By nearly all measures, the touring industry continued to see growth in 2017, with steady increases in ticket sales and attendance adding up to a record $25 billion in spending by year’s end, industry executives estimate. Live Nation’s second-quarter revenue increased 29 percent over 2016, thanks in large part to nine-figure outings for stadium draws like Coldplay, U2 and a reunited Guns N’ Roses, and both Live Nation and AEG logged record ticket sales, fueled by their acquisitions of smaller competitors.
But the past year also saw two horrific attacks at live music events -- the Manchester, England, bombing outside an Ariana Grande show on May 22 and the shooting in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Oct. 1. Concerns persist as mass shootings continue to occur in the United States. “The big question is whether people stop going out to concerts,” says Dennis Arfa, booking agent for Billy Joel and Metallica at Artist Group International.
At the annual Billboard Touring Awards on Nov. 14, presented during the Billboard Touring Conference at the Montage in Beverly Hills Nov. 14-15, Everytown for Gun Safety will be recognized for its dedicated efforts to making concerts safer in the wake of such tragedies. And in the 15 other categories outlined here, artists and industry players -- from breakthrough winner Lil Uzi Vert to Legends of Live Tim McGraw and Faith Hill -- will receive honors for their achievements in a qualifying year (Oct. 1, 2016 - Sept. 30, 2017) when demand for live music remained strong. Says I.M.P. promoter Seth Hurwitz, who opened Washington, D.C.’s new Anthem in October, “If you focus on consistently building a connection between the artist and the fan, you’ll do just fine.”