2023 Concert Market Rankings: No. 10 Washington, D.C.

Queen of Hip Hop Soul: Mary J. Blige, whose “Good Morning Gorgeous Tour” stop at Capital One Arena on Sept. 18, 2022 in Washington, D.C. had the city’s 21st highest gross of the year at $1.45 million. Photo by Brian Stukes / Getty Images

Nation’s Capital Rocks! From Go-Go To Hardcore

Reported Market Gross: $194,070,404
Reported Ticket Sales: 2,642,273
Average Ticket Price: $73.45

The District of Columbia has always had a lot more going on culturally than the city’s bureaucratic stereotype would suggest. From its native Go-Go, harDCore and roots music scenes to top local promoter I.M.P. Presents to the hyperlocal Fort Reno summer series to the Kennedy Center, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Wolf Trap, Capitol One Arena and Nationals Ballpark, the market attracts a wide swath of critically and commercially acclaimed artists.

For proof of concept, this past summer over three nights I saw indie stalwarts Guided By Voices at the 9:30 Club; Anteloper, the late great Jaimie Branch’s electronic jazz duo, at Rhizome in Tacoma Park; and the garage rock heroes the Slickee Boys at a VFW in Silver Spring – one of this showgoers best-ever music runs.

At the market’s upper echelon, too, successes in 2022 were vast and impressive: the historic juggernaut that is Bad Bunny topped both the city’s stadium and arena show charts grossing $7.9M at Nationals Park and $3.5M at Capitol One Arena. Country power-house Morgan Wallen’s performance at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia, brought in $3.4M topping shed performances; while Bruno Mars at the Theater At MGM National Harbor in Oxen Hill, Maryland, was the top theater show with a $2.2M gross. At the club level, electronic act Illenium had the year’s top show at Echostage bringing in $285.8K.

No D.C. live music business story is complete without a look at Seth Hurwitz’s I.M.P. Presents, which consistently has formidable years. In 2022, its iconic 9:30 Club grossed $7.5M, fifth most on Pollstar’s Year-End Club Chart; Merriweather Post Pavilion had a record-setting year, selling 443K tickets in the calendar year – its most ever placing third on the amphitheater chart; while The Anthem grossed $28.4M, hitting 12th on the theater chart.