Escalating Gas Prices Put Halt To Concert-Goers

Brody Vercher | June 10th, 2008

  1. Lucas
    June 10, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Give it to Me Strait, Tim McGraw – love it… but I’m a huge fan of earlier Tim stuff and Strait so I’m a little biased, ok a lot.

    I’m not surprised by the whole gas and concert thing. I listened to a speech by a guy that works in the oil industry (pretty high up in it by the way) in western North Dakota and he pretty much said electric or hydrogen are inevitable at this point but he doesn’t worry about it because of other petroleum based products. Five years and the worries will be gone.

    In the Chesney article… after a long, slow afternoon with LeAnn Rimes, Luke Bryan and others., ouch!

  2. Stormy
    June 10, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Bruce Robison’s mock epic “What Would Willie Do” stands as fitting tribute to the man himself.

  3. Mike Parker
    June 10, 2008 at 11:37 am

    About a million songs with “Hank” in the title, and Robbie Fulks’ “The Buck Starts Here.”

  4. Matt B.
    June 10, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Thanks for the Roughstock shoutout!

  5. Howard
    June 10, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Name checking songs, “Hank Williams, You wrote My Life” by Moe Bandy, Waylon’s “Bob Wills is Still the King” and Merle’s “Leonard”

  6. Sam G.
    June 10, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Alan Jackson’s shoutout to Jimmy Buffett in “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” was cheesy enough to be fun. I also liked Rodney Crowell’s “I Walk The Line Revisited,” with help from Johnny Cash himself.

    Re: gas prices. The nearest concert halls/bars/music clubs are 40 miles from me, so sometimes you just have to suck it up and make the drive. Of course, I flew 600 miles to see the Pogues this year, but some opportunities are too good to miss!

  7. Matt C.
    June 10, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Really, I wonder how much people really think about the gas price thing or if they’re just overreacting.

    Let’s take a really simple example. Say that you have $60 tickets to a show 100 miles away and your car gets 20 mpg. When gas is $4 per gallon instead of $3 per gallon, you’re only spending an extra $10 roundtrip on gas, which works out to an 11% increase in your total cost. If you have more expensive tickets, a shorter distance to travel, or a more fuel efficient car, then the increase in the price of gas is even more negligible. Given that road trips to concerts are rare events for most people, why throw away weekend plans because of an extra $10-20?

  8. Matt B.
    June 10, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Matt C,

    Gas prices are just the ‘hot topic’ right now. I remember when people complained about $2 gas prices four years ago. It’s a topic worth talking about but it really only hurts those people who make minimum wage or commute hundreds of miles every week for work. For labels, artists and trade groups to tie it as the loss of revenue for them is disheartening and another sign that some of those people just don’t ‘get it.’

  9. Matt B.
    June 10, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Also, if gas was such a problem, Why did the CMA Music Fest have more people attend than last year?

  10. Mike Parker
    June 10, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    I don’t have far to go every day now, but when I did, this would have really put a dent in my fun money. In that way, gas prices might make me less inclined to drive to shows. But I agree with Matt C- when it’s the actual trip you’re taking, it’s probably just a small drop in the bucke… er… gas tank.

  11. Brady Vercher
    June 10, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    I think gas prices are probably a little bit of a bigger factor than some people are making them out to be.

    Food is costing more because shipping costs more, airline tickets are going up, and concert tickets are probably increasing as well because of the additional cost on the artists. So it’s not just the simple cost of gas to and from the concert, it’s the compounded increased cost of everything that more expensive gas leads to.

    You have to take in account the extra cost on driving everywhere and the dent that puts into your disposable income. If you’re spending an extra $20 a week to get to work, you’re not gonna have that money to pay for a concert and the extra money it would cost to get there. It’s just not far commutes that hit the wallet, either, it’s getting stuck in traffic as well that kills the gas tank. Also people who go to multiple shows a month might start going to fewer shows because they suddenly cost a little more each time.

    From an individual perspective, the increased cost of gas may not seem like a big deal for a single trip, but when considering all the factors and looking at it from a macro-level view, it can make a big difference.

