Country king Garth Brooks has announced a new round of dates for his on-going residency at Encore Theater at the Wynn in Las Vegas, NV. But the new concert schedule also brought an unexpected update in ticket prices for Brooks’ Sin City series.
New concerts have been added for the weekends of December 3-5, January 21-23, February 11-13, and February 25-28. But when tickets for these shows go on sale November 13, they’ll carry a higher face value than before: $225, plus $28 in charges and tax.
When Brooks announced his Wynn residency last year, he noted that ticket price had been a point of contention between him and resort developer Steve Wynn. Before his retirement in 2000, Brooks had made a name for himself by pricing his concert tickets at the affordable $25 level across the board.
But, as Wynn said at initial press conference, “He may have charged $25, but the audience always paid more because the scalpers got to them.” Accordingly, the pair presented the $125 ticket price — along with Wynn’s controversial ticketing restrictions — as a compromise that would keep tickets affordable while also deterring ticket resale for the event.
Now the question is how high prices may eventually go for the series, as Brooks’ residency is expected to span at least five years. In a statement announcing the first 2011 dates, Wynn said that even with the new $100 increase, event tickets are “still under-priced.”
“When the greatest live performer of our time appears in such an intimate theater, the seats should be priced at least competitively with other great Las Vegas entertainers,” Wynn explained in the statement. “In terms of value, I believe that Garth Brooks is still under-priced and represents the greatest entertainment value in modern Las Vegas.”
At the initial October 2009 press conference, Brooks appeared uneasy even adding $100 to his tickets’ usual $25 face value. Now faced with another $100 markup only a year into the residency — and Wynn’s hints at the potential for further increases — the musician offered only a brief statement.
“I am flattered Steve Wynn believes in me as an entertainer and my deal with him is not affected by ticket price. My only concern is the audience,” Brooks said in his published statement. “Right now, the Vegas audiences are some of the best I have ever played for and I’d hate to see that change for whatever reason.”
While the face values in Vegas continue to rise, Brooks’ fans still had an opportunity to buy tickets for a Brooks concert at just $25 apiece. The civic-minded musician announced a series of concerts to be held at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefitting the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
Nine concerts were booked over the course of December 16, 17, 19, 20, 21 and 22, and tickets were just $25. After all tickets sold out, a statement on Brooks’ official Web site reported that more than 140,000 tickets sold, raising more than $3.5 million for flood relief in the region.
Earlier this year, regions of Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi experienced extensive flooding after days of heavy rain. Dozens of lives were lost across the region, and business and residential areas sustained heavy damage, including downtown Nashville and the Bridgestone Arena itself.
In the months following the flooding, damage estimates for the region rose at a steady pace. In late May, when Paul McCartney announced plans to take his summer 2010 tour through Nashville, NPR’s estimates of citywide damages had already reached the $2 billion mark, while local media put damage estimates for the Bridgestone Arena alone at $3.1 million.
“If you come to Vegas you’ll see Garth Brooks and a guitar. If you come to Nashville you’ll see the band and me as you know us with the lighting and sound that you know,” Brooks said in a statement about the benefit concerts. “We are following in the footsteps of who already set the example. We are all Tennesseans helping Tennessee.”