Country music icon George Strait named the 2013 Billboard Legend of Live, Coachella wins best festival honors
Bon Jovi, One Direction, Taylor Swift, P!nk, the Rolling Stones and George Strait were among tonight's (Nov. 14) big winners at the 10th annual Billboard Touring Awards at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York.
The awards, hosted by the Howard Stern show executive producer Gary Dell'Abate (aka "Baba Booey"), honor the concert industry's top artists, venues and professionals for the year, primarily based on the Billboard Boxscore chart and box office performance between Oct. 1, 2012, and Sept. 30, 2013.
Bon Jovi's Because We Can trek took home the Top Tour Award, which acknowledges the top grossing tour. The New Jersey rock band also took home the Top Draw Award, which recognizes the top ticket selling tour, and the Eventful Fans' Choice Award, which is determined by fan "demands" at Eventful.com.
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Accepting the awards via pre-recorded video, Jon Bon Jovi said, "This is our 30th year in the business, and to still have Number One tours and Number One albums is a real treat and a blessing. Thanks for all your support."
The Top Boxscore went to Billboard's 2013 Woman of the Year P!nk for her July 7-Aug. 26 run at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, with grosses of over $30 million. "It means the world to me," P!nk said via pre-recorded video, "because touring is the only thing I care about. And I have to thank Michael Coppel and Live Nation for making that world possible because it was an amazing world. Thank you to Roger Davies – he's the best manager in the universe and planetary system — for turning me from a brat into a hard-working ox. So thank you everyone in Melbourne that came to the shows that made me a winner."
Country music icon George Strait was named the 2013 Billboard Legend of Live, just one week after being named the Country Music Association's 2013 Entertainer Of The Year. Strait, who appeared in-person at the ceremony, said, "I feel like I fit right in here," he said, then started to trip on his numbers. "I stared touring about Eighteen ninety – well, it feels like that anyway. I started touring in 1981. Back then I stated taking Billboard magazine. I haven't missed too many copies. I've read almost every one of them About the first thing I ever looked at was Boxscores. I wanted to see where I matched up in that whole deal. I just wanted to be on that page. And finally I was – I played the bars and honky tonks and stuff in the ‘70s, I finally signed with MCA in 1981 and started realizing my dream of going out on tour and playing for the fans out there and started gathering more fans and playing so many of these venues I've seen tonight.
"It's just been a wonderful career," Strait continued, "And when they told me I was gonna get the Legend of Live Award, we were joking ‘LOL,' you know. I thought ‘OMG. WTF. And BTW' – I got a lot of people to thank for this. I tell ya, I've been touring so long that I kinda got it through the years. Part of it got a little hard for me and the burnout thing was happening. I've always loved the shows – don't get me wrog, but all the other stuff that goes along with it I kinda got tired of. Thanks to Louis Messina for making it fun again for me out there, and giving me a lot years on his team."
MAC Presents president Marcie Allen received the Humanitarian Award, and her agency accepted the Concert Marketing & Promotion Award on behalf of the Rolling Stones and client Citi for the legendary group's 50 & Counting Tour. The Breakthrough Award went to British boy band One Direction. And the enduring Vans Warped Tour, meanwhile, was honored with the Hauler of the Decade Award presented by Shell Rotella.
The Top Package Award, honoring the top-grossing tour with three or more artists on the bill, went to Taylor Swift's Red Tour. The arena tour featured such acts as Ed Sheeran, Joel Crouse, Brett Eldredge, Florida Georgia Line and Casey James.
The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., again received Top Festival Award and comedian Jeff Dunham received the Top Comedy Award for the third consecutive year.. London's O2 Arena was named Top Arena and the Gorge in George, Wash., received the Top Amphitheater Award.
Some of the industry-related award winners included Live Nation (Top Promoter), C3 Presents (Top U.S. Independent Promoter), T4F (Top International Independent Promoter), Creative Artists Agency (Top Agency) and Bon Jovi Management (Top Manager).
The Billboard Touring Awards reception culminated the two-day Billboard Touring Conference, in association with Shell Rotella, held at the Roosevelt Hotel Nov. 13-14. The conference united today's top touring professionals with an incredible roster of speakers, including a "power players" closing session with Red Light Management's Coran Capshaw, Live Nation's Michael Rapino, CAA's Rob Light, WME's Marc Geiger and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment's Tim Lieweke.