Garth Brooks keeps adding to his list of groundbreaking achievements with this latest honor – he is the very first inductee into the Live Music Hall of Fame. The announcement came during a lively keynote Q&A session at Pollstar Live! In Los Angeles moderated by OVG CEO and co-founder Tim Leiweke which also included co-panelists Ticketmaster president Jared Smith and David Kells from Bridgestone Arena. The panel also included a surprise birthday cake and singalong for Brooks, who celebrated his 56th birthday this week.
“It’s a total shock and quite an honor,” Brooks said upon accepting the award. “I don’t think an entertainer is anything without other people who allow him to do this,” he said before thanking his co-manager Bob Doyle, and his longtime promoter Ben Farrell. “They have made my career possible.”
The honor comes on the heels of Brooks’ record-setting, three-year tour in which he sold over 6.3 million tickets, making it the biggest North American tour and biggest ever by a solo artist. His record-setting North American tour was capped by seven sold-out shows at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
“In discussing it with all of our folks,” Leiweke said, “there was only person who we thought ultimately had to be the first inducted into the Live Music Hall of Fame and that was Garth Brooks.”
“Ticketmaster’s worked with Garth for over 20 years and it’s been a phenomenal partnership,” Ticketmaster’s Smith told Pollstar. “He’s always working on new and better ways to ensure tickets get into the hands of fans, and makes an effort so that all fans get a chance to see him.”
Brooks, who returned to the road after a 16-year absence, is the first artist to receive seven RIAA Diamond awards for albums sales of over 10 million per album, and the No. 1 selling U.S. solo artist with over 148 million albums sold.
Leiweke explained the origin of the Live Music Hall Of Fame, saying he and his team had wanted to “create a place to honor artists who have made a huge impact on the live business. The Recording Academy has the Grammys, the movie business has the Academy Awards,” he said, “but we in live don’t do enough to honor the artists who have changed our industry. The artists who have gone out and touched tens of millions of fans. So we are creating a new tradition here at Pollstar that is vitally important for our industry and a priority for us going forward and that is a Live Music Hall of Fame.”
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