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"We're back up to kind of where we were in 2000."
——Gary Bongiovanni, Pollstar editor in chief
CONCERT ATTENDANCE UP AT HALFWAY POINT
Ticket Sales Rise 24%, Thanks to the Dixie Chicks, Cher and the Rolling Stones, Helping Reverse a Two-Year Slide
Thanks to acts like the Dixie Chicks, Cher and the Rolling Stones, the live concert business flourished during the first six months of the year.

Fans bought 13.1 million concert tickets to the Top 50 concert tours from January to June, compared to 10.6 million sold during the same period last year, according to Pollstar, the industry trade magazine. Gross receipts were up 26% to $678 million, compared to $538 million in 2001.

"We're back up to kind of where we were in 2000,'' said editor in chief Gary Bongiovanni.

Unfortunately, highly touted summer tours like Lollapalooza, Ozzfest, Warped and Summer Sanitarium have been slowed by unseasonably cold and rainy weather, as well as a glut of package shows on the marketplace.

Concert attendance had been declining steadily since 2000, when 12.9 million tickets were sold. The average ticket price for the first six months this year was approximately $52—up just a buck from the previous year. Last year, ticket prices cost an average of $51, up from $47 the previous year.

Tickets for the top-grossing tour—Elton John and Billy Joel—cost an average of $113. The Rolling Stones' average ticket cost $158, up from $119 when they toured last year.

Classic rockers like the Stones, Fleetwood Mac and Cher represented half of the Top 10 concerts for the first six months of the year. But country acts such as the Dixie Chicks, Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw also cracked the elite circle.

"The Dixie Chicks were one of the few acts that seemed to do great business just about everywhere they went,'' Bongiovanni said of the female trio, which apparently hasn’t been hurt in the concert marketplace by the controversy over member Natalie Maines’ anti-Bush remarks.

Chessney, the 10th-highest grossing tour, actually was the top ticket-seller. He sold 682,000 tickets at an average price of $36, grossing $24.4 million. In comparison, Elton John and Billy Joel sold approximately 465,000 tickets at an average price of $113, grossing $52.7 million.

One act placed in the Top 10 without ever leaving home. Celine Dion's Las Vegas stage show has grossed $33.2 million since it opened in March.

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