  12. Brody Vercher
    June 10, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    An article on the Tennessean brought up the point about gas prices not affecting concert-goers because of the record CMA Fest attendance, but they also said the tickets went on sale before the escalating summer gas prices.

    The gas prices don’t just gouge people’s bank accounts when they go to one concert either, you have to take into account the number of times in a pay period that they catch live music and their daily commutes to work. The more they have to spend getting to work, the less they have to spend for concerts/entertainment.

    In that regard I assume people are being more picky with the concerts they go to, which might lead to reduced attendance. Then venues have to increase cover charges and drink prices to make up for the reduced turn out. And that’s not even counting the artists who drive from city to city in their gas-guzzling vans; they have to boost prices somewhere, too.

    It’s easy to break it down to one concert and say it’s not a big deal, but in the big picture rising gas prices have a looming effect.

  13. Brody Vercher
    June 10, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    Err…my comment basically says the same as Brady’s. Bastard beat me to it.

  14. Hollerin' Ben
    June 10, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Matt B and C,

    Your thinking makes sense when it’s in the context of a “once every few months” trip to see a $60 concert featuring big name artists where people expect to spend a bunch of cash.

    but for people who try to see shows regularly, like 4 or 5 shows a month, and therefore can’t drop a bunch of cash every time they leave the house, the gas costs quickly add up, but even more so, it’s just an extra discouragement at that moment when you are trying to figure out if it’s worth it to leave the house to see that local or regional artist who you’ve seen a few times this year already.

    The live music world is far more extensive than CMA fest and $60 concerts, as I’m sure you know, and it’s the artists who rely on fans coming out to see them the most (i.e. the ones without radio play or huge cd sales) who are being hurt by this.

  15. Chris N.
    June 10, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    It’d be much easier to assemble a list of my least favorite name-checking songs. It’s usually a crutch for songwriters who want you to associate their crappy song with Hank Williams or whoever.

    That said, I’ll go with “What Would Willie Do” and “Long Time Gone.”

    “Now they sound tired but they don’t sound Haggard
    They’ve got money but they don’t have Cash
    They got Junior but they don’t have Hank”

    Come to think of it, now they’ve got chicks but they don’t have the Chicks.

  16. Brody Vercher
    June 10, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Guy Clark’s “Cold Dog Soup” is a pretty good name-checking song.

  17. Lucas
    June 10, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    There are always going to be some people that aren’t affected because they save money for that particular thing or make a good amount themselves. I can see how this could play into the artist’s hand too though, carpooling will always bring more people!

  18. Paula
    June 10, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    I like Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “I Feel Lucky”.

    Dwight Yoakam’s in the corner, trying to catch my eye
    Lyle Lovett’s right beside me with his hand upon my thigh


    Also, gas prices have put a BIG dent in my live music ventures. Most of the events I go to are in Nashville …. 220 miles from my home. :o

  19. Rick
    June 10, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    Thanks for the link to the articles about the Bakersfield Sound music awards. Had I known about them I would have driven up from LA in spite of gas prices (120 miles each way). The article in the Bakersfield Californian was also a fun read about efforts to keep the style alive on its home turf. Back in the dust bowl days the families that fled to California’s central valley from Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas brought a love of traditional country music with them. Dwight Yoakam’s appearance at fan Fair proved the Bakersfield Sound is appreciated and viable.

    The Ashton Shepherd interview is first rate. Hopefully her new “Sounds So Good” single will do well on radio, but sadly its too country and too good for today’s Top 40 Airhead Country marketplace…

    As for the increased attendance at Fan Fair this year, I think that the presence of current superstars like Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift have a lot to do with it. Since Fan Fair is a multi-day event, attending this event is like taking a vacation for most where normal budgetary matters are set aside for a once a year splurge.

  20. Paul W Dennis
    June 10, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    The ultimate name checking “shout out” song was “Johnny’s Cash and Charley’s Pride” by Mac Wiseman in the early 1970s, although Jimmy Dickens’ “Country Music Lover” was pretty good, too

    The chorus to Mac’s song:

    I’d turn Jim Ed Brown, Jack Greene, Claude Gray and Carl Belue
    If I had Johnny’s Cash, Charley’s Pride and you
    If I had Johnny’s Cash, Charley’s Pride and you

  21. Stormy
    June 10, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    What was the song that had the line about begging Dolly’s Pardon if I’m hurting Charley’s PRide?

