This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

The Summer Concert Isn't Learning Fast Enough

Since that fundamental shift, such amphitheaters wove themselves into the suburban summer template. The kids saw the second-tier pop acts, the teens went to Lollapalooza, Warped Tour and Ozzfest and the parents hired babysitters for their big night at the James Taylor or Earth, Wind and Fire show. With many of these places right off the highway, it was a quick exit on and a quick exit off (parking lot traffic not withstanding).

But as a few recessions, a dot-com bubble and a housing crisis took their toll and turned the happy, sweaty, crowdsurfing kids into weary, wary, tightwad adults, the concert industry felt the pinch. Even almost half a decade after the start of the recent financial crisis, it's tough to get folks to come out to shows anymore. According to Billboard, global concert grosses and attendance each fell 10% last year, with concerts in North America alone drawing 6% fewer people than they did in 2011. Even Billboard admits the damage is likely far worse, as numbers have been much tougher to get since they took a nosedive in 2010 and companies such as Live Nation (LYV - Get Report) cut back on reporting their attendance and income figures.

It hasn't been a much happier tale this summer. North American concert ticket sales and revenue for the first six months of 2013 are down from the same period last year, according to Pollstar.

That said, it's still been a big year for amphitheaters. Of the 20 top-grossing concerts in the U.S. so far this year, according to Billboard's Boxscore, five have been shed shows. Country stars deserve the bulk of the credit, as Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts shows in Virginia, Indiana and Ohio took up four of those five spots. All of those shows were at Live Nation venues, which should please the ticket giant that was taking a bath at this time three years ago.

The fact that The Black Keys and Flaming Lips could crack the Top 20 in the U.S. and Top 50 in the world with a shed show in South Carolina -- at a tiny 13,400-seat venue, no less -- says a lot about the potential of a summer shed circuit that already includes a Bob Dylan/Wilco double bill, Black Sabbath, Blake Shelton, John Mayer, Fun., Bruno Mars and Queens of The Stone Age.

While some suburban staples such as the metal-heavy Mayhem Festival and the '90s flashback Goo Goo Dolls/Matchbox 20 bill remain, the shed circuit has embraced diversity similar to the neutral-site festival circuit that's sprung up around it in the past decade or so. As fests such as Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Outside Lands have grown, the sheds' pool of big, available acts has drained. That leaves amphitheaters with two options: Start festivals of their own, as the Gorge Amphitheater did with Sasquatch! In 2002 and the Paradiso dance fest last year, or take the best of what's left.

What they can't do, however, is pretend they're the only game in the outdoor concert business anymore. By learning from past mistakes, booking wisely and knowing their rapidly evolving audience, even the most utilitarian sheds can be great places to take in a show. Keep tacking on charges for customers and trotting out milquetoast lineups, however, and festivals and a growing number of alternative, urban outdoor venues may force amphitheaters to fold up the tent.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to

>To submit a news tip, send an email to:


Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post,, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.
2 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
LYV $25.55 -0.23%
AAPL $111.89 0.26%
FB $94.21 -0.05%
GOOG $653.29 1.00%
TSLA $220.90 2.50%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,103.26 -28.60 -0.17%
S&P 500 2,014.89 +15.91 0.80%
NASDAQ 4,820.9350 -17.7080 -0.37%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs