By Jon Wiederhorn
At a time when most artists are raising the cost of concert tickets in order to combat the continuing lack of royalties from diminished album sales, Michigan-born rocker Kid Rock is sympathizing with his financially strapped fans and putting together a bill that will cost just $20 a ticket, anywhere in the venue.
On top of that, Rock and tour partner/concert promoter Live Nation is reducing service fees to $5 a ticket and making a concerted effort to lower the prices on goods available inside the venues, including beers ($4), concession deals, T-shirts ($20), and discount parking.
And Rock’s not going it alone. He’s bringing along a strong lineup of musically diverse support bands. ZZ Top will join in for 16 of the shows, Kool & The Gang will play 10, and Uncle Kracker will be on board for every gig. The tour is scheduled to launch June 20 in Bristow, Virginia, and run through September 15 in Tampa, Florida. There will be three concerts at Detroit, Michigan’s DTE Energy Music Theatre.
“Artists demand so much money, and you have to set ticket prices at [a certain level],” Rock told Billboard. “Everyone's fighting the system, and it's really been all of our faults. We're all fortunate to make as much money as we do, and I can surely take a pay cut and help out in these hard times.”
The first 20 rows of tickets will be paperless wherever possible, and each night, the first two rows of seats won’t be sold until right before the event. Some view Rock’s summer tour as act of charity; others see it more as a way to remain competitive in a crowded tour market.
“Realistically, Kid Rock couldn’t have expected to sell 20,000 tickets on his own at a normal ticket price,” says Pollstar editor Gary BonGiovanni. “This is clearly an effort to try to fill the places up. Everybody realizes the value of a $20 ticket in today’s market. If you’re talking about $25 out the door to go see Kid Rock, that’s a heck of a deal.”
BonGiovanni added that both Rock and Live Nation stand to make back on beer whatever they may lose on ticket sales. “ZZ Top are a fairly expensive act in their own right,” he said. “I imagine they’re gonna need to back up the beer trucks to the amphitheaters since the beers are $4.”