  22. Mike Wimmer
    June 10, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    I think the true effect of high gas prices and everything that includes (food, tickets, etc) will be felt later this summer through the rest of the year. The early summer concerts and fesitvals will not be hurt, because those were already bought and paid for and people are not gonna throw those costly things away.

    This is much like a lot of cabins and lake homes that rent themselves out during the summer months. People usually reserve them a year in advance and put a large sum down or the entire ammount, those people will still drive to them, but only a small number of them will renew them after this summer.

    This is gonna take time, but high gas prices and their effect WILL take hold before too long and I wouldnt be suprised if you see a number of artists seeing slow ticket sales come the fall and winter.

  23. Jarheaddad
    June 10, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Drove hotshot as an independent from when I got out of the USMM in ’90 until two years ago. Fuel got to $2.80 and I was breaking even trying to keep my customers happy. There were eleven of us that used to help each other out to keep freight moving. The last one went belly up when fuel hit $3.25. All eleven of us are done. As independents we couldn’t compete with the big companies and their fresh out of school bottom line drivers. Our customers were small and could not afford a rate increase or fuel surcharge yet they still got sucked into the corporate monster. Six months later they were begging us to come back but we were done. Out of my half-dozen customers only one is still in business. I hear people whining about putting 80 bucks in their cars. Try putting $450 in your truck for a half load of fuel and get 7 mpg trying to make a living. Do that 10 times a week and that’s a slow week. Good service means squat nowadays but yeah, fuel prices make one hellova’ difference in everything I do. From recreation to work to concerts to just checking out new bands if they aren’t in the neighborhood. Shoot, I won’t even go cross town to check out a new band where two years ago I’d think nothing of driving two hours each way to hear a band that had good word of mouth reviews.

    One of the things I do now for a semi-living is fish tournaments. Normally the draw is around 100 boats per but we’re lucky to draw 40 nowadays. And these are hardcore fishermen that make their living fishin’. Without corporate or company sponsorship it’s tough to survive out there. $250 to fuel up the truck and boat for a single event? With falling payouts? Add those odds up. I only fish locally so I can just imagine what these guys on tour are going through. Ouch! I’m thinking the odds would be better at the tables in Vegas! ;-)

    Cousins are all into raising beef cattle, farming rice, and crawfish. They are scratching their heads trying to figure out how to pay for the diesel to run their tractors. Meanwhile there is a world shortage of food? Yet taxes just keep on climbing. Even when they die they can’t escape taxes. Heh! Wait ’til you see the price of meat by the end of the summer!

    High fuel prices filter through everything you do whether you realize it or not. From your toothpaste to your ground beef to the price of toilet paper. When everything goes up I cut back on non-necessities like concerts, CDs, and downloads. I really have to enjoy an artist to buy their CDs and downloads. Let alone spring for a concert. Breaking it down to a single event is tunnel vision and doesn’t even come close to encompassing the entire marketplace and economy. Sure wish they taught basic economy in schools nowadays but then no politician would ever get elected if they did! Break down where the money goes from the price of a single gallon of gas. You might just be surprised. Who’s fingers are in what pie?

    Oh well, I reckon I’m just one of those that is making a big deal out of nothing eh?! Wait until your favorites can’t afford to tour from their fans simply not being able to afford the price.

    Hell, with as much crap coming out of Nashville now I wonder if I could get a CEO job at a major record label. I sure as hell couldn’t do any worse than they are! :-o

  24. Brad
    June 10, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Jason Aldean’s “Johnny Cash”…….Kidding…

    In all seriousness, I do really enjoy Heidi’s new song, “Johnny and June”

  25. Lucas
    June 10, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Jarheaddad, you’re absolutely right. Fuel prices do change the price of just about everything.

