You’re not imagining things. There really are more concerts than ever this summer.
Sure, we all know about the huge tours. Jay-Z and Beyoncé are teaming up again. Taylor Swift is bringing her “Reputation” to the world. And Pulitzer Prize winner Kendrick Lamar is taking a well-deserved victory lap of arenas and amphitheaters.
But last year, the concert business topped $8 billion for the first time and this year is expected to shatter that record, with a jam-packed summer season leading the way.
All these tours are driving growth in venues of all sizes. And on Long Island, this summer will bring changes both big and small.
The legendary My Father’s Place is set to return to Roslyn after 31 years in the form of My Father’s Place at The Roslyn Hotel, an intimate supper club with a capacity of about 200 that founder Michael “Eppy” Epstein says will feature both artists from the original club’s heyday in the ‘70s and ‘80s, starting with Buster Poindexter on June 29, as well as up-and-coming artists. Live Nation, which already operates Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater and NYCB Theatre at Westbury, has teamed up with Long Island Events to bring more pop-oriented concerts to The Amphitheater at Bald Hill in Farmingville, including the Charlie Puth show on July 14. On top of that, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said in a recent teleconference that the company is booking about 21 percent more shows at its arenas, amphitheaters and stadiums this year compared with last year.
With all those acts on the road, competition for music fans is stronger than ever, meaning most artists and promoters are looking to give fans exactly what they want. While that won’t magically create more tickets to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden, it does create wider ranges of experiences at events and ticket prices for shows.
“Everybody has different tastes,” says Jim Faith, co-founder of the Great South Bay Music Festival at Shorefront Park in Patchogue. “People are going to choose shows that fit their lifestyles, where they feel comfortable.”
Faith says that this year, the festival’s opening night on July 12 will cater to a younger, more indie-rock-oriented crowd, with The Front Bottoms and Long Island scene heroes Envy on the Coast, as well as The Get Up Kids. However, the rest of the weekend will feature a more laid-back, family-friendly vibe where people can bring their lawn chairs and enjoy the surroundings and the music.
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Live Nation’s Rapino says artists are looking at offering a wider range of ticket prices in order to give all sorts of fans the experience they want. “We see that the artist is pricing the house smarter, higher in the front end, maybe lower in the back end,” he says. “Artists are always the great brand manager trying to find that sweet spot.”
Though artists aren’t looking to raise prices on their fans, they do want to cut into ticket brokers’ profit margins. After all, most artists are booking longer and longer tours in order to replace the album sales earnings they have lost because of streaming and piracy. So if Britney Spears fans are willing to pay $500 to get close to her at her Radio City Music Hall shows, most artists believe that money should go to Spears, not a ticket broker who has nothing to do with the show.
Faith says all these factors are creating a golden age for music fans.
“These days, your choices are so broad it all comes down to you and what you like,” he says. “You can see almost anything you want. It’s a great time to enjoy music.”