Mid-Year 2014
Special Features

Festivals Suck

It’s not what you think.

The global music festival business continues to grow as more large events cement their places on the calendar. The problem is that these massive events suck up huge amounts of talent and everyone is pulling from what is largely the same talent pool.

If a festival books dozens of acts that would have otherwise headlined their own dates and another 30 rising artists that are in global demand, that means a lot of talent is no longer available for other territories.

Trying to find an open weekend on the 2015 calendar when there aren’t a dozen other major events around the world is becoming nearly impossible.

Top 100 North American Tours

Top 100 Worldwide Tours

Top 100 Concert Grosses

The festival business has now evolved into two basic categories.

The small list of iconic annual events that are so well-established with fans that promoters can sell all of their tickets without announcing a talent lineup continues to grow. Coachella, Glastonbury, Electric Daisy, Ultra, Lollapalooza and a few others have become hugely important events that the artists themselves want to play. Those dates are often factored into tour routing from the very start of planning.

Talent fees are kept reasonable because artists know that the tickets are already sold and promoters of those shows know that their primary responsibility is to book and curate a great event that maintains its popularity independent of the talent lineup. Most festivals, however, have to rely on the ar at No. 11.  assumed its usual spot at the top with about 920,000 tickets sold.

The rest of the Top 10 included three other U.K. venues, three from Germany, and one each from Belgium, Netherlands and Mexico. Worldwide Business The first half of 2014 was marked by generally good business despite the overall drop in show volume and the continued escalation in ticket prices.

The Top 50 Worldwide Tours saw a $200 million or 10.8% drop as the total gross sales fell from $1.85 billion to $1.65 billion. The total tickets sold dropped by 14.3%, which meant 3 million fewer seats than the 21 million sold in 2013. The average ticket price jumped $3.68 or 4.2% to $91.71.

Pollstar has expanded its global data collection efforts and now produces a Top 100 Worldwide Tours Chart, but for year-over-year analysis we still use the Top 50 touring attractions. The trends in the Top 100 are similar to those of the Top 50. The total gross revenue fell 9.8% to $2.12 billion while the total tickets sold dropped 11.8% to 26.1 million. The average ticket price increased $1.90 to $81.35.

One Direction cemented its reputation as the biggest band on the planet, grossing $131.5 million from just 31 international stadium shows. With North American stadium dates still to come, the band may well double that number before the year is out. The group sold an amazing 1.6 million tickets, which was nearly 1 million more than the No. 2-ranked Rolling Stones with 651,000 tickets.

North America

Country music icon  did the top tour in North America. The cowboy rode away with $61.8 million from nearly 600,000 fans, making his swan song the biggest outing of his career. Coachella was by far the biggest gross of the year at $78.3 million over its two weekends. That’s over $10 million more than last year’s sellout.

The Top 100 North American Tours grossed a combined $1.03 billion in sales from 15.3 million tickets sold. Those numbers are down sharply from 2013. Ticket revenue fell 17% and total tickets sold dropped by 2.2 million or 12.6%. The average gross per show was down about $35,800 and the average head-count was down about 200 per show. The average ticket price dropped 4.7% to $67.58. That’s $3.33 less than last year’s record high of $70.91.

See AlsoTicket Sales Charts Archive