Fresno, CA: With America hard hit with the current economic crisis, it's a summer that has been sorely felt in the touring industry - and as belts tighten, spending becomes more scrutinized and people don't have as much to go around, concert attendance is feeling the toll. What was once a given is now a matter of maybe, yet even with that some constants remain: like Kenny Chesney making summer official everywhere he goes.
To that end, Chesney finds himself as the only country act in the Top 10 of Pollsta r's annual Midyear Report, ranking the most successful concert tours at the halfway point of every year. Landing at #7 behind Britney Spears, Fleetwood Mac, Celine Dion, Elton John/Billy Joel, the Eagles, and Bruce Springsteen, Chesney and his good friend Dave Matthews had by far the cheapest ticket prices of any music acts in the Top 10, reflecting the 4-consecutive Academy of Country Music and 4-time and reigning Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year's commitment to his fans.
“I know this is a rough summer,” says the kid who grew up outside Knoxville with a working Mom and the summer job cash he could earn with odd jobs and playing for tips. “I remember how it is when you want to, and you gotta figure out what you're not gonna do. It's why we've really tried to keep the prices reasonable… put on a good show… but especially to give people for those few hours a reason to just have a good time! I can't solve the problems, but maybe I can get you to forget… to laugh… be free and remember how great it feels to be alive.”
With his mix of football stadiums, arenas and amphitheaters - including sold out shows at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field, Pittsburgh's Heinz Stadium and Chicago's Soldiers ' Field, the Corona Extra Sun City Carnival is putting smiles on faces across the nation and connecting in a way that has made Chesney the biggest ticket seller in North America this century.
“When you have to decide,” says the man who just released his Greatest Hits II and topped the Country Singles chart with “Out Last Night” for two weeks, “I wanna know we're giving the people the best show, that we're a good way to spend your money. That we're stacking up against such big tours - and music that is anything but what we do, well, that makes me proud for the genre, too.”
Following Chesney onto Pollstar's Midyear Report are Rascal Flatts at #17 and George Strait at #29, demonstrating how selective concert-goers are becoming - and how much it takes to draw people from their homes. With a few select festivals and stadium plays in San Francisco, Indianapolis and the always legendary Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA - selling out for the 5th consecutive year in less than 10 minutes with no support acts being named - ahead, even the e conomy can't stop Kenny Chesney.
“I'm just glad we can make people feel better,” says the songwriter from Luttrell. “In times like these, it really makes you feel good to know this music can do that… It's not much, but it sure makes a difference.”