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Rolling Stones accept fans' invitation

ROCKFORD, Ill. -- More than 35,000 people signed an invitation asking the Rolling Stones to entertain their fans and the Stones have agreed.

The group is scheduled for one show at the MetroCentre Oct. 1.

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'The city is flying right now,' said Dallas Cole, program director for WZOK-radio and the force behind a drive to get the Stones to stop in Rockford during their cross-country tour.

'They (the Stones) sent us a telegram Tuesday,' Cole said. 'It read, 'To the music fans of Rockford: We are overwhelmed by your gracious invitation by petition. We accept. See you Oct. 1, 1981. Tattoo you.'

Despite the relative ease of getting the English group to stop in Rockford, there are some problems.

The MetroCentre will not hold the 35,000 fans who signed the invitation.

To make the ticket distribution process as fair as possible, Cole and the concert organizers enlarged the petitions and cut signers' names into individual strips. Thursday, they will draw 4,300 signatures and each winner will be allowed to buy two tickets at $15 apiece.

Fair as that may sound, the fight for tickets is already on.

Douglas Logan, MetroCentre general manager, said newspapers were accepting classified ads from people offering to pay as much as six times the price of tickets. He estimated scalpers will get as much as $400 per ticket.

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Logan said he was swamped by requests for tickets. One man mailed Logan a tape.

'You know how a tape is, you're always curious,' Logan said. 'So I played it and it was this guy imploring me to give him two tickets.

'I've said no as many as 250 times in a day. I've had people come out of the woodwork I didn't even know were alive.'

Concert organizers said they expect none of the violence that has erupted at other Stones concerts -- despite the mad rush for tickets.

'Sure, I'll take extra security precautions,' Logan said. 'I'd be remiss if I didn't. But people storming the building or something like that? No. This is Rockford.'

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