From the mammoth Jay Z and Justin Timberlake stadium venture to the Rolling Stones’ 50th anniversary trek, a number of exceptional tours have passed through the country over the past year. On Nov. 14, the 2013 Billboard Touring Awards will honor the top players in the live music industry for all the hard work that made these exhilarating concert experiences possible.
Taking into account box office information from Oct. 1, 2012 through Sept. 30 of this year, the Billboard Touring Awards will celebrate the artists, industry professionals, and venues that have contributed to the success of the ambitious and diverse live entertainment events of the past year.
George Strait to Receive Billboard Legend of Live Award
Overall, this year’s biggest honoree will be the “King of Country,” George Strait. The country icon will receive the 2013 Billboard Legend of Live Award ahead of the final 2014 leg of his farewell venture: The Cowboy Rides Away Tour.
Bon Jovi’s six-continent Because We Can Tour has been one of the most successful 2013 tours. By popular demand, the band is currently completing an impressive third North American leg, which closes Nov. 8 at Montreal’s Bell Centre. At the awards ceremony, the New Jersey natives are up for Top Tour (calculated by box office gross) and Top Draw (attendance rates).
Another spotlighted artist is Pink, whose The Truth about Love Tour has returned to North America after a wildly successful first leg in early spring. For the awards ceremony, Pink is a finalist in Top Draw—and to no wonder, as the complicated aerial acrobatics in her live show are reminiscent of jaw-dropping Cirque du Soleil performances. The ongoing Pink tour dates are scheduled through Dec. 14.
Nominated under the Breakthrough category, Luke Bryan enjoyed his first headlining venture, the Dirt Road Diaries Tour, this year. Starting in January and continuing through Oct. 26, the extensive solo trek came on the heels of Bryan's winning in nine categories at the 2012 American Country Awards. The unstoppable country star will be back on the road next year for his That's My Kind of Night Tour, which is scheduled to run from Jan. 16 through March 8, 2014.
Jay Z/JT, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift
Other spotlighted tours include the Legends of Summer Stadium Tour (Jay Z and Justin Timberlake), the Moonshine Jungle Tour (Bruno Mars), and the Red Tour (Taylor Swift). Each of these treks was monumental in its own right, but each also spawned exciting follow-ups.
Jay Z and Justin Timberlake are each set to embark on solo toursthat will extend into 2014, while Bruno Mars recently announced he’ll perform the inaugural concert—as well as a New Year’s Eve show and six-date residency—at a new, state-of-the-art theater in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Taylor Swift’s tour gave her supporting acts the chance to make it big: Ed Sheeran is scheduled to headline three concerts at Madison Square Garden this fall (Oct. 29, Nov. 1, and Nov. 7), while Florida Georgia Line is currently traveling on its first headlining tour.
A finalist in the Top Arena category is Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary on Sept. 28. In the past 12 months, the venue has already hosted Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Paul McCartney, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and The Who, among many others. Other top venues from Billboard include New York’s Beacon Theater and Radio City Music Hall, the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, and Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theatre.
Find the full list of finalists for the upcoming touring awards available via Billboard.com.