Gas Prices Put a Damper on Touring Musicians

Gas Prices impact country toursCMT reports that gas prices are causing some artists to book alternative transportation while others are simply drowning in expenses.

Imagine if you will, that your gas tank holds up to 25 gallons of that liquid gold. At today’s prices, that’s almost $1200 per fill-up. Not to mention that the lumbering beast of a tour bus only gets 6-7 miles to a gallon. At that price it’s no wonder the music industry is all abuzz about how to recuperate rising fuel costs, and some artists are canceling tour dates alltogether!

“It’s killing the smaller bands out there,” says Keith Case, whose Keith Case & Associates books such acts as Alison Krauss & Union Station, Ralph Stanley and the Dan Tyminski Band.

So far festival and concert ticket prices haven’t risen much to make up for the additional fuel costs, primarily because the ticket rates are set many months in advance and do not take increasing travel expenses into account. So while fans are able to afford the tickets, they’re having to spend more on gas just to get to the shows, which takes a direct hit out of merchandise and concession stand revenues.

“That’s a big deal for a lot of midrange bands,” Case says, “and they’re finding that [those sales are] dramatically down. What it feels like to them — at least what they’re reporting to me — is that people are spending so much to go to festivals, as far as fuel costs go, that they are not spending as much at the festivals.”

And for those smaller bands, merchandise sales are where the money’s at, so artists are struggling to keeps up with the cost of touring, and choosing instead to stick with local festivals or combining transportation with other bands. Meanwhile sources say that overall festival and concert attendance has only seen a mild impact. Attendance was actually up at Country Stampede in Manhattan, Kan., he noted. Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift headlined that extravaganza. “The organizers of this event tell me that the people they’ve talked to [made the festival] their vacation of the year,” Cunningham said.

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About Shauna "WhiskeyChick" Castorena

Shauna "WhiskeyChick" Castorena is a freelance writer for both Country Music News and Country Music On Tour. Want to collab on some content? Email me. Want my rates for commercial promo work? Get them right here.