In recent years, country musician Kenny Chesney has claimed his crown as the king of summer touring. His annual outings usually launch in spring and take him through all the major U.S. markets through the end of summer.
Chesney’s summer productions have consistently been a top seller for the nation’s largest stadiums and amphitheaters, and feature prominently on TicketNews’ exclusive event rankings. But all of that will change in 2010, according to a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly in which Chesney called a halt to his regular summer extravaganzas — at least for a while.
“My energy level right now is as good as it’s been at the end of a tour in years,” the artist said to the entertainment media outlet. “But I know deep down in my heart of hearts that for me to keep giving like I have to what this has grown into, and more importantly, to give the fans what they deserve every night, I’ve got to step away from it for a second.”
After dominating the summer season for nearly a decade, some have speculated that Chesney’s sudden withdrawal could have an impact on the concert industry. When questioned about the matter by EW, Chesney conceded that taking a summer off could have a negative impact. However, he also emphasized that what’s good for the industry might not be good for the artist.
“At a time when ticket sales across the board are slack, ours have held strong this year. As far as an industry impact, I see that it will have an effect, but — I don’t know,” Chesney explained. “You just can’t worry about the business. I’m worried about burning myself out.”
While the primary ticket industry braces for the impact of having a sure-fire name off the road for a season, the performer’s slower pace could be good news in the long-run for ticket brokers.
“I think Kenny Chesney has been touring so much that taking some time off will help prices in the secondary market when he does return,” Andrew Wallenstein, CEO of Best In The House Tickets, told TicketNews.
According to Wallenstein, the country crooner hasn’t been a profitable ticket in recent years. Last summer, the New York-based broker sold many Chesney tickets at or below face value. That limited demand, at least in the Northeast market, made Wallenstein rethink any additional purchases for the summer 2009 tour.
“I don’t know whether he saturated the primary market, but as a secondary market seller I wasn’t going to take a chance on him this year,” he observed. Wallenstein added that, for now, rising stars like Taylor Swift are more than enough to keep the country market afloat.
The musician confessed that he wasn’t sure how long his break from the road will be, but that fans won’t be completely deprived of the concerts they’ve come to expect. Chesney explained, “I’m not saying that next year I won’t do any shows. I might. But as far as doing a full-blown tour where my foot is on the gas pedal, that’s not gonna happen for a little while.”
Chesney is currently on the road with his Sun City Carnival Tour, which kicked off in April. The trek features just two more performances on September 17 at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, IL, and September 19 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN.
His concert plans for 2010, though slight, do include at least one major headlining event. This past July, it was confirmed that Chesney will headline the third annual BamaJam Music & Arts Festival, booked for June 3-5 in Enterprise, AL.