. Perhaps the horses would like a few complimentary tickets and a backstage pass to the relocated concert, maybe a gift basket of apples and sugar cubes, but don't force them to clean up their stables and self-medicate.

The animal rights appeal has worked--on Wednesday it was announced that the Hippodrome concert will be relocated. Or, in the words of Raka Maric, manager of the production company organizing the concert, "We didn't manage to convince The Stones' management that the concert would not harm the horses." But we tried. We really, really tried.

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