Boxoffice Insider: Dead & Company Tops Prior Grosses At Mexican Beach Festival “Playing In The Sand”

Viva Mexico!
Jay Blakesberg
– Viva Mexico!
Dead & Company saw increased business at its “Playing In the Sand” beach festival in January, which took place in Cancún for the first time.
Dead & Company made it three in a row in January with a return to Mexico for a third installment of its four-day “Playing In The Sand” beach festival. Held for the first time this year at Moon Palace in Cancún, the annual event’s overall gross revenue rose for a second consecutive year, according to box office results recently reported to Pollstar.
The 2020 beach fest generated ticket revenue totaling $18.7 million. That’s a rise of 3.7% over last year’s $18 million gross, and an even more substantial jump of 23.4% compared with the $15.1 million take at the inaugural “Playing In The Sand” in 2018.
Daily attendance has fluctuated over the event’s three-year run, but the overall sold ticket tally at all three iterations landed in the 6,000 range. The total number of tickets moved for this year’s fest was 6,127.
In all three years, the event ran for four nights total, with Dead & Company performing on three of them. The 2020 festival kicked off Jan. 16 and continued through Jan. 19, with the headliners playing Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. 
The Friday lineup included the funk band Lettuce, Foundation of Funk with original Meters members Zigaboo Modeliste and George Porter, Jr., as well as bluegrass artist Molly Tuttle, and late-night sets during the weekend featured Circles Around the Sun and Goose. CID Presents has produced all three years of the event.
Performances this year were held at the Moon Palace resort – a new location after a two-year run at The Barceló on Riviera Maya, near Playa del Carmen, south of Cancún. Attendees had a variety of ticketing options, with four-, five-, and six-day packages offered at the all-inclusive resort.
Pollstar’s archives show that “Playing in the Sand” has impacted overall first-quarter box office success in each of the past three years. In 2018, 2019 and 2020, so far, Dead & Company’s winter beach event has ranked as the highest-grossing, first-quarter concert engagement.
Looking at 2019’s year-end numbers, Dead & Company’s gross from Mexico was ultimately the fourth highest of the year worldwide. The only events with bigger 2019 box office takes were The Rolling Stones’ stadium performances at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., and at Chicago’s Soldier Field, which grossed $25.5 million and $21.7 million, respectively, and the Eagles’ three-night, sold-out run at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, which grossed $18.6 million and was the year’s top-grossing arena event.
In 2018, Dead & Company’s first Mexican beach fest had the fifth-highest gross of the year, behind a slew of Taylor Swift dates. Swift’s 2018 “Reputation Stadium Tour” registered grosses of $22 million at MetLife Stadium, $21.8 million at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., $18.1 million at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium and $16.3 million at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.