In an unsettled year for touring, an unlikely contender became the year’s highest-grossing and busiest venue.
According to data provided to Billboard Boxscore, the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, Colorado is not only the most lucrative venue with a capacity between 5,001 and 10,000 of 2021, but the most profitable venue in any size, in the world, for the year. With 134 shows reported to Boxscore, the beloved 9,500-seat outdoor venue has grossed over $61.6 million.
To further contextualize Red Rocks’ extraordinary performances, the amphitheater surpassed the world’s second-highest-grossing venue by more than $24 million – the 20,000-capacity T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, which grossed $37.2 million last year according to Billboard Boxscore. . The second most reported venue in the 5,001-10,000 category was the Park Theater in Las Vegas, which grossed $35.7 million in 2021.
On the footfall metric, Red Rocks’ dominance is even more striking. Starting with a four-night run by Lotus in late April through November 19, when Playboi Carti closed the season, Red Rocks sold 996,000 tickets in 2021, according to Billboard Boxscore. The second-busiest venue, Madison Square Garden, sold 248,575 tickets in 2021, nearly 750,000 less than the amphitheater in Colorado. Not only that, but Red Rocks sold 225,000 more tickets than in its record-breaking 2019 season before the pandemic.
“The very first night we opened those doors and people literally came in screaming and clapping hands at us and other fans – it just suffocates you,” says the director of marketing and business development at Denver Arts & Venues/Red Rocks Amphitheater. Brian Kitts to return to live broadcasts after hosting less than two dozen in 2020. “We will never again take the ability to come together for granted.”
According to internal numbers provided by Kitts, Red Rocks hosted a record number of concerts in 2021: 177 shows for a total of 1.32 million tickets sold. (Billboard Boxscore is based on numbers reported to MRC Data. Not all shows are reported.) This year’s run of shows is a record number for the 80-year-old venue, and all the more impressive given the evolving COVID-19 safety. regulations. The site operated at 25% of its capacity from April to May, then at two-thirds until the end of June. Since the June 22 Subtronics show, the room has been running at full capacity.
While selling tickets to more people has never been a problem, Kitts says the venue has struggled to increase staff. “It was overwhelming,” he says. “The industry has felt a real pinch when it comes to dealerships, security and customer services staff. It hasn’t gotten any easier all season.
As a result, fans faced longer queues for food and drink and encountered slower entry, although Kitts adds that Red Rocks patrons were “completely understanding”. The cons never seemed to diminish ticket sales, with nearly every concert of the year selling out.
Kitts credits the commitment of artists, promoters, staff and fans for making the year an unlikely success. “It’s a combination of things,” Kitts said. “It’s an iconic venue and it certainly helps that it’s outdoors. Then it was the fans’ desire to come out and be together again.