Hot Tours to the North, Canada’s Live Scene is on a Roll

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(from Billboard Magazine, March 23, 2013) Touring artists are bringing big revenue to several Canadian venues, announce many executives north of the border. Riley O’Connor, Live Nation Canada chairman, says it has taken 15 years to convince people to tour Canada on a national basis, and the numbers of touring artists are on the rise.

Artists such as Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, One Direction, and others came in 2012, which made it a strong year for venues in Canada. Large venues can be found across Canada and a strong secondary market also exists. The greatest grossing venues from last year are ranked as Montreal’s Bell Center, Toronto’s Air Canada Center, Vancouver’s Rogers Arena, Toronto’s Molson Canadian Amphitheater, and Edmonton’s Rexall Place. Bell Center, with a capacity of 21,242 seats, had approximately 90 shows, sold out 15 shows, and grossed a total of $54,555,251. Montreal’s Bell Center, unlike other venues, does not have to contend with an outdoor amphitheater and has only one professional sports team in the city competing for event dates.

Other Canadian venues have similar unsaturated markets, allowing touring artist to draw in people from a diverse area. A strong economy has boosted the power of the Canadian dollar and low unemployment has given individuals more discretionary income. Canada offers a variety of venues allowing artist to create large arena events or intimate shows. Speaking to the plethora of venues available Pierre Trembley, Billy Talent’s manager, says, “Now in these secondary and tertiary markets there are some 4,000 – 5,000 seat arenas capable of accommodating the production of touring bands.” An increase in available dates has also occurred as more arenas are entering the market, especially in western Canada.

Canadian venues are expecting 2013 to be another big year. Bell Center already has sold out shows by Beyonce, One Direction, and Pink. Air Canada is expecting performances from Bieber, New Kids on the Block, Green Day, and more. Other venues are expecting a similar high grossing year.