The Australian rock legend behind Working Class Man and Khe Sanh was set to headline the music line-up at January’s Summernats, but has been forced to pull out due to back and hip surgery.
Jimmy Barnes was announced in August this year as the lead artist for the 35th iteration of Canberra’s biggest petrolhead festival.
“It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally playing Summernats,” he said at the time.
“I’m looking forward to belting out some rock and roll for everyone at Australia’s home of horsepower. I can’t wait to see you all there.”
On 29 November, however, the two-time ARIA Hall of Fame inductee posted a video to his social media channels, explaining that surgery will prevent him from performing live for several months.
“I’ve been jumping off PAs and stomping around stages for nearly 50 years, but it’s finally caught up with me,” he said.
“I’ve had niggling back and hip issues for years, but things suddenly got a lot worse over the last few weeks and I’m now in constant and severe pain. As everybody knows, it’s against my religion to blow out gigs but the doctors tell me I need an operation as soon as possible. As much as it kills me, I have to get this fixed so I can jump around onstage for another 50 years.”
With fewer than 50 days to go until hundreds of cars roll through the gates at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC), the organisers of Summernats were “really disappointed to hear about Jimmy’s situation”.
“We’re sending him all our love and good vibes for his recovery,” co-owner Andy Lopez said.
Andy also assured fans they won’t miss out.
“At the same time, we wanted to make sure we delivered something really special for our fans, and this is definitely the biggest night of music we’ve ever put on at the Nats,” he said.
The four-hour “mega rock show” on Friday, 6 January, 2023, now stars Jon Stevens, Daryl Braithwaite, DIESEL and Shannon Noll.
“Personally, I can’t wait to hear 10,000 Summernats fans sing Horses with Braithwaite,” Andy said, echoing scenes from January 2020, when the crowd sang along to Noll’s moving rendition of What About Me?
The Saturday night will feature Aussie hip-hop band Bliss N Eso, dance musicians Stafford Brothers, and one of Australia’s favourite party DJs, Brooke Evers.
It’s another reason Jimmy is disappointed to miss out.
“With Jon, Daryl and DIESEL jumping in it’s going to be a great night,” he said.
“And I’m really happy to announce that I will be there at Summernats 36, January 2024.”
Every year, Summernats brings in an estimated $30 million into the ACT’s economy, as thousands of visitors descend on the city’s hotels, bars, nightclubs and more. Despite the occasional disturbance and illegal burnout and hooning spree, ACT Policing has also said, by and large, the event has not been a safety problem and officers and the organisers enjoy an amicable relationship.
Summernats 35 runs from Thursday, 5 to Sunday, 8 January, 2023, at EPIC. Tickets are available online.
In the meantime, Jimmy’s latest album, ”Blue Christmas”, was released earlier this week. Listen to it online.