Country music fans are fitting into their concert seats more easily this summer. Because there are no bulky wads of money left in back pockets, those jeans slide right on down there.
Concert prices for headlining country acts have risen sharply this year. Whether you choose to blame the venue, the ticket agency or the entertainer, it all translates into a monetary hit for the fan.
Talk about setting records: Reba McEntire is breaking the $50 ticket barrier in country music with her upcoming concert in Dallas, for which top-line seats run $52.75 (including service charges).
Some headliners are still within their usual prices, of course. George Strait’s recently concluded Summer Music Festival at Texas Stadium, with seven acts, was more reasonable at about $38 a ticket, tops.
When did this general escalation start? It would seem that tickets have been going up at a pretty stiff pace since Garth Brooks went off the road last year. Brooks was vigilant (and vocal) about sticking to an around-$20 ticket price, including service charges. As long as the biggest dog on the block did that, everyone else had to stay within reason.
“I price my tickets at $17 for a reason,” Brooks told the Fort StarTelegram in 1992. “Because that’s what I feel the show’s worth.”
It should be noted, however, that nobody in country music has ever been able to count on the sheer volume of Brooks’ ticket sales, which surely helps bankroll his generosity. Brooks sold around 200,000 tickets to his three-night stand at Texas Stadium in 1993. By comparison, the seating capacity at Starplex - where McEntire plays Saturday - is around 20,000.
What can a country fan do to cut costs? Well, general admission is a good bet, though it’s far from upclose and personal. And you can refrain from hitting the concessions. Or you can cut out a few other diversions to fuel your concert habit.
Kinda makes you miss Garth, doesn’t it?