    A few things annoy me, 1. Those trying to drill in Alaska, leave the wildlife alone. High gas prices are making the big automakers commit to hydrogen and electric cars by 2010 (most already did but you have to dig way too deep on their corporate sites to find it, they’re afraid of Tesla’s sedan currently in pre-production stages) – brining up more spots to drill wil just put us in this position down the road, let the change happen now. 2. When the day comes that gas isn’t our main source of fuel, they’re not going to drop any prices that were inflated due to it. 3. People that argue vehicles don’t contribute to global warming because global warming doesn’t exist. Believe in it or not, we can all agree we dislike smog.

    I’m not sure if anybody mentioned this yet, but Tracy Byrd recorded the same “Johnny Cash” that Jason Aldean did. The vocals are superior.

  26. Kelly
    June 11, 2008 at 9:00 am

    Fuel prices suck…blah blah blah, start riding a bike or something…

    Ryan Bingham gave as many words as that stupid, elementary list of questions required….

  27. Funk
    June 11, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Jarhead pretty much nails it for people who really want to think hard about the impact of high fuel prices and Kelly pretty much nails it for non-thinkers.

    As one data point, it’s not really country music but we planned to go to the Telluride Festival this year but cancelled due to fuel costs. That was a big disappointment that tells a tale. One other thing; up on the lake, hardly any boats out at all and it’s usually busy now. Without even thinking about it, this is the kind of thing that impacts spending dollars on concerts. If a person has to think about gas for driving to work, it’s very hard to justify spending to go to concerts and for general fun so a fan sees fewer and fewer shows without really noticing.

    And to add to Jarhead’s analysis, this change could be really huge. Without checking, California’s economy is something like the 3 or 4th largest in the WORLD. They grow or build most of the stuff we consume. But now, it’s CHEAPER for the eastern part of the US to transport goods by container ship from Europe. Within as little as a year, that will change this country in a huge way. We are going broke.

    It’s coming. Ignore it if you are a turtle.

  28. mfrank_
    June 12, 2008 at 7:47 am

    ‘fuel prices suck…blah blah blah, start riding a bike or something…’

    well, that’s all well and good, i suppose. but i’m in a wheelchair. do they make a bicycle for wheelchairs? i’m hostage to gas prices and lack of mass transportation. it’s good to know people suggest riding bikes, though. that helps a lot.

    and no, i don’t plan on spending much for shows anymore. i just can’t afford it. it’s just that simple. i’ll save that show money and buy a bicycle. :)

  29. Kelly
    June 12, 2008 at 8:00 am

    Come on, Funk and MFrank, calm down. I was merely suggesting that I am tired of all the talk of gas prices, both on this thread and in the media overall. I wasnt actually trying to help you two, or anyone else figure anything out, thats up to us as individuals to decide what works for us. I was clearly making an off-the-cuff statement that wasnt intended to piss anyone off, which shouldve been obvious to “thinking people”. the issue of gas prices is alarming and deserves serious attention due to the wide-ranging negative effects, but so does homelessness, hate crimes, bad coffee at 7-11 and steven segal movies, because those crimes against humanity effect people regardless of whether they are in a wheel-chair or not.

  30. mfrank_
    June 12, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    well, maybe that’s what you should have said the first time. :) although i have to say early steven seagal movies (despite being cheesy) have a certain charm to them. the later ones made for tnt? not so much.

    i also like 7-11 coffee. of course, i have a choice to buy 7-11 coffee (or not). or to buy a steven seagal movie. not so much with gas. they’ve got me by the short and curlies with that one.

  31. Funk
    June 12, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    although i have to say early steven seagal movies (despite being cheesy) have a certain charm to them.

    Notably Erika Eleniak jumping out of a cake. That’s about it but it’s plenty good enough for me.

  32. leeann
    July 8, 2008 at 5:12 pm
  33. Matt B.
    July 8, 2008 at 5:42 pm


    that news piece is kinda ‘old news’ in a way because I read a Gannett news piece about the same subject a month ago.

  34. Matt B.
    July 8, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    oops if I had read this exact post, I’d have known it was a ‘response’ to the same article…stupid me.

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